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Red Hat and Debian GNU/Linux Package Managers
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The Debian Package Manager

Debian GNU/Linux provides several package management tools, primarily intended to facilitate the building, installation, and management of binary packages. Debian package names generally end in .deb. The Debian package management tools include:


Until recently, the most important of the Debian packaging tools and still the primary package management program. Used to install or uninstall packages or as a frontend to dpkg-deb.


Lower-level packaging tool. Used to create and manage the Debian package archives. Accepts and executes commands from dpkg or can be called directly.


An interactive frontend to dpkg.


The currently available piece of the Advanced Package Tool (APT), which is still being developed and is intended to be a modern, user-friendly package management tool. Can be run from the command line or selected as a method from dselect. One of the features of apt-get is that you can use it to get and install packages across the Internet by specifying an ftp:// or http:// URL. Another feature is that you can use it to upgrade all packages currently installed on your system in a single operation.


Some important files used by the Debian package management tools are:

Comes with each package; documents dependencies; contains the name and version of the package, a description, maintainer, installed size, and so on.

Comes with each package and contains a list of the configuration files associated with the package.

preinst, postinst, prerm, postrm
Scripts that can be included in a package to be run before installation, after installation, before removal, or after removal of the package.

Contains information about packages available on the system.

Contains information about the status of packages available on the system.

A list for APT of package sources, used to locate packages. The sources are listed one per line, in order of preference.

The main APT configuration file.

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