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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams

Finding Packages

Once the list of available packages is updated you can see what new packages have recently been added to Debian with the command:

  $ wajig new

Note that after the first time you use update all packages will be considered new! But after the next update the new packages are those that were not in the available list from the previous update.

Some (and often many) of the packages that you already have installed on your Debian system may have been upgraded in the archive since the last time you performed an update. The following command will list these packages:

  $ wajig newupgrades

Both of these commands can take an optional argument, install, which will install the new packages or the new upgrades. This is particularly useful for an upgrade where you just want to upgrade those newly upgraded packages, rather than the whole lot waiting to be upgraded.

For a complete list of the packages you have installed but for which there are newer versions available on the archive use:

  $ wajig toupgrade

To check the version of any installed package and also the version available from the archive previously (i.e., the last time, but one, you performed an upgrade) and now (based on the last time you performed an update), and to also see the so called Desired and Status flags of the package, use:

  $ wajig status <package names>        (similar to dpkg -l)

Without a list of package names all installed packages will be listed.

A variation is to list the status of all packages with a given string in their name:

  $ wajig status-search <string>

To check for a particular package for which you might guess at part of its name you can use:

  $ wajig listnames <string>            (apt-cache pkgnames)

Without the string argument all known package names will be listed.

If you just want those packages with a name starting with r-, for example, then you can limit the search to just those packages:

  $ wajig listnams ^r-

To list the names and current install status of all installed packages then use:

  $ wajig list

You can also list just the names of the packages installed with:

  $ wajig list-installed

And if you are looking for a particular installed package with a name containing a particular string then use:

  $ wajig list-installed <string>

To generate a list of packages, with version numbers, which you might save to file, and then restore a system to just this list of packages at a later stage, use:

  $ wajig snapshot > snapshop-12dec04
  $ wajig restore snapshop-12dec04

Each package installs some collection of files in different places on your system (e.g., in /usr/bin/, /usr/man/man1/ and usr/doc/). Sometimes you like to see where those files go or even just view the list of files installed. The command to use is:

  $ wajig listfiles <package name>      (dpkg --listfiles )

To list a one line dscription for a package use:

  $ wajig whatis <package name>

And to find which package supplies a given file use:

  $ wajig whichpkg <file path>

and for a command:

  $ wajig whichpkg $(which -p most)

For unofficial packages (i.e., you came across a package but it doesn't seem to be in Debian yet) search for a site with:

  $ wajig search-pkg <package-name>

The more detailed description of a package is available with:

  $ wajig detail <package-name>

Here, the package name can be replaced with a specific deb file.

The latest version of the appropriate change log file (i.e., the latest news) can be retrieved with:

  $ wajig news <package names>

or else obtain the complete changelog with:

  $ wajig changelog <package names>

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