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Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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6.3 Why are Debian package file names so long?

The Debian binary package file names conform to the following convention: <foo>_<VersionNumber>-<DebianRevisionNumber>.deb

Note that foo is supposed to be the package name. As a check, one can learn the package name associated with a particular Debian archive file (.deb file) in one of these ways:

  • inspect the "Packages" file in the directory where it was stored at a Debian FTP archive site. This file contains a stanza describing each package; the first field in each stanza is the formal package name.
  • use the command dpkg --info foo_VVV-RRR.deb (where VVV and RRR are the version and revision of the package in question, respectively). This displays, among other things, the package name corresponding to the archive file being unpacked.

The VVV component is the version number specified by the upstream developer. There are no standards in place here, so the version number may have formats as different as "19990513" and "1.3.8pre1".

The RRR component is the Debian revision number, and is specified by the Debian developer (or an individual user if he chooses to build the package himself). This number corresponds to the revision level of the Debian package, thus, a new revision level usually signifies changes in the Debian Makefile (debian/rules), the Debian control file (debian/control), the installation or removal scripts (debian/p*), or in the configuration files used with the package.

Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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