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Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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6.11 What is meant by unknown, install, remove purge and hold in the package status?

These "want" flags tell what the user wanted to do with a package (as indicated either by the user's actions in the "Select" section of dselect, or by the user's direct invocations of dpkg).

Their meanings are:

  • unknown - the user has never indicated whether he wants the package
  • install - the user wants the package installed or upgraded
  • remove - the user wants the package removed, but does not want to remove any existing configuration files.
  • purge - the user wants the package to be removed completely, including its configuration files.
  • hold - the user wants this package not to be processed, i.e., he wants to keep the current version with the current status whatever that is.

Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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