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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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2.2.2 Debian package format

A Debian "package", or a Debian archive file, contains the executable files, libraries, and documentation associated with a particular program suite or set of related programs. Normally, a Debian archive file has a filename that ends in .deb. [ 1]

The internals of this Debian binary package format are described in the deb(5) manual page. Because this internal format is subject to change (between major releases of Debian), always use dpkg-deb(8) for manipulating .deb files.

Through at least the Sarge distribution, all Debian archive files have been manipulable by the standard Unix commands ar and tar, even when dpkg commands are not available.


Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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