2.2.6 Package priorities
Each Debian package is assigned a priority by the distribution
maintainers, as an aid to the package management system. The priorities are:
Required packages are necessary for the proper functioning of
This includes all tools that are necessary to repair system defects. You must
not remove these packages or your system may become totally broken and you may
not even be able to use
dpkg to restore things. Systems with only
the Required packages are probably inadequate for most purposes, but they do
have enough functionality to allow the sysadmin to boot and install more
Important packages should be found on any Unix-like system.
Other packages without which the system will not run well or be usable will
carry this priority. This does not include Emacs or X11 or
TeX or any other large applications. These packages only constitute the bare
Standard packages are standard on any Linux system, including
a reasonably small but not too limited character-mode system.
This is what will install by default if users do not select anything else.
"Standard" does not include many large applications, but it does
include Emacs (this is more a piece of infrastructure than an application) and
a reasonable subset of TeX and LaTeX (if this turns out to be possible without
Optional packages include all those that you might reasonably
want to install even if you are unfamiliar with them, and if you don't have
This includes X11, a full TeX distribution, and lots of applications.
Please note the differences among "Priority: required",
"Section: base" and "Essential: yes" in the package
description. "Section: base" means that this package is installed
before everything else on a new system. Most of the packages in "Section:
base" have the "Priority: required" or at least "Priority:
important", and many of them are tagged with "Essential: yes".
"Essential: yes" means that this package requires to specify an extra
force option to the package management system such as
removing from the system. For example,
makedev are "Priority: required" and "Section:
base" but are not "Essential: yes".