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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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2.2.10 Package status

Package status can be "unknown", "install", "remove", "purge", or "hold". These "want" flags indicate what the user wanted to do with a package (either by making choices in the "Select" section of dselect, or by directly invoking 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 Reference Guide
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  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire