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Managing Debian Software with APT (apt-get etc)
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6.2 Packages needed for compiling a source package

Normally, specific headers and shared libraries need to be present in order for a source package to be compiled. All source packages have a field in their control files called 'Build-Depends:' that indicates which additional packages are needed for the package to be built from source.

APT has a simple way of downloading these packages. Just run apt-get build-dep package, where `package' is the name of the package you're going to build. For example:

     # apt-get build-dep gmc
     Reading Package Lists... Done
     Building Dependency Tree... Done
     The following NEW packages will be installed:
       comerr-dev e2fslibs-dev gdk-imlib-dev imlib-progs libgnome-dev libgnorba-dev
       libgpmg1-dev 
     0 packages upgraded, 7 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1  not upgraded.
     Need to get 1069kB of archives. After unpacking 3514kB will be used.
     Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

The packages that will be installed are the packages needed in order for gmc to be built correctly. It's important to note that this command doesn't look for the source package of the program to be compiled. You will therefore need to run apt-get source separately to get it.

If all you want is checking what packages are needed to build a given package, there's a variant of the apt-cache show command (see Getting information about packages., Chapter 5, which will show, among other information, the Build-Depends line that lists those packages.

     # apt-cache showsrc package

Managing Debian Software with APT (apt-get etc)
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