parse Debian changelog files
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reads and parses the changelog of an unpacked Debian source
tree and outputs the information in it to standard output in
a machine-readable form.
Specifies the changelog file to
read information from. The default is
Specifies the format of the
changelog. By default the format is read from a special line
near the bottom of the changelog or failing that defaults to
the debian standard format. See also CHANGELOG
Specify an additional directory
to search for parser scripts. This directory is searched
before the default directories which are currently
Show the usage message and
Show the version and exit.
The following options can be used to influence the output of
the changelog parser, e.g. the range of entries or the
format of the output. They need to be supported by the
parser script in question. See also CAVEATS.
Set the output format.
Currently supported values are dpkg and
rfc822. dpkg is the classic output format
(from before this option existed) and the default. It
consists of one paragraph in Debian control format (see
deb-control(5)). If more than one entry is
requested, then most fields are taken from the most recent
entry, except otherwise stated:
The highest urgency of all
included entries is used, followed by the concatenated
(space-separated) comments from all the versions
The Closes fields of all
included entries are merged.
The text of all changelog
entries is concatenated. To make this field a valid Debian
control format multiline field empty lines are replaced with
a single full stop and all lines is intended by one space
character. The exact content depends on the changelog
Version, Distribution, Urgency,
Maintainer and Changes fields are
There might be
additional user-defined fields present.
rfc822 format uses the same fields but outputs a
separate paragraph for each changelog entry so that all
metadata for each entry is preserved.
include all changes later than
include all changes earlier
include all changes equal or
later than version.
include all changes up to or
equal than version.
include number entries
from the top (or the tail if number is lower than
change the starting point for
--count, counted from the top (or the tail if
number is lower than 0).
include all changes. Note: other options have no effect
when this is in use.
All Parser Options except for -v are only supported in
dpkg, version 1.14.16 and later. Third party parsers for
changelog formats other than debian might not support all
It is possible to use a different format to the standard one, by
providing a parser for that alternative format.
In order to have dpkg-parsechangelog run the new parser, a
line must be included within the last 40 lines of the changelog
file, matching the Perl regular expression:
part in parentheses should be the name of the format. For
@@@ changelog-format: otherformat @@@
Changelog format names are non-empty strings of alphanumerics.
If such a line exists then dpkg-parsechangelog will look
for the parser as
is an error for it not being present or not being an executable
program. The default changelog format is debian, and a
parser for it is provided by default.
The parser will be invoked with the changelog open on standard
input at the start of the file. It should read the file (it may
seek if it wishes) to determine the information required and
return the parsed information to standard output in the format
specified by the --format option. It should accept all
If the changelog format which is being parsed always or almost
always leaves a blank line between individual change notes, these
blank lines should be stripped out, so as to make the resulting
If the changelog format does not contain date or package name
information this information should be omitted from the output.
The parser should not attempt to synthesize it or find it from
If the changelog does not have the expected format the parser
should exit with a nonzero exit status, rather than trying to
muddle through and possibly generating incorrect output.
A changelog parser may not interact with the user at all.
The changelog file, used to obtain version-dependent information
about the source package, such as the urgency and distribution of
an upload, the changes made since a particular release, and the
source version number itself.