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create Packages index files

see also : dpkg - dpkg-scansources


dpkg-scanpackages [option...] binary-dir [override-file [path-prefix]] > Packages

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dpkg-scanpackages -m debs >Packages
bzip2 -zkf Packages


dpkg-scanpackages sorts through a tree of Debian binary packages and creates a Packages file, used by apt(8), dselect(1), etc, to tell the user what packages are available for installation. These Packages files are the same as those found on Debian archive sites and CD-ROMs. You might use dpkg-scanpackages yourself if making a directory of local packages to install on a cluster of machines.

Note: If you want to access the generated Packages file with apt you will probably need to compress the file with bzip2(1) (generating a Packages.bz2 file) or gzip(1) (generating a Packages.gz file). apt ignores uncompressed Packages files except on local access (i.e. file:// sources).

binary-dir is the name of the tree of the binary packages to process (for example, contrib/binary-i386). It is best to make this relative to the root of the Debian archive, because every Filename field in the new Packages file will start with this string.

override-file is the name of a file to read which contains information about how the package fits into the distribution (it can be a compressed file); see deb-override(5).

path-prefix is an optional string to be prepended to the Filename fields.

If more than one version of a package is found only the newest one is included in the output. If they have the same version and only differ in architecture only the first one found is used.


-t, --type type

Scan for *.type packages, instead of *.deb.

-e, --extra-override file

Scan file to find supplementary overrides (the file can be compressed). See deb-extra-override(5) for more information on its format.

-a, --arch arch

Use a pattern consisting of *_all.deb and *_arch.deb instead of scanning for all debs.

-m, --multiversion

Include all found packages in the output.

-M, --medium id-string

Add an X-Medium field containing the value id-string. This field is required if you want to generate files for use by the multicd access method of dselect.

-?, --help

Show the usage message and exit.


Show the version and exit.


dpkg-scanpackages outputs the usual self-explanatory errors. It also warns about packages that are in the wrong subdirectory, are duplicated, have a Filename field in their control file, are missing from the override file, or have maintainer substitutions which do not take effect.

see also

dpkg , dselect, deb-override, deb-extra-override, dpkg-scansources .

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