October 4, 2007 · Package Mgmt · Email This Post

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One question I get all the time is "What package is that file in?" There's a really easy way to find out yourself. It's called apt-file and it can search for a file in any package (installed or not). It's really easy to use:

$ sudo apt-get install apt-file

$ sudo apt-file update

$ apt-file search autoexpect

expect-dev: usr/share/doc/expect-dev/examples/autoexpect.1.gz
expect-dev: usr/share/doc/expect-dev/examples/autoexpect.gz
expect-tcl8.3: usr/share/doc/expect-tcl8.3/examples/autoexpect
expect-tcl8.3: usr/share/doc/expect-tcl8.3/examples/autoexpect.1
manpages-ja: usr/share/man/ja/man1/autoexpect.1.gz

Apt-file comes in handy many times. One thing to note is that you don't need to run ‘apt-file update' very often (once every release upgrade) since the file names don't change that much, just the file contents.

For the record, if you want to figure out which installed package a file belongs to, use ‘dpkg -S'. This doesn't always work for config files, and files in /var, since those are generated after the package is extracted.

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1 Comment to “What package is that file in ?”

  1. Dan says:

    That’s handy, thanks

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