• List all installed packages:

    $ dpkg -l
  • List all recently installed packages:

    $ zcat -f /var/log/dpkg.log* | grep "\ install\ " | sort
  • Show the changelog of a package (here, the linux kernel of Ubuntu):

    $ aptitude changelog linux-generic
  • Which package contain a given file:

    $ apt-file search file_to_search
  • Get the list of files of a package:

    $ apt-file list package_name
  • Extract content of a package:

    $ ar vx mypackage.deb


  • Install a package from a lower-priority repository, like the backport repository:

    $ apt-get -t squeeze-backports install my-package
  • Force reinstallation of a package:

    $ apt-get -d --reinstall install my-package
    $ dpkg --install --force-confmiss /var/cache/apt/archives/my-package.deb


  • Upgrade package listing and metadata:

    $ sudo apt update
  • Force yes so that package maintainer’s version of config files always prevails:

    $ sudo apt upgrade -y --force-yes


  • Hold a package with either dpkg or aptitude:

    $ echo "kdenlive hold" | dpkg --set-selections


    $ aptitude hold kdenlive
  • Unhold a package:

    $ echo "kdenlive install" | dpkg --set-selections


    $ aptitude unhold kdenlive
  • List holded packages:

    $ dpkg --get-selections | grep hold


  • Uninstall a package throughly (both program files and configuration):

    $ apt-get remove --purge my_package
  • Force removal of a package while ignoring all dependencies:

    $ dpkg --remove --force-depends libsomething
  • Remove orphaned pakages:

    $ deborphan | xargs apt-get -y remove --purge


  • Clean aptitude local cache:

    $ apt-get clean
  • Remove dpkg lock file:

    $ rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock