• 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