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Re: dpkg and apt status files.

On Mon, 09 May 2011, Ciaran Carthy wrote:
> quickly rebuilds it to its full size. Does it rebuild it by trawling
> through the repository again?

AFAIK yes.

> What is it used for/what does it contain? It would seem to be
> redundant based on what the next two files are used for.

It's the list of available packages known to APT.

> In the /var/lib/dpkg directory there are two important files:
> *available *and *status*.
> This seems to be the definitive source for determining that a
> package is installed.


> What is "available" for and how is it built up?
> My understanding is that dpkg does not have the concept of a
> configured remote repository.
> So in the world of dpkg, what does it mean to say that a package is
> "available"?

The available file is mainly useful for dselect. It's maintained by dpkg
but fed by external programs/scripts via "dpkg --update-avail" (and/or
--merge-avail). For historical reasons, it also keeps the information of
packages that have been installed in the past (dpkg -i adds the info both
to the available file and to the status file).

This file is not used by APT.

Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

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