Deb file viewing [was: Dependency ordering]
On Sat, 12 Apr 1997, Paul Wade wrote:
> I would love to be able to hit the F3 (view) key in mc
> on a .deb file and get a nice summary of control info and status.
Last summer I wrote a deb file browser for emacs. Paul's remark reminded
me to remind the list about it again. I'm sure it will be made obsolete by
the deity project but it may be of use to some people until then.
There isn't any package install features, just smart browsing and the
ability to copy individual files out of the archive.
At the time many people suggested that this could/should go into "contrib"
or someplace so that it gets included into the Debian distribution. This
was never done.
Here is the original announcement, modified to mention that it also views
HTML files using w3.el.
--- snip ---
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 17:07:39 -0600
From: Rick Macdonald <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: deb-view.el: emacs tool for browsing deb files!
I've written a tool for emacs that allows one to browse deb files.
It's nice to peek at a package file and read the doc, man pages, install
scripts, file list, etc, without installing it first. You can even copy
files out of a deb archive if you want to!
Why emacs? Because most of the smarts to do this stuff was already in
emacs. I just gathered it together in a simple but clever way for Debian
users! ;-) Emacs users will recognize "tar-mode", the emacs feature
that that I'm exploiting.
Here's sort of what it looks like on the screen. To view any file, just
go to that line and press "v". If it's a man page file, press "N". Press
"W" to view HTML. It doesn't matter is the file is compressed (.gz); it
uncompresses automatically on the fly.
Buffers Files Tools Search Operate Mark Immediate Help
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 ./
-rw-r--r-- root/root 441 control
-rw-r--r-- root/root 13 conffiles
-rwxr-xr-x root/root 1459 postinst
-----C37 L2 Emacs: sudo_1.4.3-5.deb-INFO (Tar Narrow)--All---
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 ./
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 etc/
-r--r----- root/root 280 etc/sudoers
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/bin/
-rwxr-sr-x root/root 41996 usr/bin/sudo
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/man/
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/man/man8/
-rw-r--r-- root/root 4782 usr/man/man8/sudo.8.gz
-rw-r--r-- root/root 3257 usr/man/man8/visudo.8.gz
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/man/man5/
-rw-r--r-- root/root 5289 usr/man/man5/sudoers.5.gz
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/sbin/
-rwxr-xr-x root/root 24596 usr/sbin/visudo
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/doc/
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/doc/copyright/
-rw-r--r-- root/root 1282 usr/doc/copyright/sudo
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/doc/examples/
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/doc/examples/sudo/
-rw-r--r-- root/root 2572 usr/doc/examples/sudo/sudoers
drwxr-xr-x root/root 0 usr/doc/sudo/
-rw-r--r-- root/root 2335 usr/doc/sudo/FAQ.gz
-rw-r--r-- root/root 2398 usr/doc/sudo/debian.OPTIONS.gz
--**-C37 L9 Emacs: sudo_1.4.3-5.deb-DATA (Tar narrow)--All---
The lisp file is about 300 lines long. I decided not to post it to the
list, for fear of annoying non-emacs users, so I've put it up on a web
server. Sorry, I don't have anonymous ftp for you. The file is about
If you can't get at it, I can email it to you.
Note that deb-view works for the current and past formats of the Debian
file format. As the deb file evolves, I hope I can continue to provide
One thing that I'm missing is a way for future Debian newcomers to know
about this tool. Suggestions welcome.
I hope some of you find this useful!