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.deb the filename extension used by the Debian package management system and their dpkg and apt-get utilities.

A .deb file is actually and ar archive file (ar is traditionally used to create .a libraries of .o files in UNIX programming). The .deb file contains at least three members; a very small text file listing the Debian packaging version number to which this file conforms; a control.tar.gz and a data.tar.gz file. These two tar.gz files contain the package meta-data (pre and post installation and removal scripts, etc.) and the actual package files and directories (relative to their installation point under the root filesystem).

The following command can be used to extract just the program/package files (bypassing the normal package management utilities completely --- possibly installing the .deb into a non-Debian system):

ar p $FOO.deb data.tar.gz | tar xzf-  


  • () JimDennis - 23 Sep 2003
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