A toolkit for packages


When a package is installed, its files are usually scattered throughout your system. Its man pages, for instance, are placed in a /doc directory, and its binary files in a /bin directory. The dgrep command lets you search these scattered files using grep (Figure 7).

Figure 7: With dgrep, you can do grep-like searches on a package's files.

The dgrep tool supports the normal regular expressions, as well as most of grep's options, with the exception of -r or --recursives and grep options that refer specifically to directories. It does not include symbolic links in its results. However, you can specify a variation of grep with the commands degrep, dfgrep, or dzgrep.


Are you curious about the largest installed packages on your system? Then, dpigs can answer your questions. Entering the dpigs command by itself gives you a listing of the top 10 largest binary packages (Figure 8). If you modify the command with the option -nNUMBER or --lines=NUMBER, you can view as many listings as you choose. If you add -S or --source, you can view the largest source packages only. The results of the dpigs command can help you streamline your system, but you should investigate candidates for removal carefully, because large packages are often ones that are essential to your system.

Figure 8: Discovery the most memory-intensive packages with dpigs.


The popbugs command requires the installation of the Debian Popularity Contest to run [2]. Debian Popularity Contest keeps track of the most used packages on the system. Once a week, it runs a cronjob to send the information gathered to the Debian project, which uses the information for planning things such as which applications will go onto install CDs. You can opt in or out of Debian Popularity during installation; if you opt out, it is not installed.

Popbugs generates a list of release critical bugs – in other words, major ones – against the packages listed in your Debian Popularity Contest, producing a web report in your default browser (Figure 9). Alternatively, you can use the option --output=FILE to print the report to file.

Figure 9: The popbugs command uses Debian Popularity Contest to track release critical bugs.

This report is mostly useful for developers who are actively helping to prepare a new release. The report is also useful for system administrators who want to keep track of vulnerabilities, although it does not provide any updates for patching your system.

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