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Version: 27 May 2010 (ubuntu - 24/10/10)

Section: 1 (Commandes utilisateur)


apt-file - APT package searching utility -- command-line interface


apt-file [ options ] [ action ] [ pattern ]

apt-file -f [ options ] search [ file ... ]

apt-file -D [ options ] search [ binary-packet.deb ... ]


apt-file is a command line tool for searching files in packages for the APT package management system.

Some actions are required to run the search:

Resynchronize the package contents from their sources. The lists of the contents of packages are fetched from the location(s) specified in /etc/apt/sources.list. This command attempts to fetch the Contents-<ARCH>.gz files from remote sources. For downloading these uses either the curl or wget commands as specified in apt-file.conf.
Search in which package a file is included. A list of all packages containing the pattern pattern is returned.

apt-file will only search for filenames, not directory names. This is due to the format of the Contents files it searches.

Alias for search.
List the contents of a package matching the pattern pattern. This action is very close to the dpkg -L command except the package does not need to be installed or fetched.
Alias for list.
remove all Contents-* files from the cache directory.


--cache | -c cache-directory
Sets the cache directory to cache-directory instead of its default. If executed as non-root user, the default is $HOME/.cache/apt-file with fall-back to /var/cache/apt/apt-file. The latter is also the default if apt-file is called as root.
--verbose | -v
Run apt-file in verbose mode.
--cdrom-mount | -d cdrom-mount-point
Use cdrom-mount-point instead of apt's.
--non-interactive | -N
Skip schemes that are listed in the interactive line in apt-file.conf. This is useful if you want to call 'apt-file update' in cron jobs and skip all schemes that may require user input.
--ignore-case | -i
Ignore case when searching for pattern.
--regexp | -x
Treat pattern as a (perl) regular expression. See perlreref(1) for details. Without this option, pattern is treated as a literal string to search for.
--version | -V
Show version number.
--architecture | -a architecture
Sets architecture to architecture. This option is useful if you search a package for a different architecture from the one installed on your system. It determines how the $ARCH variable in sources.list is expanded (but it does not influence the search in any other way).
--sources-list | -s sources.list
Sets the sources.list file to a different value from its default /etc/apt/sources.list.
--package-only | -l
Only display package name; do not display file names.
--from-file | -f
Read patterns from the given file(s), one per line. Use -f - for stdin. This is much faster than invoking apt-file many times.
--from-deb | -D
Use contents of the given .deb archives(s) as patterns. Useful for searching for file conflicts with other packages. Implies -F.
--fixed-string | -F
Do not expand search pattern with generic characters at pattern's start and end.
--dummy | -y
Run in dummy mode (no action).
--help | -h
Display a short help screen.


The apt-file configuration file can be found in /etc/apt/apt-file.conf.

A string expansion is done on several values. See the string expansion section.

This variable describes how cached files will be named.
http | ftp | ssh | rsh | file | cdrom
Defines the commands used to fetch files.


A sources.list entry is defined as:

           deb uri dist component1 component2 ...
A uri is defined as:
replace with the hostname
replace with the port number
replace with full uri
replace with full path (relative to / on the host)
replace with distribution name
replace with component name
replace with cache directory
replace with destination expanded value.
replace with cdrom-mount-point.


Locations to fetch package contents from.
Directory with additional sources.list snippets
Configuration file for apt-file.


auto-apt(1), apt-cache(8), apt-cdrom(8), dpkg(8), dselect(8), sources.list(5), apt.conf(5), apt_preferences(5).

The APT users guide in /usr/share/doc/apt/


The cdrom backend has not been tested.

Non-release lines in sources.list are not handled by apt-file.

There is only one Contents file per distribution that contains all components (i.e. main, contrib, and non-free). Threrefore, apt-file will display search results from all components, even if not all components are included in the sources.list file.

When a new line has been added to the sources.list and apt-file update has not been run, apt-file does not print a warning message.

Complex regular expressions that match the leading slash may not work correctly. As a workaround, try to pull the leading slash to the beginning of the regular expression. For example, use "/(usr/bin/vim|sbin/lvm)" instead of "/usr/bin/vim|/sbin/lvm".


apt-file was written by Sebastien J. Gross <>.

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