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deb(5)                                        Debian                                       deb(5)

       deb - Debian binary package format


       The  .deb  format  is  the  Debian binary package file format. It is understood since dpkg
       0.93.76, and is generated by default since dpkg 1.2.0 and 1.1.1elf (i386/ELF builds).

       The format described here is used since  Debian  0.93;  details  of  the  old  format  are
       described in deb-old(5).

       The  file is an ar archive with a magic value of !<arch>.  Only the common ar archive for‐
       mat is supported, with no long file name extensions, but with  file  names  containing  an
       optional trailing slash, which limits their length to 15 characters (from the 16 allowed).
       File sizes are limited to 10 ASCII  decimal  digits,  allowing  for  up  to  approximately
       9536.74 MiB member files.

       The  tar  archives  currently  allowed are, the old-style (v7) format, the pre-POSIX ustar
       format, a subset of the GNU format (only the new style long pathnames and long  linknames,
       supported  since  dpkg,  and the POSIX ustar format (long names supported since
       dpkg 1.15.0).  Unrecognized tar typeflags are considered an error.

       The first member is named debian-binary and contains a series of lines, separated by  new‐
       lines. Currently only one line is present, the format version number, 2.0 at the time this
       manual page was written.  Programs which read new-format archives should be  prepared  for
       the  minor  number to be increased and new lines to be present, and should ignore these if
       this is the case.

       If the major number has changed, an incompatible change has  been  made  and  the  program
       should  stop. If it has not, then the program should be able to safely continue, unless it
       encounters an unexpected member in the archive (except at the end), as described below.

       The second required member is named control.tar.  It is a tar archive containing the pack‐
       age  control  information,  either  not  compressed (supported since dpkg 1.17.6), or com‐
       pressed with gzip (with .gz extension) or xz (with .xz extension, supported since 1.17.6),
       as  a  series of plain files, of which the file control is mandatory and contains the core
       control information. The control tarball may optionally contain an entry for `.', the cur‐
       rent directory.

       The  third,  last  required member is named data.tar.  It contains the filesystem as a tar
       archive, either not compressed (supported since dpkg 1.10.24),  or  compressed  with  gzip
       (with  .gz  extension),  xz (with .xz extension, supported since dpkg 1.15.6), bzip2 (with
       .bz2 extension, supported since dpkg 1.10.24) or lzma  (with  .lzma  extension,  supported
       since dpkg 1.13.25).

       These  members  must  occur in this exact order. Current implementations should ignore any
       additional members after data.tar.  Further members may be defined in the future, and  (if
       possible)  will  be  placed  after these three. Any additional members that may need to be
       inserted after debian-binary and before control.tar or data.tar and which should be safely
       ignored by older programs, will have names starting with an underscore, `_'.

       Those  new  members  which  won't  be  able  to  be safely ignored will be inserted before
       data.tar with names starting with something other than underscores, or will (more  likely)
       cause the major version number to be increased.



       deb-old(5), dpkg-deb(1), deb-control(5).

Debian Project                              2014-05-24                                     deb(5)

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