Debian Linux How to find out if installed package is from stable or testing environment

last updated in Categories Debian Linux, Howto, Linux, Linux distribution, Tips, Ubuntu Linux

I install many packages for Debian / Ubuntu Linux from both stable/testing environment but some time I need to find out installed package is from stable or testing environment. I can use dpkg status file to get this information. But Debian comes with perl script called apt-show-versions which lists available package versions with distribution.


apt-show-versions parses the dpkg status file and the APT lists for the installed and available package versions and distribution and shows upgrade options within the specific distribution of the selected package. apt-show-versions uses caching for the status information of installed and available packages. If you run apt-show-versions as root the cache is updated as needed. If you run as non-root uses the newest available information, but can’t update the cache. If you run as root with the option -i the cache is initialized or updated only.

This is really useful if you have a mixed stable/testing environment and want to list all packages which are from testing and can be upgraded in testing.

Install apt-show-versions

Type the following command at shell prompt:
$ sudo apt-get install apt-show-versions
Just type command apt-show-versions:
$ apt-show-versions

java-common/testing uptodate 0.23
libperl5.8/testing upgradeable from 5.8.7-10 to 5.8.8-2
sysutils/testing upgradeable from 2.0.0-1 to 2.0.1
autoconf/unstable uptodate 2.59a-8

To upgrade all packages in testing you can type command:

# apt-get install $(apt-show-versions -u -b | fgrep testing)

Find out a list of all available versions of postgresql database server:

$ apt-show-versions -a -p postgresql

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


3 comment

  1. Hi!

    I don’t think this is Debian/Linux specific. IOW, it looks to me like it’ll also work for Nexenta (Debian/OpenSolaris), Debian/BSD, Debian/Hurd, etc.

  2. Eric,

    You are right Nexenta/OpenSolaris use apt and this script should work on almost all Unixsh oses where perl and apt used. Thanks for pointing out.

  3. Really cool stuff, thanks for sharing. Was looking for a way to track which packages are installed from other Debian branches when running a mixed/pinned gnu/Linux OS and came across this. Found another interesting and potentially useful command for doing that with apt-show-versions. To find/list packages on the OS installed from unstable.
    ie: apt-show-versions | grep /unstable

    Of course could be testing or even found out it works for seeing what you’ve got installed from backports in the case of Debian 9/Stretch. Would just replace unstable in the above command with /stretch-backports. Anyway, thanks again Vivek.

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