Bonus: D is for Debian

About six months ago I scoured an ancient Debian package-a-day web site for all its fruit (with bew, if you must know), and came up with a long list of applications … some text-only, some graphical.

The graphical stuff has been going to the Package of the Day subreddit, and the rest I kept for future reference.

One side effect of that scouring (not necessarily good or bad) was that there was a huge crop of Debian-specific stuff. And of course, almost all of it starts with D.

So here’s a quick rundown on a few things that you can take advantage of, but really only if you’re using Debian or a derivative.

  • alien: Like deb2targz, which I just mentioned, alien will convert .deb packages to tar.gz format.


    It will though, also convert to rpm, slp, LSB and even Solaris format. It can patch on-the-fly, incorporate scripts into packages and a lot more. deb2targz is good, but if you use Debian anyway, you should probably grab alien instead.

  • debian-goodies: dpkg, aptitude, apt-cache and apt-get always satisfied almost every need I had in Debian, but debian-goodies adds a lot more tools to the mix.


    Some of the coolest? debget, which bypasses aptitude and company to yank just a package off the repository. And dpigs, which shows which packages are hogging space. 😉

  • dh-make-perl: I know next to nothing about perl or Debian packaging, but if I understand the description correctly, this should be a help with both.


    I leave it to you to pick up the torch on that one.

  • deborphan: deborphan has been around forever, and it’s one of the first things I used to install whenever I worked with either Debian or Ubuntu.


    deborphan skillfully skims through lost or detached packages on your system and lists them as orphans. It makes it quite easy to recover space after a mess of installations, or to check for leftover crud. (By the way, Arch users have something similar in pacman -Qqtd … you’re welcome. 😉 )

  • dlocate: Again, if I understand the description and the help flags, dlocate amplifies some of the search functions of dpkg.


    It’s more than just a replacement for dpkg -S though, as you can see above. Check the help flag; it’s got a ton of features.

  • discover-config: I have this on my list as a hardware check system, but it seems unwieldy and I’m not sure if it’s meant to be used beyond boot scripts.


    It works sure enough, but I might just be mishandling it. The package page and man pages might give more information.

  • dwww: I’ll mention just one more, and I don’t have a screenshot because I couldn’t figure out how to get it working. dwww, as all the program descriptions and man pages suggest, allows you to peruse documentation with a browser. I tried for a little bit but got no love from it. If there is a howto out there for setting it up, send me a link. I’m curious.

That’s enough from the Debian pond now. If you’re not a Debian fan, you probably found this excruciating to start with, but if you have any swirly in your bloodstream you might find something fun to mess with there.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog. 😉

14 thoughts on “Bonus: D is for Debian

  1. thisnameisfalse


    in relation to dwww, I have not used this program never, but in the README of source code package you can read:

    “dwww builds some web pages that list all installed documents, and converts all documents to HTML. The conversion
    is done when the user requests the document. dwww requires running a web server with CGI support (i.e. apache,
    boa, roxen, etc)”

    Reading source code package, you have separate scripts:
    one cgi script to be used in your Apache installation; one Perl script to convert manpages to HTML format; one shell script to invoque the required manpage

    The shell script is “dwww”, and is used like “man” command. Examples: dwww mount, dwww fstab, dwww grep

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      I found those and thought I was using them right, but I must have been mistaken. I’ll try again. Thanks!

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  6. R S Chakravarti

    You can read man pages with the konqueror browser. Visit man:/apt-get (or man:apt-get) to see the manpage for apt-get, and so on.

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