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Linux 2.6 - man page for deb (linux section 5)

deb(5)					      Debian					   deb(5)

       deb - Debian binary package format


       The .deb format is the Debian binary package file format. It is understood by dpkg 0.93.76
       and later, and is generated by default by  all  versions  of  dpkg  since  1.2.0  and  all
       i386/ELF versions since 1.1.1elf.

       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>.  The file names might  contain	a
       trailing slash.

       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.gz.  It is a gzipped tar archive  contain-
       ing the package control information, 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 current 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 before 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				    2009-02-27					   deb(5)

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