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A python library for parsing debian package control headers and version strings

Project description


This library can be used to:

  1. read and extract control data from Debian-format package files, even on platforms that generally lack a native implementation of dpkg

  2. compare dpkg version strings, using a pure Python implementation of the algorithm described in section 5.6.12 of the debian-policy manual:

  3. Parse debian source description (dsc) files, inspect their contents and verify that their source files are present and checksums are correct.

This is primarily intended for use on platforms that do not normally ship python-apt due to licensing restrictions or the lack of a native (e.g. macOS)

Currently only tested on CPython 3.x, but at least in theory should run on any python distribution that can install the arpy library.

Note: python 2.7 compatibility was removed in version 1.4.0 and the v1.3 branch is no longer being maintained. This means that among other issues, support for zstandard-compressed deb packages will not be available on py27 -- consider this impetus to upgrade if you have not already.


Install the 'pydpkg' package from PyPi using the pip tool:

$ pip install pydpkg
Collecting pydpkg
  Downloading pydpkg-1.1-py2-none-any.whl
  Installing collected packages: pydpkg
  Successfully installed pydpkg-1.1


python-dpkg uses Poetry to manage its dependencies.

The Makefile will attempt to set up a reasonable build/test environment on both macOS/Darwin and more traditional unixes (linux, freebsd, etc), but relies on the existence of pyenv, pyenv-virtualenv everywhere and Homebrew on macOS. You don't need to use the workflow that the makefile enforces (modern versions of pip will happily digest pyproject.toml files and you can run the test commands manually) but please ensure all tests pass before submitting PRs.


Binary Packages

Read and extract headers

>>> from pydpkg import Dpkg
>>> dp = Dpkg('/tmp/testdeb_1:0.0.0-test_all.deb')

>>> dp.headers
{'maintainer': u'Climate Corp Engineering <>', 'description': u'testdeb\n a bogus debian package for testing dpkg builds', 'package': u'testdeb', 'section': u'base', 'priority': u'extra', 'installed-size': u'0', 'version': u'1:0.0.0-test', 'architecture': u'all'}

>>> print(dp)
Package: testdeb
Version: 1:0.0.0-test
Section: base
Priority: extra
Architecture: all
Installed-Size: 0
Maintainer: Climate Corp Engineering <>
Description: testdeb
 a bogus debian package for testing dpkg builds

Interact directly with the package control message

>>> dp.message
<email.message.Message instance at 0x10895c6c8>
>>> dp.message.get_content_type()

Get package file fingerprints

>>> dp.fileinfo
{'sha256': '547500652257bac6f6bc83f0667d0d66c8abd1382c776c4de84b89d0f550ab7f', 'sha1': 'a5d28ae2f23e726a797349d7dd5f21baf8aa02b4', 'filesize': 910, 'md5': '149e61536a9fe36374732ec95cf7945d'}
>>> dp.md5
>>> dp.sha1
>>> dp.sha256
>>> dp.filesize

Get the components of the package version

>>> d.epoch
>>> d.upstream_version
>>> d.debian_revision

Get an arbitrary control header, case-independent

>>> d.version


>>> d.description
u'testdeb\n a bogus debian package for testing dpkg builds'

>>> d.get('nosuchheader', 'default')

Compare current version to a candidate version

>>> dp.compare_version_with('1.0')

>>> dp.compare_version_with('1:1.0')

Compare two arbitrary version strings

>>> from pydpkg import Dpkg
>>> ver_1 = '0:1.0-test1'
>>> ver_2 = '0:1.0-test2'
>>> Dpkg.compare_versions(ver_1, ver_2)

Use as a key function to sort a list of version strings

>>> from pydpkg import Dpkg
>>> sorted(['0:1.0-test1', '1:0.0-test0', '0:1.0-test2'] , key=Dpkg.compare_versions_key)
['0:1.0-test1', '0:1.0-test2', '1:0.0-test0']

Use the dpkg-inspect script to inspect packages

$ dpkg-inspect ~/testdeb*deb
Filename: /Home/n/testdeb_1:0.0.0-test_all.deb
Size:     910
MD5:      149e61536a9fe36374732ec95cf7945d
SHA1:     a5d28ae2f23e726a797349d7dd5f21baf8aa02b4
SHA256:   547500652257bac6f6bc83f0667d0d66c8abd1382c776c4de84b89d0f550ab7f
  Package: testdeb
  Version: 1:0.0.0-test
  Section: base
  Priority: extra
  Architecture: all
  Installed-Size: 0
  Maintainer: Nathan Mehl <>
  Description: testdeb
   a bogus debian package for testing dpkg builds

Source Packages

Read and extract headers

>>> from pydpkg import Dsc
>>> dsc = Dsc('testdeb_0.0.0.dsc')
>>> dsc.standards_version
>>> dsc.format
'3.0 (quilt)'
>>> x.build_depends
'python (>= 2.6.6-3), debhelper (>= 9)'

Get the full set of dsc headers as a dictionary

>>> dsc.headers
{'Architecture': 'all',
 'Binary': 'testdeb',
 'Build-Depends': 'python (>= 2.6.6-3), debhelper (>= 9)',
 'Checksums-Sha1': ' f250ac0a426b31df24fc2c98050f4fab90e456cd 280 testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz\n cb3474ff94053018957ebcf1d8a2b45f75dda449 232 testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz\n 80cd7b01014a269d445c63b037b885d6002cf533 841 testdeb_0.0.0.dsc',
 'Checksums-Sha256': ' aa57ba8f29840383f5a96c5c8f166a9e6da7a484151938643ce2618e82bfeea7 280 testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz\n 1ddb2a7336a99bc1d203f3ddb59f6fa2d298e90cb3e59cccbe0c84e359979858 232 testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz\n b5ad1591349eb48db65e6865be506ad7dbd21931902a71addee5b1db9ae1ac2a 841 testdeb_0.0.0.dsc',
 'Files': ' 142ca7334ed1f70302b4504566e0c233 280 testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz\n fc80e6e7f1c1a08b78a674aaee6c1548 232 testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz\n 893d13a2ef13f7409c9521e8ab1dbccb 841 testdeb_0.0.0.dsc',
 'Format': '3.0 (quilt)',
 'Homepage': '',
 'Maintainer': 'Nathan J. Mehl <>',
 'Package-List': 'testdeb',
 'Source': 'testdeb',
 'Standards-Version': '3.9.6',
 'Uploaders': 'Nathan J. Mehl <>',
 'Version': '0.0.0-1'}

Interact directly with the dsc message

>>> dsc.message
<email.message.Message instance at 0x106fedea8>
>>> dsc.message.get_content_type()
>>> dsc.message.get('uploaders')
'Nathan J. Mehl <>'

Render the dsc message as a string

>>> print(dsc)
Format: 3.0 (quilt)
Source: testdeb
Binary: testdeb
Architecture: all
Version: 0.0.0-1
Maintainer: Nathan J. Mehl <>
Uploaders: Nathan J. Mehl <>
Standards-Version: 3.9.6
Build-Depends: python (>= 2.6.6-3), debhelper (>= 9)
Package-List: testdeb
 f250ac0a426b31df24fc2c98050f4fab90e456cd 280 testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz
 cb3474ff94053018957ebcf1d8a2b45f75dda449 232 testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz
 80cd7b01014a269d445c63b037b885d6002cf533 841 testdeb_0.0.0.dsc
 aa57ba8f29840383f5a96c5c8f166a9e6da7a484151938643ce2618e82bfeea7 280 testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz
 1ddb2a7336a99bc1d203f3ddb59f6fa2d298e90cb3e59cccbe0c84e359979858 232 testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz
 b5ad1591349eb48db65e6865be506ad7dbd21931902a71addee5b1db9ae1ac2a 841 testdeb_0.0.0.dsc
 142ca7334ed1f70302b4504566e0c233 280 testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz
 fc80e6e7f1c1a08b78a674aaee6c1548 232 testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz
 893d13a2ef13f7409c9521e8ab1dbccb 841 testdeb_0.0.0.dsc

List the package source files from the dsc

>>> dsc.source_files
 '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.dsc' ]

Validate that the package source files are present

>>> dsc.missing_files
>>> dsc.all_files_present
>>> dsc.validate()

>>> bad = Dsc('testdeb_1.1.1-bad.dsc')
>>> bad.missing_files
['/tmp/testdeb_1.1.1.orig.tar.gz', '/tmp/testdeb_1.1.1-1.debian.tar.xz']
>>> bad.all_files_present
>>> bad.validate()
pydpkg.DscMissingFileError: ['/tmp/testdeb_1.1.1.orig.tar.gz', '/tmp/testdeb_1.1.1-1.debian.tar.xz']

Inspect the source file checksums from the dsc

>>> pp(dsc.checksums)
{'md5': {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': 'fc80e6e7f1c1a08b78a674aaee6c1548',
         '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.dsc': '893d13a2ef13f7409c9521e8ab1dbccb',
         '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': '142ca7334ed1f70302b4504566e0c233'},
 'sha1': {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': 'cb3474ff94053018957ebcf1d8a2b45f75dda449',
          '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.dsc': '80cd7b01014a269d445c63b037b885d6002cf533',
          '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': 'f250ac0a426b31df24fc2c98050f4fab90e456cd'},
 'sha256': {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': '1ddb2a7336a99bc1d203f3ddb59f6fa2d298e90cb3e59cccbe0c84e359979858',
            '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.dsc': 'b5ad1591349eb48db65e6865be506ad7dbd21931902a71addee5b1db9ae1ac2a',
            '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': 'aa57ba8f29840383f5a96c5c8f166a9e6da7a484151938643ce2618e82bfeea7'}}

Validate that all source file checksums are correct

>>> dsc.corrected_checksums
>>> dsc.all_checksums_correct
>>> dsc.validate()

>>> bad = Dsc('testdeb_0.0.0-badchecksums.dsc')
>>> bad.corrected_checksums
{'sha256': defaultdict(None, {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': '1ddb2a7336a99bc1d203f3ddb59f6fa2d298e90cb3e59cccbe0c84e359979858', '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': 'aa57ba8f29840383f5a96c5c8f166a9e6da7a484151938643ce2618e82bfeea7'}), 'sha1': defaultdict(None, {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': 'cb3474ff94053018957ebcf1d8a2b45f75dda449', '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': 'f250ac0a426b31df24fc2c98050f4fab90e456cd'})}
>>> bad.all_checksums_correct
>>> bad.validate()
pydpkg.DscBadChecksumsError: {'sha256': defaultdict(None, {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': '1ddb2a7336a99bc1d203f3ddb59f6fa2d298e90cb3e59cccbe0c84e359979858', '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': 'aa57ba8f29840383f5a96c5c8f166a9e6da7a484151938643ce2618e82bfeea7'}), 'sha1': defaultdict(None, {'/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0-1.debian.tar.xz': 'cb3474ff94053018957ebcf1d8a2b45f75dda449', '/tmp/testdeb_0.0.0.orig.tar.gz': 'f250ac0a426b31df24fc2c98050f4fab90e456cd'})}

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