grep-aptavail and friends (
grep-available, to find this information respectively in specific Packages files or in the
dkpg base of locally installed packages) are the most precise tools for that:
grep-aptavail -s Description -PX packagename
$ grep-aptavail -PX 'apache2' -s Description
Description: Apache HTTP Server metapackage
The Apache Software Foundation's goal is to build a secure, efficient and
extensible HTTP server as standards-compliant open source software. The
result has long been the number one web server on the Internet.
It features support for HTTPS, virtual hosting, CGI, SSI, IPv6, easy
scripting and database integration, request/response filtering, many
flexible authentication schemes, and more.*
Debian (and Ubuntu) packages have two parts in their description:
- the first line of the Description field is the short description, which appears in
apt-cache search packagename;
- the rest of the Description field (beginning with the second line) is the long description.
For this reason, you can get the short description as a one-liner, but the long description is by definition spread on several lines.