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How do I export a list of installed Debian packages on a system, and then install those same packages on a new system?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

To backup:

sudo dpkg --get-selections > /tmp/dpkglist.txt

To Restore:

sudo dpkg --set-selections < /tmp/dpkglist.txt
sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade

Also see this question for additional options and info: http://serverfault.com/questions/737/ubuntu-how-to-setup-a-new-machine-like-an-existing-one

I have the above running in a daily cronjob that checks the dpgklist into SVN as part of our server inventory. This will allow you to keep a reasonable accurate inventory of installed packages across your servers and its easy to do a quick side-by-side diff to see if a server is missing a particular package.

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You can also use aptitude for the same. This preserves information about "automatically installed" packages that other methods do not.

Run following on the reference machine

aptitude search -F '%100p' '~i!~M' > package_list

copy package_list to the other machine and run

xargs aptitude --schedule-only install < package_list; aptitude install;
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Just a minor note. According to the aptitude reference manual, the "package" field is "expandable" by default, so aptitude search -F '%p' '~i!~M' > package_list should also work fine. –  chronos Oct 17 '13 at 23:34

That's a good idea, and you might also set up one server with apt-proxy if you make a habit of this.

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After playing around with several proxies for apt, I ended up deciding on apt-cacher-ng. apt-cacher-ng is very simple to setup and from several accounts it seems to be more robust than the original apt-proxy. Each person has their own favourite though. unix-ag.uni-kl.de/~bloch/acng –  faultyserver Aug 20 '09 at 21:06
    
My vote is for approx, it's the only one that isn't some kind of insane. –  womble Aug 20 '09 at 23:08
    
Interesting... I've not actually tried any of the alternatives. –  emgee Aug 21 '09 at 16:00

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