I've been using RPM for a long time - built my own packages and installed Linux with nothing but the RPMs to do it with.

However, now that I'm using Ubuntu and Linux Mint regularly, I want to learn more about dpkg but don't know where to start.

Particularly, I find myself missing commands like:

  • rpm --queryformat="..." (query database for data and print in user-defined format)
  • rpm --whatrequires (find out what requires a package)
  • rpm -qV (verify all files on the filesystem)

And there are more. Where can I find the best translator?

UPDATE: I've located two that I didn't know about when I wrote this question. One is APT and RPM Packager Lookup Tables from J. P. Vossen. The other is from Ubuntu and is called Switching To Ubuntu From Linux Red Hat Enterprise Linux And Fedora. Both pages are quite good.

2 Answers 2


I don't think there is a good 'translator'. You could write one up, though! Note that in the debian world (where dpkg comes from), you'll need not just dpkg but also possibly other tools like dpkg-* apt-cache to show you some of those things.

rpm --queryformat is approximately the same as dpkg-query.

rpm --whatrequires is approximately the same as apt-cache rdepends.

rpm -qV is approximately the same as the debsums

That should get you started :)

  • Thanks! Looks like that dpkg has more "commands" than RPM does: separate commands where RPM has just one (or two, if you count rpmbuild).
    – Mei
    Jul 17, 2009 at 17:37

Like pjz said, I don't think there's a good translator of sorts. Is it that you only have a rpm of a file and can't find a .deb version? dpkg handles .deb files much like rpm handles .rpm files. Have you tried looking in the apt-get listing? A handy trick I've found is typing in the first part of a package name and hitting tab; it either completes my list or gives me matching packages.

  • That doesn't help. Firstly, I'm familiar with apt-get - I've used APT-RPM for years and resoundingly encourage using it. I think apt is fantastic (can't say the same for dpkg...). Secondly, I don't use bash, but ksh: so I strongly suspect completion would not work there.
    – Mei
    Jul 17, 2009 at 17:36

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