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DpkgBot on #debian

Some questions are asked repeatedly, and in order to save time and wasteful effort, automated systems of information retrieval have been setup for use in #debian.

DpkgBot is a bot running in #debian on Freenode IRC ( and OFTC ( The bot's nickname is dpkg. It is an infobot that stores and retrieves factoids and answers to frequently asked questions. The dpkg bot is an excellent resource.

#debian's resources are there for your to search, read, learn, and investigate on your own. When you have exhausted every avenue and still are unable to find a solution to your problem, or you believe that your problem might NOT fall under the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) category, please feel free to ask in the #debian IRC channel on OFTC ( or on Freenode IRC (

As an example, if you wish to know how to install Java Runtime Environment for Debian, instead of asking in the channel, you can type

/msg dpkg java OR /msg dpkg install java

The replies you receive from dpkg will sometimes contain additional keywords you should look up as well. These keywords will appear in angle brackets <>.

For example, here is the output of <install java>

/msg dpkg install java

<dpkg> To install the java runtime environment (JRE) to run java programs, install 'default-jre'; to compile java sources, install 'default-jdk'. You will often find additional openjdk-$X-jre or openjdk-$X-jre versions in <backports>. See also <java alternatives>, <java plugin>.

This contains the keywords <java alternatives> and upon asking dpkg we get

/msg dpkg java alternatives

<dpkg>Rather than using update-alternatives (or galternatives) to set each individual alternative for java (and there are lots of them!), use update-java-alternatives. To see a list of the valid java alternatives, use "update-java-alternatives --list". To select the amd64 openjdk-7 java runtime environment, "update-java-alternatives --set java-1.7.0-openjdk-amd64".

If you are not sure whether your question has already been covered by the FAQ or not, you can use the search functions.

/msg dpkg listkeys to search the keys part of the database

/msg dpkg listvals to search within the values of all keys

For more information on dpkg commands see the (possibly outdated) Infobot Guide or the USAGE documentation.

There are times when the bot is experiencing network problems, for any number of reasons, and might be unavailable or offline. In instances like these, you can use the factoid database of backup bots.

These are the botnames of the backup bots, which operate just as dpkg does.

dselect ( /msg dselect keyword here ) This bot's factoid database is normally a daily snapshot of dpkg's and the bot normally only appears when someone notices dpkg has gone missing.

NOTE: The backup bots are not always online

There are times when none of the bots are online. In a situation like this, you can get all your factoid information from the following website.

This website's factoid database is updated daily. It provides a textbox control where you can enter search terms or queries including wildcards (*). It also allows you to search the factoid database like the bots do, that is, you can search by factoid name (key), or by the information contained in a particular factoid (value), or by the nickname of the author who contributed a certain factoid.

A nightly dump of the factoid database is available from Dumps from the last 18 days are also available.

See also: