This list (probably non-exhaustive) tries to track software that handles .deb files directly, and their level of support for the deb format.

Some of these should ideally be switched to use one of the existing libraries or modules that implement deb support, so that whenever there's a change in the format we don't need to hunt and modify a ton of packages. Others handle .deb files directly only as a fallback whenever dpkg-deb is not available, which makes them somewhat more resilient to format changes.

The current support seems quite bleak, and part of the blame goes to dpkg for not providing better interfaces for others to use, hopefully that will be remedied soon.

Support table

Sorted somewhat by position on the stack and/or order of importance. Missing support information includes: R/W, tar formats, validation.

Software

fallback 1

LFS 2

ar slash 3

control.tar.xz

control.tar

data.tar.bz2

data.tar

data.tar.lzma

data.tar.xz

_ members 4

extra members 5

dpkg

{*}

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

ar + tar + compressor

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

apt 718329

<!>

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

python-apt 718330

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

lintian 718331

<!>

(./)

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

(./)

(./)

{X}

{X}

dak

<!>

(./)

?

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

<!>

(./)

{X}

{X}

Debian Archive

<!>

?

?

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

<!>

(./)

<!>

<!>

Ubuntu Archive

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

(./)

(./)

<!>

<!>

debdelta

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

?

(./)

(./)

?

?

debootstrap 739136

(./)

/!\ {2}

(./)

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

(./)

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

(./)

(./)

(./)

cdebootstrap

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

<!>

(./)

(./)

(./)

udpkg 739411

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

<!>

<!>

<!>

(./)

(./)

(./)

busybox

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

/!\

{X}

(./)

(./)

reprepro

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

alien 718364

(./)

/!\ {2}

(./)

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

/!\ {2}

(./)

(./)

deb-gview 718386

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

{X}

(./)

<!>

(./)

{X}

(./)

debsig-verify

<!>

{X}

(./)

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

debsigs

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

dpkg-sig 356509 703437

<!>

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

python-debian 718355

<!>

(./)

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

ruby-debian 718389

<!>

(./)

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

apt-zip 718376

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

{X}

{X}

{X}

{X}

<!>

{X}

(./)

(./)

emacs-goodies-el 718388

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

{X}

<!>

(./)

(./)

(./)

vim-scripts

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

zeroinstall-injector

<!>

{X} {1}

(./)

{X}

{X}

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

(./)

fossology

?

?

?

{X}

{X}

?

?

?

{X}

?

?

dedup.debian.net

<!>

(./)

{X}

{X}

{X}

(./)

(./)

<!>

(./)

(./)

(./)

Legend

  1. fallback to direct access only if dpkg-deb is missing (1)

  2. ar members or tar file entries larger than 4 GiB (2)

  3. ar members name with trailing slash (3)

  4. ar members prefixed with _ before control.tar or data.tar members (4)

  5. ar members appended at the end (5)