Installing Debian packages with debtags

You can make searches for package(s) through apt-cache and other GUI related tools. Debtags provides a different way to do the same kind of job : debtags

To install it :

root@localhost:~#apt-get install debtags

To populate the debtags database with the latest up-to-date data, you should remove the “#” at the line beginning with “tags”.  You can launch the database update :

root@localhost:~# debtags update

Most of the packages available in the Debian repositories have tags inside their description. See below what an apt-cache show provides as information for the vim package.

root@localhost:~# apt-cache show vim
Package: vim
Priority: optional
Section: editors
Installed-Size: 1744
Maintainer: Debian Vim Maintainers <>
Architecture: amd64
Version: 2:7.2.445+hg~cb94c42c0e1a-1
Provides: editor
Depends: vim-common (= 2:7.2.445+hg~cb94c42c0e1a-1), vim-runtime (= 2:7.2.445+hg~cb94c42c0e1a-1), libacl1 (>= 2.2.11-1), libc6 (>= 2.7), libgpm2 (>= 1.20.4), libncurses5 (>= 5.7+20100313), libselinux1 (>= 1.32)
Suggests: ctags, vim-doc, vim-scripts
Filename: pool/main/v/vim/vim_7.2.445+hg~cb94c42c0e1a-1_amd64.deb
Size: 915008
MD5sum: dab2644b07e8dea570fc020d59f69d41
SHA1: 8314d6388d378a8994e94d224255ef5b447851a8
SHA256: 22c28c136a0c761cdc19a299b7cd9b8adb00e9de7e66b787c945f2104cfdba9d
Description: Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor
Vim is an almost compatible version of the UNIX editor Vi.
Many new features have been added: multi level undo, syntax
highlighting, command line history, on-line help, filename
completion, block operations, folding, Unicode support, etc.
This package contains a version of vim compiled with a rather
standard set of features.  This package does not provide a GUI
version of Vim.  See the other vim-* packages if you need more
(or less).
Tag: devel::editor, implemented-in::c, interface::text-mode, role::program, scope::application, uitoolkit::ncurses, use::editing, works-with::text, works-with::unicode

Here is a couple of commands to deal with this kind of search. You do not need to be root to run these commands.

fool@localhost:~$ debtags show vim

With this command above, you get all the tags within the vim package. This is similar to apt-cache show.

If you want to list all the packages available in the repositories with the “devel::editor” tag :

fool@localhost:~$ debtags search devel::editor

cream – VIM macros that make the VIM easier to use for beginners
csstidy – CSS parser and optimiser
drpython – simple and customizable editor for the Python language
eclipse-jdt – Eclipse Java Development Tools (JDT)
editra – simple multi-platform text editor
eieio – Enhanced Implementation of Emacs Interpreted Objects
elvis – powerful clone of the vi/ex text editor (with X11 support)
elvis-common – common files for elvis, elvis-console and elvis-tools
elvis-console – powerful clone of the vi/ex text editor (without X11 support)
elvis-tiny – Tiny vi compatible editor for the base system
elvis-tools – text editing tools for programmers (elvfmt, elvtags, ref)
emacs – The GNU Emacs editor (metapackage)
emacs-goodies-el – Miscellaneous add-ons for Emacs
emacs-intl-fonts – Fonts to allow multi-lingual PostScript printing from Emacs
emacs23 – The GNU Emacs editor (with GTK+ user interface)
emacs23-bin-common – The GNU Emacs editor’s shared, architecture dependent files
emacs23-common – The GNU Emacs editor’s shared, architecture independent infrastructure
emacs23-nox – The GNU Emacs editor (without X support)
emacsen-common – Common facilities for all emacsen
eric – full featured Python IDE
fte – Text editor for programmers – base package
fte-console – Text editor for programmers – console edition, no I18N support
fte-docs – Documentation and examples for the FTE editor
fte-terminal – Text editor for programmers – version for terminals
fte-xwindow – Text editor for programmers – X Window System edition with I18N support
gphpedit – development environment for PHP/HTML/CSS
haskell-mode – A major mode for editing Haskell in Emacs
infon-devel – Develop bots for the infon game
jed – editor for programmers (textmode version)
jed-common – S-Lang runtime files for jed and xjed
jed-extra – collection of useful Jed modes and utilities
jove – Jonathan’s Own Version of Emacs – a compact, powerful editor
js2-mode – Emacs mode for editing Javascript programs
jvim-canna – Japanized VIM (Canna version)
kate – K Advanced Text Editor
kobby – Collaborative text editor for KDE
kwrite – simple graphical text editor
lpe – Lightweight Programmer’s Editor
medit – A useful programming and around-programming text editor
monodevelop – Development Environment for GNOME
monodevelop-java – Java plugin for MonoDevelop
nvi – 4.4BSD re-implementation of vi
padre – Perl Application Development and Refactoring Environment
pida – Python Integrated Development Application, a Python IDE
plt-scheme – PLT Scheme Programming Environment – Simple IDE for GNUstep
pype – Python programmers editor
pyragua – Very lightweight Python editor
rkward – a KDE frontend to the R statistics language
scite – Lightweight GTK-based Programming Editor
vigor – nvi with the evil paperclip
vile – VI Like Emacs – vi work-alike
vile-common – VI Like Emacs – support files for vile/xvile
vile-filters – VI Like Emacs – highlighting filters for vile/xvile
vim – Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor
vim-common – Vi IMproved – Common files
vim-gnome – Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor – with GNOME2 GUI
vim-gtk – Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor – with GTK2 GUI
vim-latexsuite – view, edit and compile LaTeX documents from within Vim
vim-lesstif – Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor – with LessTif GUI
vim-nox – Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor
vim-runtime – Vi IMproved – Runtime files
vim-scripts – plugins for vim, adding bells and whistles
vim-tiny – Vi IMproved – enhanced vi editor – compact version
vim-vimoutliner – script for building an outline editor on top of Vim
vimhelp-de – Vi IMproved – Documentation files (German translation)
wily – A work-alike of the Acme programming environment for Plan 9
wims – server for educative contents as courses, exercises, exams
xemacs21 – highly customizable text editor
xemacs21-basesupport – Editor and kitchen sink — compiled elisp support files
xemacs21-basesupport-el – Editor and kitchen sink — source elisp support files
xemacs21-bin – highly customizable text editor — support binaries
xemacs21-gnome-mule – highly customizable text editor — transitional package
xemacs21-gnome-mule-canna-wnn – highly customizable text editor — transitional package
xemacs21-gnome-nomule – highly customizable text editor — transitional package
xemacs21-mule – highly customizable text editor — Mule binary
xemacs21-mule-canna-wnn – highly customizable text editor — Mule binary compiled with Canna and Wnn
xemacs21-mulesupport – Editor and kitchen sink — Mule elisp support files
xemacs21-mulesupport-el – Editor and kitchen sink — source elisp support files
xemacs21-nomule – highly customizable text editor — Non-mule binary
xemacs21-support – highly customizable text editor — architecture independent support files
xemacs21-supportel – highly customizable text editor — non-required library files
xjed – editor for programmers (x11 version)
xvile – VI Like Emacs – vi work-alike (X11)

Then, you can install one of them with the apt-get program.

To find which tags have been created for a particular subject :

fool@localhost:~$debtags tagsearch perl

devel::lang:perl – Perl Development
implemented-in::perl – Perl

More info in the debtags manpage : man (1) debtags


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