deb822(5) — Linux manual page


deb822(5)                      dpkg suite                      deb822(5)

NAME         top

       deb822 - Debian RFC822 control data format

DESCRIPTION         top

       The package management system manipulates data represented in a
       common format, known as control data, stored in control files.
       Control files are used for source packages, binary packages and
       the .changes files which control the installation of uploaded
       files (dpkg's internal databases are in a similar format).

SYNTAX         top

       A control file consists of one or more paragraphs of fields (the
       paragraphs are also sometimes referred to as stanzas).  The
       paragraphs are separated by empty lines.  Parsers may accept
       lines consisting solely of U+0020 SPACE and U+0009 TAB as
       paragraph separators, but control files should use empty lines.
       Some control files allow only one paragraph; others allow
       several, in which case each paragraph usually refers to a
       different package.  (For example, in source packages, the first
       paragraph refers to the source package, and later paragraphs
       refer to binary packages generated from the source.)  The
       ordering of the paragraphs in control files is significant.

       Each paragraph consists of a series of data fields.  Each field
       consists of the field name followed by a colon (U+003A ‘:’), and
       then the data/value associated with that field.  The field name
       is composed of US-ASCII characters excluding control characters,
       space, and colon (i.e., characters in the ranges U+0021 ‘!’
       through U+0039 ‘9’, and U+003B ‘;’ through U+007E ‘~’,
       inclusive).  Field names must not begin with the comment
       character (U+0023 ‘#’), nor with the hyphen character (U+002D

       The field ends at the end of the line or at the end of the last
       continuation line (see below).  Horizontal whitespace (U+0020
       SPACE and U+0009 TAB) may occur immediately before or after the
       value and is ignored there; it is conventional to put a single
       space after the colon.  For example, a field might be:
              Package: dpkg
       the field name is Package and the field value dpkg.

       Empty field values are only permitted in source package control
       files (debian/control).  Such fields are ignored.

       A paragraph must not contain more than one instance of a
       particular field name.

       There are three types of fields:

       simple The field, including its value, must be a single line.
              Folding of the field is not permitted.  This is the
              default field type if the definition of the field does not
              specify a different type.

       folded The value of a folded field is a logical line that may
              span several lines.  The lines after the first are called
              continuation lines and must start with a U+0020 SPACE or a
              U+0009 TAB.  Whitespace, including any newlines, is not
              significant in the field values of folded fields.

              This folding method is similar to RFC5322, allowing
              control files that contain only one paragraph and no
              multiline fields to be read by parsers written for

              The value of a multiline field may comprise multiple
              continuation lines.  The first line of the value, the part
              on the same line as the field name, often has special
              significance or may have to be empty.  Other lines are
              added following the same syntax as the continuation lines
              of the folded fields.  Whitespace, including newlines, is
              significant in the values of multiline fields.

       Whitespace must not appear inside names (of packages,
       architectures, files or anything else) or version numbers, or
       between the characters of multi-character version relationships.

       The presence and purpose of a field, and the syntax of its value
       may differ between types of control files.

       Field names are not case-sensitive, but it is usual to capitalize
       the field names using mixed case as shown below.  Field values
       are case-sensitive unless the description of the field says

       Paragraph separators (empty lines) and lines consisting only of
       U+0020 SPACE and U+0009 TAB, are not allowed within field values
       or between fields.  Empty lines in field values are usually
       escaped by representing them by a U+0020 SPACE followed by a dot
       (U+002E ‘.’).

       Lines starting with U+0023 ‘#’, without any preceding whitespace
       are comments lines that are only permitted in source package
       control files (debian/control) and in deb-origin(5) files.  These
       comment lines are ignored, even between two continuation lines.
       They do not end logical lines.

       All control files must be encoded in UTF-8.

SEE ALSO         top

       RFC822, RFC5322.

COLOPHON         top

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       for this manual page, see
       ⟨⟩.  This
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1.19.6-2-g6e42d5               2019-03-25                      deb822(5)