[debian] apt command to search which packages that provide certain file/library

Suppose you want to compile an application that need some library file such as libcurl.so but you don’t know the exact packages name. Sure, you can guess by using apt-cache search but the result might not be pleasant. (apt-cache search result when combined with file name will –usally– return empty result).
Here, I’ll show you other alternative to apt-cache search to search packages name who provide certain files/libraries.

  • Install apt-file package:


apt-get install apt-file
  • before using apt-file, you should update the database first (you need internet connection to do this):
apt-file update
  • wait until all package databases from repository downloaded. Now you can use it:
apt-file --package-only search libcurl.so

that command will search which packages from repository that provide libcurl.so file. Use –package-only to only package name, without this option, the result will also include file name and directory name inside packages (which –in my opinion– quite distracting). Oh, almost forgot, apt-file can be used by non-root users.
man apt-file for more complete usage!

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