Debian Package Search?

Search page for Debian

Originally uploaded by eidolon

Seems like a simple request. I’d like to search the Debian packages to find out information about something I want to install. “Oh wait, I can just use the site to look at the package and it’s history.” Hah, how naive I was.

Off to said site I go, I click on search and see… debian search disabled. I can use google, though!

“Wait, I remember this being disabled ages ago. They still haven’t fixed it?” – The text even still says ‘disabled for now, we’re working on it.’ But down at the bottom “Last modified: Mon, Dec 30 03:27:07 UTC 2002”

Boy I want that job. 5 years to make a search work. And it’s still not done yet!

Well, gee. Lets see if the google search they have there is working. Maybe they have it functional, and updating the comment has just slipped their mind. Type in the package I’m looking for (happens to be ‘ytnef’), and click *google search*

And get… a weekly news report in 18 different languages from 2005, which, luckily, includes a link to the package I wanted. If this package hadn’t been mentioned in the news article, I’d never have found it.

Come on Debian. No one in the entire volunteer organization can edit one HTML file?


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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4 thoughts on “Debian Package Search?

  1. Ahhh, I didn’t even notice there was a search below on the page. I was clicking on the {Search} button on the toolbar at the top.
    Actually, the best search mechanism seems to be url based. Just go ‘’ and it shows the distros it’s in.
    Still need to fix / update the search page tho :-/

  2. I knew about apt-cache search – but for some reason I have a mental block on ‘apt-cache show’ – which apparently summarizes the package and description. Was the ‘show’ always functional? I remember being grumpy about not being able to look up package information via the command line, but that could easily be a carry over from a bad APT experience 4 years ago. 🙂

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