List Files Installed by a Package with dpkg

November 24, 2021

The command dpkg has many uses beyond installing and removing .deb files. This includes finding out what files were added to your system when you installed a package, as well as showing what package installed a given file.

One use case that I came across recently was trying to install the zsh keybindings from the fzf package. They were not enabled by default. On OS X, there is an install script that you can run to install the keybindings in your shell, but I couldn't find if that file existed in the Ubuntu version.

List Files Installed by a Package

dpkg -L lets you see what files a package installed on your system, whether installed directly from a .deb file or installed via apt.

dpkg -L fzf ## /. ## /usr ## /usr/bin ## /usr/bin/fzf ## /usr/bin/fzf-tmux ## /usr/share ## /usr/share/doc ## /usr/share/doc/fzf ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/README.Debian ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/changelog.Debian.gz ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/copyright ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/completion.bash ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/completion.zsh ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/fzf.vim ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/key-bindings.bash ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/key-bindings.fish ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/key-bindings.zsh ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/plugin ## /usr/share/fish ## /usr/share/fish/vendor_functions.d ## /usr/share/fish/vendor_functions.d/fzf_key_bindings.fish ## /usr/share/man ## /usr/share/man/man1 ## /usr/share/man/man1/fzf-tmux.1.gz ## /usr/share/man/man1/fzf.1.gz ## /usr/share/doc/fzf/examples/plugin/fzf.vim

This command (dpkg -L package-name) will "[l]ist files installed to your system from package-name." As you can see, this shows not only the binaries that were installed (fzf and fzf-tmux), but a number of other files, as well.

The files I was looking for were completion.zsh and key-bindings.zsh--I was able to source these in my .zshrc file, and now I have the full fzf functionality enabled.

Which Package Installed a File

A complementary command is dpkg -S, which will search for a given pattern and tell you what package(s) installed the matching file(s). For example:

dpkg -S /usr/share/zsh/vendor-completions/_rg ## ripgrep: /usr/share/zsh/vendor-completions/_rg

By giving the full path to the file, I get the results for just that one file. I can see that the ripgrep package installed that _rg file.

I can also give a pattern to see what packages installed all files matching that pattern:

dpkg -S vendor-completions | sort | head -n 4 ## curl: /usr/share/zsh/vendor-completions/_curl ## docker-ce-cli: /usr/share/zsh/vendor-completions/_docker ## docker-compose: /usr/share/zsh/vendor-completions/_docker-compose ## flatpak: /usr/share/zsh/vendor-completions/_flatpak