apt-file: Locate Missing Package Files
Ever had a source package fail to build due to a missing file? If so, apt-file, a tool that searches online repositories for a specific file, may be the answer.
Occasionally, when building a package from source, disaster strikes and the whole process grinds to a halt due to a missing file. Fortunately, this is increasingly uncommon due to the maturity of Linux package management and the ubiquity of Autoconf configuration scripts. However, some software projects don't use Autoconf, either because the maintainers prefer another solution such as CMake or because the program is too small to make setting up a configure script worthwhile.
Fortunately, on the rare occasions when this problem does crop up, there may be a solution in the form of apt-file: a member of the APT family of package management tools. This utility assembles an index of all of the files stored in the online repositories that your distribution is configured to use and allows you to search for individual files.
Case example: recently, I decided to check out KBackup, a KDE backup management utility that isn't currently in the Ubuntu repository. Following the instructions, I ran the CMake build tool, only to be disappointed when the build process stopped with a notice that it couldn't find a file called “FindKDE4Internal.cmake”.
To solve the problem, I installed apt-file via the command line:
sudo apt-get install apt-file
After installation, apt-file's internal index needs to be populated with the following command:
This process takes a minute or so to complete, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Once the index was up to date, I searched for the missing file:
apt-file search FindKDE4Internal.cmake
and apt-file gave me a single line of output that told me everything I needed to know:
In other words, the file I needed was in the package “kdelibs5-dev”, which I installed from the command line:
sudo apt-get install kdelibs5-dev
After this, I was able to continue and complete the normal install procedure.
Note: if you do find an oversight in a source package that necessitates the use of apt-file in this way, even after a successful run of an Autoconf configure script, please consider telling the developers about it.
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.
Getting Started with DevOps - Including New Data on IT Performance from Puppet Labs 2015 State of DevOps Report
August 27, 2015
12:00 PM CDT
DevOps represents a profound change from the way most IT departments have traditionally worked: from siloed teams and high-anxiety releases to everyone collaborating on uneventful and more frequent releases of higher-quality code. It doesn't matter how large or small an organization is, or even whether it's historically slow moving or risk averse — there are ways to adopt DevOps sanely, and get measurable results in just weeks.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Hacking a Safe with Bash
- Django Models and Migrations
- Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory, Part II
- The Controversy Behind Canonical's Intellectual Property Policy
- Huge Package Overhaul for Debian and Ubuntu
- Home Automation with Raspberry Pi
- Shashlik - a Tasty New Android Simulator
- Embed Linux in Monitoring and Control Systems
- KDE Reveals Plasma Mobile
- diff -u: What's New in Kernel Development