Let's say I have an installed, working and up-to-date system, and want to verify that all package-installed files on it are the same as those packaged by the respective package maintainer.

In effect, I want a list of files that are somehow different between what I have installed "now" and what I would get if I were to reinstall using the same set of packages on a blank system. Short of actually reinstalling and comparing the outcome, how would I generate such a list of files?

I realize that some differences (configuration files, for example) are to be expected, but that's okay.

I'm primarily interested in Debian Wheezy, but a good answer would explore a solution that works with any reasonably modern Linux distribution based around the same package management infrastructure (apt, dpkg and friends).


One way to accomplish this is to use the command debsums.

$ debsums <package>


$ debsums xz-utils
/usr/bin/lzmainfo                                                             OK
/usr/bin/xz                                                                   OK
/usr/bin/xzdiff                                                               OK
/usr/bin/xzgrep                                                               OK
/usr/bin/xzless                                                               OK
/usr/bin/xzmore                                                               OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/NEWS.Debian.gz                                        OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/README.Debian                                         OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/README.gz                                             OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/copyright                                             OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/extra/7z2lzma/7z2lzma.bash                            OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/extra/scanlzma/scanlzma.c                             OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/faq.txt.gz                                            OK
/usr/share/doc/xz-utils/history.txt.gz                                        OK
/usr/share/man/man1/lzmainfo.1.gz                                             OK
/usr/share/man/man1/xz.1.gz                                                   OK
/usr/share/man/man1/xzdiff.1.gz                                               OK
/usr/share/man/man1/xzgrep.1.gz                                               OK
/usr/share/man/man1/xzless.1.gz                                               OK
/usr/share/man/man1/xzmore.1.gz                                               OK
  • 1
    Not precisely what I was hoping for because not all files actually have stored checksums, but this does seem to get me reasonably close at least: dpkg -l | awk '/^ii/ { print $2 }' | xargs debsums | grep -vE 'OK$' It's worth noting that debsums reads locally stored checksums; that is not a problem if you're only concerned about accidental corruption, but potentially a problem if you're concerned about an active, intelligent attacker. – user Jun 1 '14 at 14:33
  • @MichaelKjörling - I did not research further but would be very surprised if dpkg didn't offer a facility to do this too. In my cursory searches I did not turn up anything though. RPM does offer a check and as is the case both RPM and dpkg generally are on par with each other. – slm Jun 1 '14 at 14:37

You can use

dpkg -V <package>

I test it and it works also on configuraton files.

After modifying /etc/iceweasel/profile/bookmarks.html and running dpkg -V iceweasel, I obtain the following output

??5?????? c /etc/iceweasel/profile/bookmarks.html

Note that only modified files are displayed and according to the dpkg man page, the output format is similar to rpm.

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