Since RPM 4.7, there has been the ability to specify that a file in an RPM package should be installed with capabilities set (via %caps).

Is there a similar feature for Debian packages?

  • Bob - Braiam removed those tags, I'd recommend making this 2 Q's which is where I think he was trying to direct you. Don't just blindly roll back a edit, ask if you're not sure why someone did something.
    – slm
    Sep 19, 2014 at 15:25
  • @slm: Aha, ok I didn't see the point. Thanks Sep 19, 2014 at 15:25
  • Feels awfully close to a duplicate question, though, since cpack can generate RPM and DEB packages. Sep 19, 2014 at 15:30
  • It's OK, I'm blessing you to do this. I like these 2 topics as separate since you're more likely to get an answer to this one here, the other one maybe. 8-). BTW you can call out this Q in the other one if that makes you feel better to maintain a relationship w/ each other.
    – slm
    Sep 19, 2014 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


Sadly, no. There isn't a way to make dpkg use file capabilities, and apparently nobody has ever asked, though the library itself is available.

I skimmed through the Debian Policy Manual, and there isn't a single entry that reference this feature. That said, you can use dh_override_install (if you use debhelper), pre/post maintainer scripts or modifying the debian/rules file to reproduce this behavior, but I don't see any obviously easy way to implement it.

  • This is why I was asking about cmake/cpack. I was hoping for a way to do this in my cpack rules that would work for both RPM and DEB. If I do it in maintainer scripts I have to do it twice, or at least arrange for the same maintainer script to be used by both package types. I'll file a bug, thanks. By the way, I couldn't find any mention of this in any RPM documentation either, other than the release notes referenced above. So perhaps the Debian Policy Manual is similarly not definitive. Sep 19, 2014 at 16:31
  • @BobDoolittle actually the Debian Policy Manual is definitive. Everything has to be done as the Policy says or may not be included in Debian (it could be even removed), and there are tools that verify this (lintian), but that doesn't mean that it can't be updated. I would add the link to the bug report so people can keep track of it.
    – Braiam
    Sep 19, 2014 at 16:37
  • Interesting. This may not be the best place for it (in which case somebody can comment/suggest a better one), but I filed a bug on this issue here: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/software-center/+bug/1371695 Sep 19, 2014 at 16:56
  • @BobDoolittle I would report this upstream (Debian) since Canonical just import upstream policies and barely implement feature requests (unless is enabling a flag).
    – Braiam
    Sep 19, 2014 at 23:11
  • That's a good point. Canonical is OK for bug fixes, but not the right place for what is more of a feature request. I'll try debian.org/Bugs Sep 19, 2014 at 23:56

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