We have a software project, which we release as a debian package. The project has a debian/ folder which contains files like changelog compat control copyright rules. We're creating debian packages with the command:

dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc -b --changes-option=-u./dist

which prints a stream of output. What we need to know, for the next step of the process, is the name of the .deb file created.

I know that debians have a predictable filename structure like [package name]_[version]_[architecture].deb but I don't have a way to get these parameters anyway.

There must be another dpkg command that can generate the would-be package name just from looking in the debian folder?

  • You'll find all you need here I think : debian-handbook
    – lazzio
    Apr 3, 2015 at 13:46
  • 1
    Afraid I can't see how to generate the filename from that chapter. Do you have a specific command in mind?
    – Tom Viner
    Apr 7, 2015 at 17:14

2 Answers 2


As you point out, the generated .deb files all share a common format: ${package}_${version}_${arch}.deb.

The package name comes from the Package: entries in debian/control; for a full build, one .deb file will be generated for every Package: entry. You can retrieve the values with

awk '/^Package:/ { print $2 }' debian/control

The version is based by default on the value given in debian/changelog; you can extract that with

dpkg-parsechangelog -S version

(It is possible for a build to specify a different version, but that is unusual.)

Finally, the architecture will be either all (for an Architecture: all package) or by default that of your build system (for any other Architecture:, typically Architecture: any). You can determine the architecture of your build system using

dpkg-architecture -qDEB_BUILD_ARCH

(Strictly speaking that should be -qDEB_HOST_ARCH, but in the general case BUILD and HOST are the same. I'm also ignoring cross-compilation here; if that's an issue use DEB_TARGET_ARCH instead of DEB_BUILD_ARCH.)

Thus for a fully generic solution you'd need to parse the control file to determine which package goes with which architecture; if your control file only builds one package that's not necessary.

dpkg-parsechangelog and dpkg-architecture are provided by the dpkg-dev package.

  • Seems weird there isn't a single command to do this in 1 step. But I'm grateful for your answer, and will try this out asap.
    – Tom Viner
    Apr 7, 2015 at 17:16
  • You're a star @stephen-kitt : $ echo "$(awk '/^Package:/ { print $2 }' debian/control)_$(dpkg-parsechangelog --show-field version)_$(dpkg-architecture -qDEB_BUILD_ARCH).deb" mypackage_3.8.2_amd64.deb
    – Tom Viner
    Apr 8, 2015 at 11:23
  • I actually found that my package filename took the Architecture: any from my control file. Where as a call to dpkg-architecture with no args reveals none of the DEB_XYZ vars contain any. The solution: awk '/^Architecture:/ { print $2 }' debian/control
    – Tom Viner
    Apr 9, 2015 at 11:33
  • 1
    That's odd, "Architecture: all" packages will end up with all as their package architecture, but "Architecture: any" should have their target architecture, not any... Apr 12, 2015 at 13:16
  • We like @stephen-kitt as his comments turn out to be correct.
    – Tom Viner
    Apr 15, 2015 at 14:44

This is dpkg-name:

$dpkg-name foo.deb
dpkg-name: info: moved 'foo.deb' to './feature-dev_1.4.177_armhf.deb'

Original name foo taken from DEBIAN/ directory parent

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