I don't understand the difference between these two lines in my sources.list, please explain:

deb http://mirror.optus.net/debian/ testing main contrib non-free


deb-src http://mirror.optus.net/debian/ testing main contrib non-free

System: Debian 6 testing, 32 bit.

1 Answer 1


deb lines are relative to binary packages, that you can install with apt.

deb-src lines are relative to source packages (as downloaded by apt-get source $package) and next compiled.

Source packages are needed only if you want to compile some package yourself, or inspect the source code for a bug. Ordinary users don't need to include such repositories.

  • 2
    So if I only ever install packages by Synaptic or apt-get install, I only need the first line, deb... and not deb-src...?
    – ptrcao
    Sep 11, 2011 at 13:51
  • 2
    @ptrcao: correct
    – enzotib
    Sep 11, 2011 at 13:52
  • 8
    Unless you want to manually compile packages (not nearly as beneficial as gentoo users like to think) or explicitly modify a few source files before compiling to suit your specific system's needs, you're fine with just the deb ... lines.
    – Shadur
    Sep 12, 2011 at 6:59

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