I would like to find all possible reverse dependencies (no need for recursive reverse dependencies) of a certain package p, that is, I want to find all packages which depend on p. This shall include reverse dependencies on p's source package and also reverse build dependencies.

If I understand it correctly, there are 4 types of reverse dependencies:

  1. r depends on p
  2. r depends on source package of p
  3. Building r requires p
  4. Building r requires the source package of p

I would like to find all of them.

For Debian, there is apt-rdepends -r but the manual says:

 apt-rdepends cannot do reverse build-dependencies.

For Ubuntu, there is reverse-depends, which seems to let me do what I want but it seems to be Ubuntu specific, as the manual pages states it is

Provided by: ubuntu-dev-tools_0.153_all

Are there reverse-depends-like tools which will work for non-Ubuntu distributions, especially those using deb and rpm packages?

2 Answers 2


In Debian and derivatives there are six types of dependencies:

  • pre-depends
  • depends
  • recommends
  • suggests
  • build-depends
  • build-depends-indep

Each of these give corresponding reverse dependencies. To list them you can use grep-dctrl:

grep-dctrl -FBuild-Depends mypackage -w -sPackage /var/lib/apt/lists/*Sources

will list all the packages which build-depend on mypackage, i.e. mypackage's non-recursive reverse build-dependencies.


Actually, despite the name, it's also available on Debian: https://tracker.debian.org/pkg/ubuntu-dev-tools

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