Tutorials or forum posts often refer to packages which are obsolete, or have been replaced.
While I can find easily ways to check if a package is available for my current linux version (e.g. using apt-cache search), I wonder if there is a place listing known packages, and their current developpement/maintainance status.

Does this exist ? Is it conceptually considered "impossible" or "irrelevant", since a package maintenance can be temporarly discontinued, but can sometime be revived by someone else, or forked ?

I'm focusing on debian depots, so, if something exists, but is of course "not fully accurate", it would probably be enough.

EDIT : after some more googling, I found back https://www.debian.org/distrib/packages, but I confirm it's not exactly what I expect. A search with no filters tells you on which versions a package can be found, but it doesn't give much more informations, like

  • Is the package planned to be release on version ###
  • Is the package discontinued for some reason
  • Is the package replaced by another

A place with such informations would be really great.

3 Answers 3


If you see that the package is available in the testing distribution, then you can assume that it is planned to be released in the next release, as testing is what will become the next stable release.

Another clue is to check who the maintainer is. If it's the Debian QA team, then it probably does not get the TLA it should.

apt-cache showpkg packagename may also give some additional info, e.g. the "Reverse Provides:" part show what other packages "provide" this package, meaning that you could perhaps use another package instead of this one.

  • Looks quite interresting, indeed, but not fully clear to me. E.g. I tried to install libapache2-mod-auth-mysql on Jessie, and it's not found (it was, on the previous stable, Wheezy) apt-cache showpkg libapache2-mod-auth-mysql tells me about a lot of reverse : Reverse Depends: apache2.2-common,libapache2-mod-auth-mysql 4.3.9-13.1+deb8 Those reverse were not on Wheezy, so I assume the package has been included in apache by default ? While this seems very informative, and may be the best possible answer, a lot of assumptions still seem necessary
    – Balmipour
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 11:55
  • 1
    Your problem is related to the apache 2.2 to 2.4 upgrade and not so much whether a package is maintained or not; httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/upgrading.html and httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/howto/auth.html might be more useful in your specific case.
    – wurtel
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 12:03

This is the list of orphaned packages (i.e. packages without maintainers): https://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/orphaned_byage


Debian sometimes pretends a maintained package by fixing typos from time to time to create the impression of an active package.

You need to check whether there are active bugs that have not been fixed within a reasonable amount of time.

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