This comes partially from What Is The Difference Between A Recursive Dependency Check And A Reverse Dependency Check?

I am still a bit confused so maybe somebody can make it clearer.

AFAIK, any package in Debian could be used in one of two ways:

  • Runtime dependency - Runtime dependency means you cannot run a particular software as long as its runtime dependencies are not satisfied.
  • Build-time dependencies, I guess this might be the same as the above runtime dependencies or something different?

1 Answer 1


Build-time would be what is needed to build the software, either in libraries (building a GTK "hello world"? you need libgtk-dev or whatever for the includes and then the libgtk libs as run-time dependencies too) OR in utilities ie you need some specific parser/generator/utility installed that is called during the configure/build process, like the ncurses -dev packages when you want to use make menuconfig to configure a Linux kernel.

I would bet that after you install the build-essential package that MOST of your build-time dependencies would be in the form of various source files, mostly headers/includes to use various libraries in addition to the standard C(++) library stuff.

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