I stumbled upon the following answer on Unix stackexchange, where the -plow option is used with dpkg-reconfigure, but I can't find anything about it in the dpkg or dpkg-reconfigure manpages:

So what does this option doing exactly? Smells like cargo-cult to me.

  • Helló :-) What is a cargo cult? :-)
    – peterh
    Commented May 9 at 18:44
  • Szia. It's a habit when people are copying something that serves no purpose because they don't understand what does that thing do. The term has an interesting origin: googlethatforyou.com?q=cargo%20cult Also worth looking up "cargo cult programming". Commented May 16 at 15:48
  • Thanks. Do you know, we are a cargo cult for the majority of the corporate/microsoft IT world?
    – peterh
    Commented May 16 at 16:03
  • yeah, pretty much. Commented May 17 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


From the manpage you linked for dpkg-reconfigure:

-pvalue, --priority=value
   Specify the minimum priority of question that will be displayed.  dpkg-reconfigure
   normally shows low priority questions no matter what your default priority is. See
   debconf(7) for a list.

And from man 7 debconf:

Another  nice feature of debconf is that the questions it asks you are prioritized. If you
don't want to be bothered about every little thing, you can set up debconf to only ask you
the most important questions.  On the other hand, if you are a control freak, you can make
it show you  all  questions.  Each  question  has  a  priority.  In  increasing  order  of

low    Very  trivial  questions  that have defaults that will work in the vast majority of

medium Normal questions that have reasonable defaults.

high   Questions that don't have a reasonable default.

       Questions that you really, really need to see (or else).

Only questions with a priority equal to or greater than the priority you  choose  will  be
shown  to  you. You can set the priority value by reconfiguring debconf, or temporarily by
passing  --priority=  followed  by  the  value  to  the  dpkg-reconfigure(8)   and   dpkg-
preconfigure(8) commands, or by setting the DEBIAN_PRIORITY environment variable.

So, -plow will show all questions, irrespective of whatever default might have been set elsewhere. That might be want you want (that's often what I want, when I run dpkg-reconfigure).


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