Package search by file and on-demand package installation Using auto-apt

auto-apt is a program that checks file access of programs running within auto-apt environments. If a program will access a file of uninstalled package, auto-apt will install the package containing the file, by using apt-get.

Install auto-apt in debian

#apt-get install auto-apt

Install auto-apt in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install auto-apt

auto-apt Syntax

auto-apt [options] command [arg …]

Available Options


run – Enter auto-apt environment run [command [cmdarg]]
update – Retrieve new lists of Contents (available file list) update
updatedb – Regenerate lists of Contents (available file list, no download) updatedb
update-local – Generate installed file lists update-local
merge – Merge lists of Contents merge
del – Delete package list del package
check – Check which package will provide the filename heck [-v] [-f] filename
list – List filelist in dbfile list [-v] [-f]
search – Search package by filename (grep) search [-v] [-f] pattern
debuild – debuild with auto-apt useful to get build-depends
status – Report current environments (auto-apt or not)

For some commands, command name with -local suffix, it will use pkgfiles.db, which is created by update-local command, instead of pkgcontents.db


[-s] [-y] [-q] [-i] [-x] [-X]
[-a dists] [-p hooks]
[-D pkgcontents.bin] [-F pkgfiles.bin] [-L detect.list]


You’re compiling a program and, all of a sudden there’s an error because it needs a .h file you don’t have. The program auto-apt can save you from such scenarios. It asks you to install packages if they’re needed, stopping the relevant process and continuing once the package is installed.

What you do, basically, is run

# auto-apt run command

Where `command’ is the command to be executed that may need some unavailable file. For example

# auto-apt run ./configure

It will then ask to install the needed packages and call apt-get automatically. If you’re running X, a graphical interface will replace the default text interface.

Auto-apt keeps databases which need to be kept up-to-date in order for it to be effective. This is achieved by calling the following commands .

#auto-apt update

#auto-apt updatedb

#auto-apt update-local

For more information and options available foe auto-apt check man page

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