Linux Basics: How To Check If A Package Is Installed Or Not In Ubuntu

If you’re managing Debian or Ubuntu servers, probably, you may use dpkg or apt-get commands often. These two commands are used to install, remove, update packages.

In this brief tutorial, let us see how to check if a package is installed or not in DEB based systems.

To check whether a particular package for example firefox, is installed or not using command:

dpkg -s firefox

Sample output:

 Package: firefox
 Status: install ok installed
 Priority: optional
 Section: web
 Installed-Size: 93339
 Maintainer: Ubuntu Mozilla Team <[email protected]>
 Architecture: amd64
 Version: 35.0+build3-0ubuntu0.14.04.2
 Replaces: kubuntu-firefox-installer
 Provides: gnome-www-browser, iceweasel, www-browser
 Depends: lsb-release, libasound2 (>= 1.0.16), libatk1.0-0 (>= 1.12.4), libc6 (>= 2.17), libcairo2 (>= 1.2.4), libdbus-1-3 (>= 1.0.2), libdbus-glib-1-2 (>= 0.78), libfontconfig1 (>= 2.9.0), libfreetype6 (>= 2.2.1), libgcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1), libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0 (>= 2.22.0), libglib2.0-0 (>= 2.37.3), libgtk2.0-0 (>= 2.24.0), libpango-1.0-0 (>= 1.22.0), libpangocairo-1.0-0 (>= 1.14.0), libstartup-notification0 (>= 0.8), libstdc++6 (>= 4.6), libx11-6, libxcomposite1 (>= 1:0.3-1), libxdamage1 (>= 1:1.1), libxext6, libxfixes3, libxrender1, libxt6
 Recommends: xul-ext-ubufox, libcanberra0, libdbusmenu-glib4, libdbusmenu-gtk4
 Suggests: ttf-lyx
 /etc/firefox/syspref.js 09e457e65435a1a043521f2bd19cd2a1
 /etc/apport/blacklist.d/firefox ee63264f847e671832d42255912ce144
 /etc/apport/native-origins.d/firefox 7c26b75c7c2b715c89cc6d85338252a4
 /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.firefox f54f7a43361c7ecfa3874abca2f292cf
 Description: Safe and easy web browser from Mozilla
 Firefox delivers safe, easy web browsing. A familiar user interface,
 enhanced security features including protection from online identity theft,
 and integrated search let you get the most out of the web.
 Xul-Appid: {ec8030f7-c20a-464f-9b0e-13a3a9e97384}

As you see in the above output, the firefox is installed.

Also, you can do the same using dpkg-query command. This command displays the decent output, and ofcourse, you can wild cards too.

dpkg-query -l firefox

Sample output:

| Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name                                 Version                 Architecture            Description
ii  firefox                              35.0+build3-0ubuntu0.14 amd64                   Safe and easy web browser from Mozilla

To list all installed package in your system, enter the following command

dpkg --get-selections

Sample output:

abiword                        install
abiword-common                    install
accountsservice                    install
acl                        install
adduser                        install
alsa-base                    install
alsa-utils                    install
anacron                        install
app-install-data                install
apparmor                    install
zeitgeist                    install
zeitgeist-core                    install
zeitgeist-datahub                install
zenity                        install
zenity-common                    install
zip                        install
zlib1g:amd64                    install
zlib1g:i386                    install

The above might be very long depending upon the number of packages you have installed on your system.

You can also filter through grep to get results for the exact package you need. For example, I want to see which gcc packages are already installed on my system using dpkg command:

dpkg --get-selections | grep gcc

Sample output:

gcc                        install
gcc-4.8                        install
gcc-4.8-base:amd64                install
gcc-4.8-base:i386                install
gcc-4.9-base:amd64                install
gcc-4.9-base:i386                install
libgcc-4.8-dev:amd64                install
libgcc1:amd64                    install
libgcc1:i386                    install

Additionally, you can find location of the files within a package using the parameter “-L”.

dpkg -L gcc-4.8

Sample output:


That’s all for now. Hope this short tutorial will useful for you.

Good day!