Chapter 3. Binary packages
Sometimes, a package requires another package to be installed and configured before it can be
installed. In this case, you must specify a
Pre Depends
entry for the package.
You should not specify a
Pre Depends
entry for a package before this has been discussed on
debian devel
mailing list and a consensus about doing that has been reached.
The format of the package interrelationship control fields is described in `Declaring relation 
ships between packages' on page
3.6 Virtual packages
Sometimes, there are several packages which offer more or less the same functionality. In this
case, it's useful to define a virtual package whose name describes that common functionality.
(The virtual packages only exist logically, not physically; that's why they are called virtual.) The
packages with this particular function will then provide the virtual package. Thus, any other
package requiring that function can simply depend on the virtual package without having to
specify all possible packages individually.
All packages should use virtual package names where appropriate, and arrange to create new
ones if necessary. They should not use virtual package names (except privately, amongst a
cooperating group of packages) unless they have been agreed upon and appear in the list of
virtual package names. (See also `Virtual packages  
' on page
The latest version of the authoritative list of virtual package names can be found
in the
debian policy
It is also available from the Debian web mir 
rors at
/doc/packaging manuals/virtual package names list.txt (
http:// manuals/virtual package names list.txt
The procedure for updating the list is described in the preface to the list.
3.7 Base system
base system
is a minimum subset of the Debian GNU/Linux system that is installed
before everything else on a new system. Thus, only very few packages are allowed to go into
section to keep the required disk usage very small.
Most of these packages will have the priority value
or at least
, and
many of them will be tagged
(see below).
3.8 Essential packages
Some packages are tagged
for a system using the
control file field.
The format of the
control field is described in `
' on page






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