Chapter 5. Control files and their fields
Those starting with two or more spaces. These will be displayed verbatim. If the display
cannot be panned horizontally, the displaying program will line wrap them hard (i.e.,
without taking account of word breaks). If it can they will be allowed to trail off to
the right. None, one or two initial spaces may be deleted, but the number of spaces
deleted from each line will be the same (so that you can have indenting work correctly,
Those containing a single space followed by a single full stop character. These are ren
dered as blank lines. This is the only way to get a blank line
Those containing a space, a full stop and some more characters. These are for future
expansion. Do not use them.
Do not use tab characters. Their effect is not predictable.
See `The description of a package' on page
for further information on this.
field contains a summary of the descriptions for the
packages being uploaded.
The part of the field before the first newline is empty; thereafter each line has the name of
a binary package and the summary description line from that binary package. Each line is
indented by one space.
file or parsed changelog output this contains the (space separated) name(s) of
the distribution(s) where this version of the package should be installed. Valid distributions
are determined by the archive maintainers.
Completely empty lines will not be rendered as blank lines. Instead, they will cause the parser to think you're
starting a whole new record in the control file, and will therefore likely abort with an error.
Current distribution names are:
stable This is the current released version of Debian GNU/Linux. Once the distribution is stable only security
fixes and other major bug fixes are allowed. When changes are made to this distribution, the release number
is increased (for example: 2.2r1 becomes 2.2r2 then 2.2r3, etc).
unstable This distribution value refers to the developmental part of the Debian distribution tree. New packages,
new upstream versions of packages and bug fixes go into the unstable directory tree. Download from this
distribution at your own risk.
testing This distribution value refers to the testing part of the Debian distribution tree. It receives its packages from
the unstable distribution after a short time lag to ensure that there are no major issues with the unstable
packages. It is less prone to breakage than unstable, but still risky. It is not possible to upload packages
directly to testing.
frozen From time to time, the testing distribution enters a state of code freeze in anticipation of release as a stable
version. During this period of testing only fixes for existing or newly discovered bugs will be allowed. The
exact details of this stage are determined by the Release Manager.
experimental The packages with this distribution value are deemed by their maintainers to be high risk. Often
times they represent early beta or developmental packages from various sources that the maintainers want
people to try, but are not ready to be a part of the other parts of the Debian distribution tree. Download at
your own risk.
You should list all distributions that the package should be installed into. More information is available in the
Debian Developer's Reference, section The Debian archive .