apt−show−versions − Lists available package versions with distribution


apt-show-versions parses the dpkg status file and the APT lists for the installed and available package versions and distribution and shows upgrade options within the specific distribution of the selected package.

This is really useful if you have a mixed stable/testing environment and want to list all packages which are from testing and can be upgraded in testing.

apt-show-versions uses caching for the status information of installed and available packages. If you run apt-show-versions as root the cache is updated as needed. If you run as non-root uses the newest available information, but can’t update the cache. If you run as root with the option −i the cache is initialized or updated only.


apt-show-versions [−h] [[−p] package name] [−a] [−b]


If you don’t give any options the status of all installed packages is printed.
package, −−package=package

Print available and installed versions for specified package. You can also specify a package name without the option −p. If −p and a package name are missing, all installed packages are displayed.

−r, −−regex

interpret package from option −p as a regex.

−R, −−regex−all

like −−regex, but also show matching packages which are not installed

−u, −−upgradeable

Print only upgradeable packages

−a, −−allversions

Print all available versions of the selected packages

−b, −−brief

Print only package_name/distribution for upgradeable packages

−v, −−verbose

Prints out messages about which package files are parsed.

−V, −−version

Prints out version of apt-show-versions

−i, −−initialize

Initialize or update package cache only (as root). Do this every time when the status of the installed or available packages has changed. Initialization is done automatically on installation of the package and via a cron.daily job.

−stf file, −−status−file=file

Use file as the dpkg status file instead of /var/lib/dpkg/status

−ld directory, −−list−dir=directory

Use directory as path to apt’s list files instead of /var/state/apt/lists/ or /var/lib/apt/lists/

−h, −−help

Prints out command-line help.



No error


Wrong usage


apt-show-versions has been called with exactly one package and upgradeable option set, but package is uptodate. As no output has been requested, this case gets signaled using the exit code.


Unspecified error


If you want to know for all your installed packages whether they are uptodate or upgradeable, use:


If you want to have a list of all upgradeable packages:

    apt−show−versions −u

To get a list of all available versions of libc6:

    apt−show−versions −a −p libc6

To get information about several packages:

    apt−show−versions dpkg apt
    apt−show−versions −r ^texlive

To upgrade all packages in testing:

    apt−get install `apt−show−versions −u −b | grep testing`


Christoph Martin, martin@uni−


apt(8), dpkg(1)