How to instruct a computer to download software packages from a list generated by another computer?

andy baxter andy at
Thu Feb 7 16:12:15 UTC 2008

Christopher Copeland wrote:
> On 7 Feb 2008, at 09:29, Bas Roufs wrote:
>> Via  a shell console I tried another option advised by the same long
>> time Linux user has been using in Debian:
>> sudo dpkg --get-selections > installierte-pakete
>> "Installierte Pakete" is German for 'installed software packages'. In
>> this way, I generated a text file containing instructions to install  
>> the
>> software packages installed at my desktop. I copied this file to my  
>> USB
>> stick and from there to the home directory of my laptop. At the  
>> laptop I
>> opened another shell console and gave in the following instruction:
>> sudo dpkg --set-selections < installierte-pakete
>> No error or mistake has been mentioned after this command. However,  
>> not
>> any single software package has been installed because of this  
>> instruction.
> Well no surprise there, that command doesn't install anything.. just  
> selects the packages that would be installed.
> I've never used Synaptic to achieve what you are trying to do so I  
> won't comment on that. You were quite close to success via the command  
> line. The "long time linux users" sent you in the right direction but  
> perhaps left out the crucial last step. (or you just ignored it) See:
> That should do it.
The other way is instead of using dselect to actually install the 
packages, you can use apt-get, as follows:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade

(run these after doing the dpkg --get selections<file)

The only problem with this approach, is it forgets (I think) which 
packages were installed manually, and which were installed automatically 
as a consequence of installing other packages. Does anyone know of a way 
to do the same thing but preserve this information??


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