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

andy baxter andy at
Thu Feb 7 16:25:17 UTC 2008

andy baxter wrote:
> 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??
P.S. when I say 'this approach' I mean using dpkg --set/get-selections. 
It doesn't make any difference whether you use apt-get or dselect to 
install the packages because the information has already been lost by then.

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