How does one determine packages added after installation?

Marius Gedminas marius at
Sun Oct 17 14:05:50 UTC 2010

On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 10:24:20AM -0500, Tom Browder wrote:
> Is there any way to get a list of the default packages used for an
> initial installation from CD?  I looked at my 10.04.1 CD and could
> find only a limited set of packages (*.deb) under ./pool, and that is
> obviously not all that were installed.

Yes, the installation/LiveCD contains extracted packages, not .deb
files.  This is why it can be used for a live session.  And, I believe,
this makes installation faster -- you can copy all the files, including
dpkg metadata, instead of extracting thousands of small archives and
updating metadata records each time.

> My purpose is so that I can ensure a co-worker has the same package
> setup as I so our environments are identical.  I know I can do this by
> comparing his installed package list versus mine. but it would be
> easier if I could just tell him what I added after a default
> installation.

You could find that by looking at /var/log/dpkg.log, I suppose.  Or
checking file timestamps in /var/lib/dpkg/info.  Or using the history
feature of Ubuntu Software Center.

> A "Date-installed:" record in the package list file
> (/var/lib/dpkg/status) would be helpful for compiling such a list (and
> maybe a "How-installed:" record).

Apt keeps track of which packages were installed manually, and which
ones were pulled in as dependencies.  It keeps that information in

Marius Gedminas
Some of the more environmentally aware dinosaurs were worried about the
consequences of an accident with the new Iridium enriched fusion reactor.
"If it goes off only the cockroaches and mammals will survive..." they said.
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