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alien - Convert or install an alien binary package


alien [--to-deb] [--to-rpm] [--to-tgz] [--to-slp] [options] file [...]


alien is a program that converts between Red Hat rpm, Debian deb, Stampede slp, Slackware
tgz, and Solaris pkg file formats. If you want to use a package from another linux
distribution than the one you have installed on your system, you can use alien to convert
it to your preferred package format and install it. It also supports LSB packages.


alien should not be used to replace important system packages, like init, libc, or other
things that are essential for the functioning of your system. Many of these packages are
set up differently by the different distributions, and packages from the different
distributions cannot be used interchangeably. In general, if you can't remove a package
without breaking your system, don't try to replace it with an alien version.


rpm For converting to and from rpm format the Red Hat Package Manager must be installed.

lsb Unlike the other package formats, alien can handle the depenendencies of lsb packages
if the destination package format supports dependencies. Note that this means that the
package generated from a lsb package will depend on a package named "lsb" -- your
distribution should provide a package by that name, if it is lsb compliant. The
scripts in the lsb package will be converted by default as well.

To generate lsb packages, the Red Hat Package Manager must be installed, and alien
will use by preference a program named lsb-rpm, if it exists. No guarantees are made
that the generated lsb packages will be fully LSB compliant, and it's rather unlikely
they will unless you build them in the lsbdev environment.

Note that unlike other package formats, converting an LSB package to another format
will not cause its minor version number to be changed.

deb For converting to (but not from) deb format, the gcc, make, debhelper, dpkg-dev, and
dpkg packages must be installed.

tgz Note that when converting from the tgz format, alien will simply generate an output
package that has the same files in it as are in the tgz file. This only works well if
the tgz file has precompiled binaries in it in a standard linux directory tree. Do NOT
run alien on tar files with source code in them, unless you want this source code to
be installed in your root directory when you install the package!

When using alien to convert a tgz package, all files in /etc in are assumed to be
configuration files.

pkg To manipulate packages in the Solaris pkg format (which is really the SV datastream
package format), you will need the Solaris pkginfo and pkgtrans tools.


alien will convert all the files you pass into it into all the output types you specify.
If no output type is specified, it defaults to converting to deb format.

file [...]
The list of package files to convert.

-d, --to-deb
Make debian packages. This is the default.

-r, --to-rpm
Make rpm packages.

-t, --to-tgz
Make tgz packages.

Make slp packages.

-p, --to-pkg
Make Solaris pkg packages.

-i, --install
Automatically install each generated package, and remove the package file after it has
been installed.

-g, --generate
Generate a temporary directory suitable for building a package from, but do not
actually create the package. This is useful if you want to move files around in the
package before building it. The package can be built from this temporary directory by
running "debian/rules binary", if you were creating a Debian package, or by running
"rpmbuild -bb <packagename>.spec" if you were creating a Red Hat package.

-s, --single
Like -g, but do not generate the packagename.orig directory. This is only useful when
you are very low on disk space and are generating a debian package.

-c, --scripts
Try to convert the scripts that are meant to be run when the package is installed and
removed. Use this with caution, because these scripts might be designed to work on a
system unlike your own, and could cause problems. It is recommended that you examine
the scripts by hand and check to see what they do before using this option.

This is enabled by default when converting from lsb packages.

Specify the patch to be used instead of automatically looking the patch up in
/var/lib/alien. This has no effect unless a debian package is being built.

Be less strict about which patch file is used, perhaps attempting to use a patch file
for an older version of the package. This is not guaranteed to always work; older
patches may not necessarily work with newer packages.

Do not use any patch files.

Specifiy a description for the package. This only has an effect when converting from
the tgz package format, which lacks descriptions.

Specifiy a version for the package. This only has an effect when converting from the
tgz package format, which may lack version information.

Note that without an argument, this displays the version of alien instead.

-T, --test
Test the generated packages. Currently this is only supported for debian packages,
which, if lintian is installed, will be tested with lintian and lintian's output

-k, --keep-version
By default, alien adds one to the minor version number of each package it converts. If
this option is given, alien will not do this.

Instead of incrementing the version number of the converted package by 1, increment it
by the given number.

Sanitize all file owners and permissions when building a deb. This may be useful if
the original package is a mess. On the other hand, it may break some things to mess
with their permissions and owners to the degree this does, so it defaults to off. This
can only be used when converting to debian packages.

Force the architecture of the generated package to the given string.

-v, --verbose
Be verbose: Display each command alien runs in the process of converting a package.

Be verbose as with --verbose, but also display the output of each command run. Some
commands may generate a lot of output.

-h, --help
Display a short usage summary.

-V, --version
Display the version of alien.


Here are some examples of the use of alien:

alien --to-deb package.rpm
Convert the package.rpm into a package.deb

alien --to-rpm package.deb
Convert the package.deb into a package.rpm

alien -i package.rpm
Convert the package.rpm into a package.deb (converting to a .deb package is default,
so you need not specify --to-deb), and install the generated package.

alien --to-deb --to-rpm --to-tgz --to-slp foo.deb bar.rpm baz.tgz
Creates 9 new packages. When it is done, foo bar and baz are available in all 4
package formats.


alien recognizes the following environment variables:

Options to pass to rpm when it is building a package.

Options to pass to rpm when it is installing a package.

If set, alien assumes this is your email address. Email addresses are included in
generated debian packages.

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