Debtags resources

This chapter is a collection of the software that has been written that makes use of Debtags.

Software packaged in Debian

apt-cache and grep-dctrl

While these tools do not know Debtags directly, they can show and process tags as part of their general handling of the Packages file.

In particular, apt-cache can show tags, and this is helpful go get some extra information like the user interface or the implementation language.

grep-dctrl instead can perform matches on the Tag: field just like with any other field.


Aptitude can show tag data and has a somehow limited "New Debtags Browser" that allows to browse packages by tags.


Debtags is what is needed to maintain a proper tag database in /var/lib/debtags. It allows to perform various queries, and also to contribute tags back to the Alioth database.


Adept is the graphical package manager for KDE, and it has good support for searching using Debtags.


Packagesearch is a graphical tool for finding packages that tries to allow searching using all sorts of package information, including Debtags.


Debtags-edit is a graphical tool for tagging packages, but it also allows to perform various package searches, also using debtags.


Tagcoll is not a tool specific for Debtags, but it can handle general item/tag mappings read from text files.

It can however be used in combination with Debtags to perform further operations on its output.


Python-debian is not a tool but a collection of Debian-specific python libraries that include Debtags support.

Among its examples, however, are various interesting prototypes that make use of Debtags:

Web applications

The Go tagging! page has a "Maintainer view" that can be used by Debian maintainers to check the tagging status of their packages. The maintainer view is also linked from the Debian Developer's Packages Overview. * The tag editor can also be accessed directly and allows lookup of packages by name, or it is possible to link to the editor for one specific package with links in the form * The smart search page contains a smart search implementation for the web. * The tag cloud is a navigable tag cloud view of the Debian archive, written by Erich Schubert. * popsuggest is an interface that tries to provide suggestions about packages to install after correlating your package list with the popularity contest database. It uses Debtags to organise and filter the output.

There is also a machine-friendly way to query the popsuggest data, documented in my Secred Debian Internals presentation.

The package manager prototypes

I've recently started experimenting with new ideas for package managers, which so far resulted in two more prototypes: