Listing A Packages Dependencies With apt-rdepends

I sometimes find myself wondering what a package’s dependencies are. This question is usually quickly satisfied with a $ sudo apt-get install packagename and then aborting, or perhaps more elegantly $ sudo apt-get -s install packagename to simulate the installation.

This doesn’t give you the entire picture, as it only lists the dependencies that you don’t already have; which is usually all you care about, but there are occasions when you would like to list all of a package’s dependencies, for example when planning for a system that is not built yet, or not accessible at the current time. Or just for idle curiosity! Perhaps that’s just me.

Anyhow, apt-rdepends is the application for the job. It doesn’t just list the package’s dependencies, but it recursively goes through each dependency’s dependencies.

Install it with the usual $ sudo apt-get install apt-rdepends and then simply run with:

$ apt-rdepends packagename | less

Yes, it is quite verbose, hence the “| less” - leave it out if you prefer, or use “| more” which is more likely to be installed on your system (tip: install “less” - less is better than more, if that makes any sense).

For example, I had just installed “flite” and was amazed at how functional it was. I wondered to myself whether it was just a front-end to festival - but how to find out?

$ apt-rdepends flite

Which comes back with no other speech synthesis engine (e.g. festival), so clearly flite is a speech synthesis engine in its own right.

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