I’ve never really felt as proficient with apt and dpkg as I did with RPM. There always seems to be another option I’ve never seen before. Luckily there are also big holes in my knowledge of yum to make me feel well rounded.

After reading yum options you may not know exist and spending a while puzzling out how to get the same results in Debian (apt-file seems to be the closest fit but I never got the invocation right) I decided to write dpkg-provides.

It’s not packaged, doesn’t have a manpage, requires the network and isn’t integrated with the existing tools. At least I know how I’d get the information now - from the web. Who’d thought it?

Note: it’s actually quite simple to work out which package provides a file that you’ve got installed locally (dpkg -S '*/df') - it’s more of a pain to probe packages you don’t have installed.