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dh_missing - check for missing files


dh_missing [-Xitem] [--sourcedir=dir] [debhelper options]


dh_missing compares the list of installed files with the files in the source directory. If any of the files (and symlinks) in the source directory were not installed to somewhere, it will warn on stderr about that (--list-missing) or fail (--fail-missing).

Please note that in compat 11 and earlier without either of these options, dh_missing will silently do nothing. In compat 12, --list-missing is the default In compat 13 and later, --fail-missing is the default.

This may be useful if you have a large package and want to make sure that you don't miss installing newly added files in new upstream releases.

Remember to test different kinds of builds (dpkg-buildpackage -A/-B/...) as you may experience varying results when only a subset of the packages are built.


List the files that are deliberately not installed in any binary package. Paths listed in this file are ignored by dh_missing. However, it is not a method to exclude files from being installed by any of the debhelper tool. If you want a tool to not install a given file, please use its --exclude option (where available).

dh_missing will expand wildcards in this file (since debhelper 11.1). Wildcards without matches will be ignored.

Supports substitution variables in compat 13 and later as documented in debhelper(7).


Warn on stderr about source files not installed to somewhere.

Note that many dh-tools acting on a path will mark the path as installed even if it has been excluded via -X or --exclude. This is also seen when a dh-tool is acting on a directory and exclusion is used to ignore some files in the directory. In either case, this will make dh_missing silently assume the excluded files have been handled.

This is the default in compat 12.

This option is like --list-missing, except if a file was missed, it will not only list the missing files, but also fail with a nonzero exit code.

This is the default in compat 13 and later.



This program is a part of debhelper.


Michael Stapelberg <>
2020-07-05 13.2