deb-old - old style Debian binary package format
format is the Debian binary package file format. This manual
page describes the old
format, used before Debian 0.93. Please see
for details of the new format.
The file is two lines of format information as ASCII text, followed by two
concatenated gzipped ustar files.
The first line is the format version number padded to 8 digits, and is
for all old-format archives.
The second line is a decimal string (without leading zeroes) giving the length
of the first gzipped tarfile.
Each of these lines is terminated with a single newline character.
The first tarfile contains the control information, as a series of ordinary
files. The file control
must be present, as it contains the core
In some very old archives, the files in the control tarfile may optionally be in
subdirectory. In that case, the DEBIAN
will be in the control tarfile too, and the control tarfile will have only
files in that directory. Optionally the control tarfile may contain an entry
’, that is, the current directory.
The second gzipped tarfile is the filesystem archive, containing pathnames
relative to the root directory of the system to be installed on. The pathnames
do not have leading slashes.