Ubuntu – How to visually display dependencies of a package


This is just for fun and curiosity: is there a tool using which I can visually see the dependencies of a package as a graph?

That is, the packages that a given package depends on. This can be a command-line tool that displays using ASCII graphics (like tree or Mercurial's graphlog) or a GUI tool that shows the dependency graph visually. Any other combination of tools that can show the dependencies visually works too.

Best Answer

  • debtree

    According to the application's website, the debtree package provides "package dependency graphs on steroids".

    Note: This is also very useful when planning software upgrades. This application is able to graph dependencies against packages which have not yet been installed on your system. This will read from the sources.list file (usually located at /etc/apt/sources.list) and it will perform a live query using that list.

    The following diagram is an example of running debtree against the package dpkg. Here is a map of its dependencies:

    To install debtree from the command line(Ctrl-Alt-t) enter the command:

    sudo apt-get install debtree


    • Create a .dot file (a directed graph drawing - see the man dot manpage)

      debtree --with-suggests <package> >out.dot
    • Create a graph (PNG) from a .dot file

      dot -T png -o out.png out.dot
    • Create a graph (Postscript) and view it using Okular

      debtree <package> | dot -Tps | okular - &

    Be aware that when running this application against larger packages (i.e. gedit), the images can quickly become unwieldy and illegible.

    Note that apt-rdepends can also be used in a similar manner, but piping output into a graphic is a bit more convoluted, in my opinion.

    See also: Ubuntu debtree man page