Inspecting RPM/DEB packages

An RPM package (.rpm) is a package which is used to store files/scripts/conf files on RedHat systems.

Likewise, .deb files (Debian/binary packages) contain similar contents for Debian-based systems.

Let's inspect a simple .deb package provided by ProtonVPN for their CLI VPN client (available here).

$ file protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.0-1_all.deb
protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.0-1_all.deb: Debian binary package (format 2.0), with control.tar.xz, data compression xz

To unpack .deb files, you can either use dpkg -c like so;

$ dpkg -c protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.0-1_all.deb

Or you can simply use tar -x, like so;

$ tar -x protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.0-1_all.deb

Or use dpkg-deb;

$ dpkg-deb -x protonvpn-stable-release_1.0.0-1_all.deb .

This will create the files/directories which would be modified/created if you were to install the package with dpkg.


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