How to find a package that provides a file on Ubuntu

On Linux systems, including Ubuntu, finding a package that provides a file is important. The reason is that it helps users to solve package dependency problems that occur when installing a package on the system and if a file is missing, you cannot proceed with the installation until the file is found. Additionally, it helps users to troubleshoot server-related issues on the system that may fail to start if a required library is missing.

If you want to find a package that provides a file on Ubuntu, you should follow the guidelines in this article.

Find a package that provides a file on Ubuntu

There are two ways to find a package that provides a file in Ubuntu, namely:

Method 1: apt file

The first way to find a package that provides a file is to use a apt file Package. The apt file marks the indices for all installed packages that are present in the repository. Through use apt file, the users can search for a file provided by any of the packages present in the repository and this whole search process is completed within a few seconds. This method is divided into two parts:

i: Installing the apt file

To install “apt file” on your Ubuntu system and first update the repository:

sudo appropriate update
sudo appropriate upgrade

Then install apt file by using the command mentioned below:

sudo suitable To install apt file

The apt file access database to find the packages belonging to a package and for this reason it is important to update it apt file by the following command before browsing for a file on Ubuntu:

sudo apt file update

ii: Find file with apt-file

To find the file, use apt filerun the command mentioned below along with the name of the file:

apt file search <file names>

For example:

apt file search hippo_opensim_viewer.xml

Or you can also use the file path to navigate directly through the file and associated package:

apt file search <File path>

For example;

apt file search /etc/share/bleach bit/cleanser/hippo_opensim_viewer.xml

Method 2: By using dpkg

The other method to find a package that provides a file is to use the dpkg Command used to find the packages installed without a repository, which makes it different from the apt file. But dpkg can only list the files of packages that are installed in the system, while apt-file can even list the packages that are not installed in the system but are present in the repository.

Use the dpkg file described below along with -S identifier for seekto find the package associated with the desired file:

dpkg -S <file names>

For example:

dpkg -S

As well as apt fileyou can also use a file path instead of the file name to navigate the file from its directory with the dpkg command:

dpkg -S <Away>

For example;

dpkg -S /etc/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/

Bonus tip

The dpkg command can also be used to browse all packages present in a directory or library by using the command mentioned below:

dpkg -S <directory>

For example, here I have displayed all the packages it contains /var/lib:

dpkg -S /Var/lib


To find a package that provides a file on Ubuntu, there are two ways: one is to use the “apt file” tool that uses the database to search the file from the list of packages present in the repository. The other method is to use dpkg-S Command to search the file in the list of installed packages. The apt-file tool needs to be installed while “dpkg‘ is already present in Ubuntu by default.

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