apt-zip-inst(8) Use apt with removable media

Other Alias



apt-zip-list [ --help ] [ --version ] [ --medium=mountpoint ] [ --aptgetaction=action ] [ --packages=package[,package...] ] [ --fix-broken ] [ --skip-mount ] [ --method=method ] [ --options=opt[,opt...] ] [ --accept=accept[,accept...] | --reject=reject[,reject...] ]

apt-zip-inst [ --help ] [ --version ] [ --medium=mountpoint ] [ --aptgetaction=action ] [ --packages=package[,package...] ] [ --fix-broken ] [ --skip-mount ]


This manpage should be up-to-date with version 0.17 of the programs.

The apt-zip-list and apt-zip-inst commands simplify the upgrade process of a non-networked Debian host using apt(8), by using (preferably high-capacity) removable media, like a ZIP drive.

apt-zip-list produces two files. One is a script that can be used on another host (maybe not running a Debian system) to fetch packages previously selected in dselect(8) or indicated in the command line, the other apt-zip.options saves the options used by apt-zip-list to indicate to apt-zip-inst what action to perform and/or which packages to install. Various types of scripts can be generated, by specifying a fetch method supported by the host that will fetch the packages. If you prefer, the script may generate a tarball containing the fetched packages. Note that apt-zip-list can be called as a non-root user.

The name of the script (as well as the name of the tarfile when using the tar option) contains the name of the Debian host for which the packages are to be fetched. Thus you can, using the same medium, upgrade several hosts at the same time, provided you have enough space on this disk. This should work with or without the tar option.

The script is written to the removable medium, which is mounted if necessary, and then restored to the original unmounted state when applicable. It is the responsibility of the user then to run the script on a host that will fetch the packages, and to have them (or the generated archive) copied to the removable medium.

When back on your Debian host, you just run apt-zip-inst, which will take care of the script-produced files, and call apt(8) to install the packages on your disk.



--help, -h
Show summary of options.
--version, -V
Show version of program.
--medium, -m
Select a removable medium other than the site default. See also --skip-mount.
--aptgetaction, -a
Select the action done by apt-get. Possible actions are dselect-upgrade,upgrade and dist-upgrade.

If --packages is not set the default is dselect-upgrade (See also apt-zip.conf), if it is set none is selected.

--packages, -p
Comma-separated list of extra packages to install.
--fix-broken, -f
Run apt-get with the --fix-broken option. See apt-get(8) for more details.
--skip-mount, -s
Allow specifying a non-mountpoint directory to the --medium option. This may help on laptops only getting point-to-point networking without being routed to. This is also useful while testing the program, as it allows sending the script into /tmp.
--use-sleep=SEC, -S
Introduces waiting times between downloaded files. Allows the genearation of a fetch script that will wait some time (configurable). The number parameter represents the delay between consecutive dowloads. Note that this option is safe: even if the connected machine does not have a wait command, the script will not fail.
--no-checksum, --no-md5, -5
This option will command to apt-zip-list to create a script which does not make any sha256sum checks. Note that if this option is not given at script generation time, the sha256sum command will be called only after it has been found in the system. (--no-md5 is maintained for script compatibility, but there is only sha256)


--method, -M
Select a method other than the default one. The wget and wget-dos methods are currently supported.
--options, -o
Specifies a set of options to be used while generating the script. A warning is issued only if an option is unkown to apt-zip-list, but all known options may not be supported by all methods. Options may be given a value, with the option=value syntax.

Currently available options include:

causes the dowloaded files to be grouped into a tarball. The name of a tar program on the download machine can be specified, if different from tar. Example: tar=gtar.

When used in conjunction with the restart option, a GNU tar must be specified, so that 2 tarballs man be concatenated - this is only needed on the 3rd and subsequent runs of the fetch script.

causes the downloaded files to be grouped into a tarball.
--accept , -A / --reject , -R
Comma-separated list of accepted/rejected protocols for download. By default are only accepted http and ftp.


The /etc/apt/apt-zip.conf file can be used to set defaults: method, removable medium, options, apt-get action and accepted/rejected protocols. It is a self-explainatory bourne-shell script snippet. It allows to provide site defaults for command-line options.


A method is handled by an executable object (usually a script) placed in the /usr/share/apt-zip/methods/ directory. This executable is fed on standard input with the output of apt-get --print-uris.

It is communicated the state of requested options using for each option an environment variables named OPTION_OPTNAME, where OPTNAME is the uppercased name of an option.

Additional environment variables are also set, such as APTZIPVERSION, APTZIPTARFILE, APTZIPINSFILE, and OPTIONS.


  • Only one disk can be used. If your packages do not fit on one, you have to deselect some packages using dselect(8) or you have to select a suitable list of package.
  • The files on an Internet distribution site can change rather frequently. It is up to the user to make sure the site was not updated between the build of the fetch script by apt-zip-list and the fetch itself, otherwise some required files may not be possible to fetch.





  • The restart feature is really slow. The tar command on Solaris(tm) has an option to seek in the file instead of assuming a non-seekable device, which greatly improves performance. GNU tar does not seem to be able to do that.
  • Virtually no error-checking is done. Examples of such error conditions include: - out-of-diskspace on both the removable medium and in apt archive cache when using tar option.
  • Somewhat consequently, error-recovery also nears non-existence. As examples, an interrupted fetch in tar mode has to be restarted from zero; changes in status file between runs of apt-zip-list and apt-zip-inst are not detected and may lead to failure.


The programs were written by YannDirson <[email protected]>. It was maintained previously by SantiBejar <[email protected]>, and currently maintained by GiacomoCatenazzi <[email protected]> for the Debian GNU/Linux system.

The source for this reference page is an SGML file, which can be converted to UNIX manpages using docbook2man(1)