germinate(1) expand dependencies in a list of seed packages


[-v ] [-S source ] [-s dist ] [-m mirror ] [-d dist ,... ] [-a arch ] [-c component ,... ] [--vcs = Brq auto | bzr | git ] [--no-rdepends ] [--no-installer ]


is a program to help with the maintenance of large software distributions. It takes a list of seed packages and a mirror of the distribution, and produces outputs with the seed packages and their dependencies and build-dependencies expanded out in full.


The contents of the Ubuntu distribution, and others, are managed by means of seeds At their simplest, these are lists of packages which are considered important to have in the main component of the distribution, without explicitly listing all their dependencies and build-dependencies.

Seed lists are typically divided up by category: a base or minimal seed might list the core set of packages required to make the system run at all, while a desktop seed might list the set of packages installed as part of a default desktop installation. takes these seeds, adds their dependency trees, and produces an output for each seed which contains a dependency-expanded list of package names. These outputs may be handed on to archive maintenance or CD-building tools.

Some seeds may inherit from other seeds: they rely on those seeds to be installed. For example, a desktop seed will typically inherit from a minimal seed. understands these inheritance relationships. If a package in the desktop seed depends on `foo' but `foo' is already part of the minimal seed or dependency list, then `foo' will not be added to the desktop output.

Seeds are stored in text files downloaded from a given URL. Lines not beginning with ` * ' (wiki-style list markup) are ignored.

Seed entries may simply consist of a package name, or may include any of the following special syntax:

Seed entries beginning with `%' expand to all binaries from the given source package.
Seed entries may be followed with ` [ arch1 arch2 ... ] ' to indicate that they should only be used on the given architectures, or with ` [! arch1 ! arch2 ... ] ' to indicate that they should not be used on the given architectures.
Seed entries in parentheses indicate that the seed should be treated as a recommendation of metapackages generated from this seed, rather than as a dependency.
Seed entries beginning with `!' cause the given package to be blacklisted from the given seed and any seeds from which it inherits; this may be followed by `%' as above to blacklist all binaries from the given source package. Note that this may result in uninstallable packages whose dependencies have been blacklisted, so use this feature sparingly. The purpose of a blacklist is to make it obvious when a package that is not supposed to be installed ends up in 's output, so that package relationships can be fixed to stop that happening. It is not intended for the purpose of working around buggy package relationships, and attempts to do so will not work because apt has no way to know about blacklist entries in seeds.
key: value
Some seeds also contain headers at the top of the file, in ``key: value'' format. For the most part, these are not parsed by itself. The Ubuntu tasksel package uses keys beginning with `Task-' to define fields of similar names in its .desc files. germinate-update-metapackage1 uses some of these headers to reduce the need for fragile configuration; see its documentation for further details.

A STRUCTURE file alongside the seeds lists their inheritance relationships. It may also include lines beginning with `include' causing other collections of seeds to be included as if they were part of the collection currently being germinated, or lines beginning with `feature' which set flags for the processing of seeds. The only flag currently defined is `follow-recommends' which causes to treat Recommends fields as if they were Depends. (Features may also be set on a per-seed basis using lines beginning with ` * Feature:' in the seed file; here, `no-follow-recommends' is also supported to allow Recommends-following to be turned off for individual seeds.)

Build-dependencies and `supported'

There is typically no need for a default desktop installation to contain all the compilers and development libraries needed to build itself from source; if nothing else, it would consume much more space. Nevertheless, it is normally a requirement for the maintainers of a distribution to support all the packages necessary to build that distribution.

therefore does not add all the packages that result from following build-dependencies of seed packages and of their dependencies (the ``build-dependency tree'' to every output, unless they are also in the seed or in the dependency list. Instead, it adds them to the output for the last seed in the STRUCTURE file, conventionally called supported

Like any other seed, the supported seed may contain its own list of packages. It is common to provide support for many software packages which are not in the default installation, such as debugging libraries, optimised kernels, alternative language support, and the like.


The output files are named after the seed to which they correspond. An additional output file is needed for supported, namely `supported+build-depends' which contains the supported list and the build-depends lists of the other seeds all joined together. An `all' output is produced to represent the entire archive.

Some other files are produced for occasional use by experts. See the README file for full details on these.


-v --verbose
Be more verbose when processing seeds.
-S --seed-source source ,...
Fetch seeds from the specified sources. The default is or if the --vcs = bzr option is used, or git:// if the --vcs = git option is used. You may use file:// URLs here to fetch seeds from the local file system; for example, if your seeds are stored in /home/username/seeds/debian.unstable then you would use the options -S file:///home/username/seeds/ -s debian.unstable
-s --seed-dist dist
Fetch seeds for distribution dist The default is ubuntu.xenial

When fetching seeds from git, the part after the rightmost `.' character, if any, is treated as the branch name to check out; this rather strange style is for backward compatibility.

-m --mirror mirror
Get package lists from mirror The default is May be supplied multiple times; the newest version of each package across all archives will win.
--source-mirror mirror
Get source package lists from mirror The default is to use package lists mirrors. May be supplied multiple times; the newest version of each source package across all archives will win.
-d --dist dist ,...
Operate on the specified distributions. The default is xenial Listing multiple distributions may be useful, for example, when examining both a released distribution and its security updates.
-a --arch arch
Operate on architecture arch The default is i386
-c --components component ,...
Operate on the specified components. The default is main
--vcs = Brq auto | bzr | git
Check out seeds from a version control system rather than fetching them directly from a URL. Requires bzr or git as appropriate, to be installed. For bzr use the branch found at seed-source / seed-dist for git remove the part after the rightmost `.' character of seed-dist and use it as the branch name to check out from seed-source / remainder-of-seed-dist For auto guess the version control system to use from seed-source (trying both in ambiguous cases) and then proceed as above.
Check out seeds from the bzr branch found at seed-source / seed-dist rather than fetching them directly from a URL. Requires bzr to be installed. This option is deprecated and is retained for backward compatibility; use --vcs = bzr instead.
Disable reverse-dependency calculations. These calculations cause a large number of small files to be written out in the rdepends/ directory, and may take some time.
Do not consider debian-installer udeb packages. While generally not the desired outcome, sometimes you might wish to omit consideration of installer packages when processing your seeds, perhaps if sending the output directly to the package manager on an already-installed system.
--seed-packages parent / pkg ,...
Treat each pkg as a seed by itself, inheriting from parent (i.e. assuming that all packages in the parent seed are already installed while calculating the additional dependencies of pkg ) This allows the use of to calculate the dependencies of individual extra packages. For example, --seed-packages desktop / epiphany-browser will create an epiphany-browser output file listing the additional packages that need to be installed over and above the desktop seed in order to install epiphany-browser


The wiki-style markup in seeds was inherited from an early implementation, and is a wart.

can sometimes be confused by complicated situations involving the order in which it encounters dependencies on virtual packages. Explicit entries in seeds may be required to work around this.

Handling of installer packages (udebs) is complicated, poorly documented, and doesn't always work quite right: in particular, packages aren't demoted to the supported seed when they should be.


An Scott James Remnant Aq [email protected] An Colin Watson Aq [email protected]

An -nosplit is copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 An Canonical Ltd . See the GNU General Public License version 2 or later for copying conditions. A copy of the GNU General Public License is available in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL