The value of this field determines the package name, and is used to generate file names by most installation tools.
Typically, this is the original package's version number in whatever form the program's author uses. It may also include a Debian revision number (for non-native packages). If both version and revision are supplied, they are seperated by a hyphen, `-'. For this reason, the original version may not have a hyphen in its version number.
Should be in the format `Joe Bloggs
This is a general field that gives the package a category based on the software that it installs. Some common sections are `utils', `net', `mail', `text', `x11' etc.
Sets the importance of this package in relation to the system as a whole. Common priorities are `required', `standard', `optional', `extra' etc.
In Debian, the Section and Priority fields have a defined set of accepted values based on the Policy Manual. They are used to decide how the packages are layed out in the archive. A list of these can be obtained from the latest version of debian-policy package.
This field is usually only needed when the answer is `yes'. It denotes a package that is required for proper operation of the system. Dpkg or any other installation tool will not allow an Essential package to be removed (at least not without using one of the force options).
The architecture specifies which type of hardware this package was compiled for. Common architectures are `i386', `m68k', `sparc', `alpha', `powerpc' etc. Note that the all option is meant for packages that are architecture independent. Some examples of this are shell or Perl scripts, or documentation.
The name of the source package that this binary package came from, if different than the name of the package itself.
List of packages that are required for this package to provide a non-trivial amount of functionality. The package maintenance software will not allow a package to be installed if the packages listed in its Depends field aren't installed (at least not without using the force options), and will run the postinst scripts of packages listed in Depends: fields before those of the packages which depend on them, and run prerm scripts before.
List of packages that must be installed and configured before this one can be installed. This is usually used in the case where this package requires another package for running its preinst script.
Lists packages that would be found together with this one in all but unusual installations. The package maintenance software will warn the user if they install a package without those listed in its Recommends field.
Lists packages that are related to this one and can perhaps enhance its usefulness, but without which installing this package is perfectly reasonable.
The syntax of Depends , Pre-Depends , Recommends and Suggests fields is a list of groups of alternative packages. Each group is a list of packages separated by vertical bar (or `pipe') symbols, `|'. The groups are separated by commas. Commas are to be read as `AND', and pipes as `OR', with pipes binding more tightly. Each item is a package name optionally followed by a version number specification in parentheses.
A version number may start with a `
Lists packages that conflict with this one, for example by containing files with the same names. The package maintenance software will not allow conflicting packages to be installed at the same time. Two conflicting packages should each include a Conflicts line mentioning the other.
List of packages from which this package is allowed to replace files. This is used for allowing this package to overwrite the files of another package and is usually used with the Conflicts field to force removal of the other package, if this one also has the same files as the conflicted package.
This is a list of virtual packages that this one provides. Usuaully this is used in the case of several packages all providing the same service. For example, sendmail and exim can can serve as a mail server, so they provide a common package (`mail-transport-agent') on which other packages can depend. This will allow sendmail or exim to serve as a valid option to satisfy the dependency. This prevents the packages that depend on a mail server from having to know the package names for all of them, and using `|' to separate the list.