Manual Reference Pages  - apt-listchanges (1)


apt-listchanges — Show new changelog entries from Debian package archives



apt-listchanges [options ... ] {--apt | package.deb ... }


apt-listchanges is a tool to show what has been changed in a new version of a Debian package, as compared to the version currently installed on the system.

It does this by extracting the relevant entries from both the NEWS.Debian and changelog[.Debian] files, usually found in /usr/share/doc/package, from Debian package archives.

Given a set of filenames as arguments (or read from apt when using --apt), apt-listchanges will scan the files (assumed to be Debian package archives) for the relevant changelog entries, and display them all in a summary, sorted by urgency.


--apt   Read filenames from a specially-formatted pipeline (as provided by apt), rather than from command line arguments, and honor certain apt-specific options in the config file. This pipeline must be in "version 2" format, specified in the apt configuration.

-v, --verbose   Display additional (usually unwanted) information. For instance, print a message when a package of the same or older version is to be installed, or when a package is to be newly installed.

-f, --frontend          Select which frontend to use to display information to the user. Current frontends include:

pager Uses your favorite pager to display output. By default, the PAGER environment variable will be used. The "pager" option may be specified in the configuration file to select a specific pager for use with apt-listchanges.

browser Displays an HTML-formatted changelog using a web browser, with hyperlinks for bugs and email addresses. By default, the BROWSER environment variable will be used. The "browser" option may be specified in the configuration file to select a specific browser for use with apt-listchanges.

xterm-pager Uses your favorite pager to display output, but does so in an xterm (using the x-terminal-emulator alternative) in the background. This allows you to go on with the upgrade if you like, and continue to browse the changelogs. You can override the terminal emulator to be used with the "xterm" configuration option.

xterm-browser The logical combination of xterm-pager and browser. Only appropriate for text-mode browsers.

text Dumps output to stdout, with no pauses.

mail Sends mail to the address specified with --email-address, and does not display changelogs.

gtk Spawns a gtk window to display the changelogs. Needs python-glade2, python-gtk2 to be installed.

none Does nothing. Can be used to prevent apt-listchanges from running when configured to run automatically from apt.

--email-address=address In addition to displaying it, mail a copy of the changelog data to the specified address. To only mail changelog entries, use this option with the special frontend ’mail’.

-c, --confirm Once changelogs have been displayed, ask the user whether or not to proceed. If the user chooses not to proceed, a nonzero exit status will be returned, and apt will abort.

-a, --all Rather than trying to display changelog entries that are newer than the currently installed version of the package, simply display all changelog entries for all packages. This is useful for viewing the entire changelog of a .deb before extracting it.

--save_seen=file This option will cause apt-listchanges to keep track of the last version of a package for which changelogs have been displayed, to avoid redisplaying the same changelogs in a future invocation. The database is stored in the named file. Specify ’none’ to disable this feature.

--since=version This option will cause apt-listchanges to show the entries later than the specified version. With this option, the only other argument you can pass is the path to a .deb file.

--which={news|changelogs|both} This option selects whether news (from NEWS.Debian et al.), changelogs (from changelog.Debian et al.) or both should be displayed. The default is to display only news.

--help Displays syntax information.

-h, --headers These options will cause apt-listchanges to insert a header before each package’s changelog showing the name of the package, and the names of the binary packages which are being upgraded (if there is more than one, or it differs from the source package name).

--debug Display some debugging information

--profile=name Select an option profile. name corresponds to a section in /etc/apt/listchanges.conf. The default when invoked from apt is "apt", and "cmdline" otherwise.

--reverse Show the changelog entries in reverse order.


BROWSER Used by the browser frontend, should be set to a command expecting a file: URL for an HTML file to display.


/etc/apt/listchanges.conf Configuration file. Most options have the same names as command-line options, with hyphens translated to underscores.
Example configuration file


[apt] frontend=xterm-pager email_address=root confirm=1

[custom] frontend=browser browser=mozilla

The above configuration file specifies that in command-line mode, the default frontend should be "pager". In apt mode, the xterm-pager frontend is default, a copy of the changelogs (if any) should be emailed to root, and apt-listchanges should ask for confirmation. If apt-listchanges is invoked with --profile=custom, the browser frontend will be used, and invoke mozilla.
/var/lib/apt/listchanges.db Database used for save-seen


apt-listchanges was written by Matt Zimmerman <>



apt-listchanges (1)
blog comments powered by Disqus