apt-reverse -- list packages which depend on (ie. use) a given package


 apt-reverse [--options] package...


apt-reverse lists all the packages which depend on those given on the command line. These are the "reverse dependencies". For example

    apt-reverse gnuplot

might print

    battery-stats - Collects statistics about charge of laptop batteries
    feedgnuplot - Pipe-oriented frontend to Gnuplot
    gausssum - parse and display Gaussian, GAMESS, and etc's output
    libgraphics-gnuplotif-perl - dynamic Perl interface to gnuplot

which means each of those packages needs gnuplot. Options below allow "Suggests" and "Recommends" to be included too, or restrict to currently installed packages.

This can find programming language interfaces to something (like the Perl above). Or before deleting a package you might see what uses it, so keep it if there's something of future interest which will need it.

An apt-reverse.bash is included with apt-reverse for Bash tab completion on package names and program options. It can be used with or without the "bash_completion" system.


The command line options are

-a, --all

Show all uses, which means Recommends and Suggests as well as plain Depends.

-d, --description

Print the long description of each package. This will require the usual apt "Translations" files. If apt has no translations (Languages "none" in apt.conf) then the long descriptions are empty.

The default is the one-line short description.

-i, --installed

Print only currently installed packages, not all in the database.


Print some brief help information.


Print the program version number and exit.



apt-cache showpkg gives the same information, but without the descriptions and not in the simple format of apt-reverse.

apt-rdepends can do the same too, though again without the descriptions, and oriented towards recursive "depends of depends" tracing.


AptPkg, apt-cache(8), apt-rdepends(8), apt-reverse.bash



Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015 Kevin Ryde

apt-reverse is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3, or (at your option) any later version.

apt-reverse is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with apt-reverse. If not, see <>.