How to check if a package is installed with the CLI in Ubuntu 16.04

If you manage the installed packages on your ubuntu server, you may know that the installation of a package that is already installed may lead in some circunstances to data loss. That's why is pretty useful to verify wheter a package has been already installed or not. This can be easily done in Ubuntu using the debian package manager (dbpk).

To verify if a package has been installed with a verbose output, you can use the following command:

dpkg -s <package name> | grep Status

# example with the potrace package
dpkg -s potrace | grep Status

For example, running the previous command will show the following output in the terminal (as long as potrace isn't installed):

dpkg-query: package 'potrace' is not installed and no information is available
Use dpkg --info (= dpkg-deb --info) to examine archive files,
and dpkg --contents (= dpkg-deb --contents) to list their contents.

If you feel uncomfortable with all the generated output, you can use even a shorter variant that generates less output:

dpkg -l <package name>

# example with the potrace package
dpkg -l potrace

Running the previous command on a system (assuming that potrace isn't installed) would generate the following output:

dpkg-query: no packages found matching potrace

Happy server management !

Carlos Delgado

About the author

Carlos Delgado

Interested in programming since he was 14 years old, Carlos is the founder and author of most of the articles at Our Code World. He is currently studying systems engineering at the UDI university in Colombia.

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