The .deb format is the Debian binary package file format. It is understood by dpkg 0.93.76 and later, and is generated by default by all versions of dpkg since 1.2.0 and all i386/ELF versions since 1.1.1elf.
The file is an ar archive with a magic number of !.
The first member is named debian-binary and contains a series of lines, separated by newlines. Currently only one line is present, the format version number, 2.0 at the time this manual page was written. Programs which read new-format archives should be prepared for the minor number to be increased and new lines to be present, and should ignore these if this is the case.
If the major number has changed, an incompatible change has been made and the program should stop. If it has not, then the program should be able to safely continue, unless it encounters an unexpected member in the archive (except at the end), as described below.
The second required member is named control.tar.gz . It is a gzipped tar archive containing the package control information, as a series of plain files, of which the file control is mandatory and contains the core control information. Please see the Debian Packaging Manual, section 2.2 for details of these files. The control tarball may optionally contain an entry for `.', the current directory.
The third, last required member is named data.tar.gz . It contains the filesystem archive as a gzipped tar archive.
These members must occur in this exact order. Current implementations should ignore any additional members after data.tar.gz. Further members may be defined in the future, and (if possible) will be placed after these three. Any additional members that may need to be inserted before data.tar.gz and which should be safely ignored by older programs, will have names starting with an underscore, `_'.
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