whohas is a command line tool that allows querying several package lists at once.
whohas is written in Perl and was designed to help package maintainers find ebuilds, pkgbuilds and similar package definitions from other distributions to learn from. However, it can also be used by normal users who want to know:
- Which distribution provides packages on which the user depends.
- What version of a given package is in use in each distribution, or in each release of a distribution (implemented only for Debian).
It is suggested you use Unix command line tools to enhance your search results. whohas is optimised for fast execution. This is done by threading, and the order of results cannot be guaranteed. To nonetheless get a standardised output, alphabetically sorted by distribution, use the sort tool:
whohas gimp | sort
You can use grep to improve your search results. Depending on whether you want only packages whose names begin with your search term, end with your search term, or exactly match, you would use a space before, after or on both sides of your search term, respectively:
whohas gimp | sort | grep " gimp"
whohas vim | sort | grep "vim "
whohas gimp | sort | grep " gimp "
The spaces will ensure that only results for the package gimp are displayed, not for gimp-print etc.
If you want results for a particular distribution only, do
whohas arch | grep "^Arch"
Output for each module will still be ordered, so you don't need to sort results in this case, although you may wish to do so for some distributions. Distribution names are abbreviated as "Arch", "Debian", "Fedora", "Gentoo", "Slackware", "SMGL" (Source Mage Linux) and FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.
Output in version 0.1 looked like this. The first column is the name of the distribution, the second the name of the package, the third the version number, then the date, repository name and a url linking to more information about the package. Future versions will have package size information, too. Column lengths are fixed, so you can use cut:
whohas vim | grep " vim " | cut -b 36-45
The first bytes of the data fields at the time of writing are 11, 37, 48, 53, 64 and 76.
Debian refers to the binary distribution. Slackware queries Current only. Binary sizes for Fedora are package sizes - space needed on disk will be greater by about factor 2. Binary sizes for Debian are unpacked sizes. All details (including availability, version numbers and binary sizes) are for the x86 architecture.
Debian version numbers in rare cases may not be for x86 (will be fixed). Gentoo version availability may not be for x86 (will be fixed). I recommend you consult the URLs provided in the output, which give detailed and accurate information about each package. You may want to use a terminal that recognises hyperlinks and allows easy access through the browser, such as gnome-terminal.
For Fedora, only release 4 is enabled by default, and only the most up to date package will be listed if different versions are available.
I would like to encourage distributors at this time to provide web query interfaces to package lists, and specifically provide the following information: package name, version, date, size and a url to further information (maintainer, build information etc.)
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What's New in This Release:
- All but two of the existing package collection query modules have been brought up to date.