alien(1L)                                                            alien(1L)

       alien - Install / Patch an alien binary package

       alien [-n] [-i] alien-package-file
       alien [-i] --patch=patch alien-package-file
       alien -g [--patch=patch] alien-package-file
       alien -s [--patch=patch] alien-package-file

       alien allows foreign packages to be installed under the debian package
       Commonly alien is simply called with a parameter giving the alien
       packagename to be installed. A look up will then be done in
       /var/lib/alien/packagename*.diff.gz .  If such a diff exists then the
       alien package is unpacked, the patch is applied, a temporary .deb
       package generated and finally installed. If there is no such diff then
       alien will fail (unless the -n option is given).

       With the -n option the optimistic assumption is made that the alien
       package will work without any changes under the Debian scheme of
       things. If things break then you can simply uninstall the package using
       the debian package manager.

       With the -g option a package layout suitable for the development of
       patches is created from the alien package. A directory packagename.orig
       and a directory <packagename> is generated. Changes can be made to the
       packagename directory and all commonly used tools for sourcepackages
       will work on the packet. For example a .deb file can be generated using
       debian/rules binary and can then be installed in a regular way. Even
       dpkg-buildpackage will generate the usual files.

       The -s option works exactly like -g, except the packagename.orig
       directory is not made, and so a diff file will not be generated when
       the package is built.  This is useful if you are very low on disk space
       (or the package is very large), and you can't fit too copies of the
       package on your disk.

       This tool probably needs to be run as superuser. Make sure that there
       is enough room in the current directory since alien will build a debian
       package in that location.

       alien supports the Red Hat .rpm format, Slackware .tgz formant and the
       generic .tar.gz format. For the rpm format the Red Hat Package Manager
       must be installed (See rpm(8) ). Note that for the .tar.gz format,
       alien will simply generate a .deb package that has the same files in it
       as the tar file. This only works well if the tar file has precompiled
       binaries in it in a standard linux directory tree. Do NOT run alien on
       tar files with source code in them.

       Installation scripts for rpm packages are not supported.

       When running alien on a tar file, all files in /etc in are assumed to
       be configuration files.

       -n, --nopatch, --auto
              Assume the alien package can be installed without any patches.

       -g, --generate
              Generate a source package suitable for patching and moving
              binaries around

       -s, --single
              Like -g, but do not generate the packagename.orig directory.

              Specify the patch to be used instead of automatically looking
              the patch up in /var/lib/alien

       -i, --noinstall
              Do not install the generated .deb file; leave it in the current

       -h, --help
              Display a short usage summary.

       Alien was written by Christoph Lameter <>

       It is now being maintained by Joey Hess <>

DEBIAN                         Debian Utilities                      alien(1L)