How-To Geek

See What Version of a Package Is Installed on Ubuntu

The package management system on Ubuntu makes it extremely simple to install and remove packages, but sometimes it’s important to figure out what version of a particular package that you actually have installed.

The apt-get utilities are simply a front-end to the debian dpkg utility, which actually does the real work. You can use this utility to figure out what version is installed.

dpkg -s <packagename>

Here’s an example, where I was trying to figure out what version of Ruby I had installed on my system:

geek@ubuntuServ:~$ dpkg -s ruby1.8

Package: ruby1.8
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: interpreters
Installed-Size: 272
Maintainer: Ubuntu Core Developers <>
Architecture: i386
Version: 1.8.4-5ubuntu1.2
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.4-1), libruby1.8 (>= 1.8.4)
Suggests: ruby1.8-examples, rdoc1.8, ri1.8
Description: Interpreter of object-oriented scripting language Ruby 1.8
Ruby is the interpreted scripting language for quick and easy
object-oriented programming. It has many features to process text
files and to do system management tasks (as in perl). It is simple,
straight-forward, and extensible.
This package provides version 1.8 series of Ruby.
On Debian, Ruby 1.8 is provided as separate packages. You can get
full Ruby 1.8 distribution by installing following packages.
ruby1.8 ruby1.8-dev ri1.8 rdoc1.8 irb1.8 ruby1.8-elisp
ruby1.8-examples libdbm-ruby1.8 libgdbm-ruby1.8 libtcltk-ruby1.8
libopenssl-ruby1.8 libreadline-ruby1.8
Original-Maintainer: akira yamada <>

You can see that I’ve got version 1.8.4 installed.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/16/06

Comments (5)

  1. amir

    apt-show-versions is a gem of a tool
    (you need to sudo apt-get install apt-show-versions)

    apt-show-versions -a

    lists all available versions on the apt repository servers (aswell as the installed version, if there is one)

    This is occasionally very useful

  2. amir

    The previous comment was supposed to show the example as:

    apt-show-versions -a <packagename>

    I hope that works better!! Wot no preview?!

  3. amir

    that’s better. Here’s what the output looks like

    amir@amir-desktop:~$ apt-show-versions -a ruby
    ruby 1.8.2-1 install ok installed
    No stable version
    ruby 1.8.2-1 dapper
    ruby/dapper uptodate 1.8.2-1

  4. lonny27

    dpkg is also a good option, especially if you don’t know the exact package name

    :~$ dpkg -l
    or in combination with grep
    :~$ dpkg -l | grep ruby
    or if you expecting a lot of matches
    :~$ dpkg -l | grep lib | less

    you can also use regular expression patterns with grep

  5. thahir1986

    great work…thanks

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