Following through with http://meta.askubuntu.com/q/10307/169736 we agreed that extension tags are far from useful in most cases, since you will always be referring to something that "creates, plays, views, edits, converts, and etc to/from that file type", so media-player, media-editor, media-converter, etc. but we still need a tag for questions about the debian package format itself.

It doesn't fit apt nor dpkg, since those tools doesn't actually envelop the debian package structure, and package management/manager sounds more about how these package interacts between them. So we need some sort of tag where people can ask about a package and don't give the idea that .xyz tags are good tags either, so I say lets go for .

BTW, I'm not very hung up on debian-package it can also be debian-packages (plural), whatever flies with me

  • Sounds like a good idea, especially since we already have click-packages.
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 13:27
  • I fail to see the value in these continual tag changing questions. First it's installation tag, gnome tags, and now deb. A tag by any other name would still have just as many unanswered questions.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 16:06
  • @ElderGeek just because you don't see the reason, it wouldn't produce results. The tags exist mainly to "connect experts with questions they will be able to answer". Unambiguous tagging will ultimately improve the amount of questions answered, since the experts will find the questions they want to answer. If you check out most of post about "how to find good questions" you will notice that the methods are mostly tag related.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 16:15
  • In this case? Really?
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 16:16
  • @ElderGeek there are several questions about apt/dpkg tagged with this tag which I found while writing this other discussion
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 16:18
  • 1
    I'll review it. Thanks!
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


For clarity's sake, I don't think is a good choice of name. It sounds like you're talking about packages in Debian to me, not the "Debian binary package format".

If this must be explicit, is much less ambiguous.

Though I'm not sure why we need -packages on the end of it at all. already exists and there's only one thing that deb means in Ubuntu. Further, that's how most format extensions seem to be currently handled, unless there's a really silly clash or dual meaning (like there would be with ).


The Tag:


is an file type tag. Questions that use it will either be about installing/getting a program in the debian package format, or about the debian package format (eg: modifying/extracting/creating .deb archives).

Installing/Getting Questions:

Installation based questions can be broken into 2 types: installing a specific program, and installing .deb files in general. Both of these are covered by more broadly by the tag.

Installing A Specific Program:

If a user is asking about installing a specific program from a .deb file then the question is really about installing the program and should therefore be tagged with the tag for that program (eg: ). Since some programs are released in multiple package formats and it can be helpful to mention which you are using when asking questions regarding how to install a program you're having trouble installing, but I'm not sure that justifies tagging all questions with package type tags (eg: or )?

For example does the tag really add anything useful to these questions:

This question is about the Ubuntu Software Center refusing to install .deb files. It's currently tagged , and . Does really do anything useful here? This question is about the Ubuntu Software Center which for the record only supports .deb files.

This question is about installing World Of Goo on Ubuntu. It's in .deb format, but as mentioned before does every question about installing a program really need to be tagged with the package format used. I think , and (if it existed) would be enough. It would different if there were 100s of package types to potentially install the same program from; under those circumstances I could see importance of making such tags.

Again this is a program specific question, and therefore why tag it .deb. Tags like and (if it existed) would work just fine.

Installing .deb Files In General:

These types of questions don't typically list a specific program to be installed, but state something like how can I install .deb files on this or like that. These questions are actually about a package managers, and package management which is covered by either the tag for the specific package manager the OP is using (eg: ,, or ) or in the case of not being specificed the tag could be used. Given the limited array of package types for Ubuntu do we really need to specify that .deb is being used? I think for the moment it's a step across the line of being specific and being overly specific.

For example does the tag really add anything useful to these questions:

This question is about installing .deb files using Synaptic. Keyword being Synaptic, and since synaptic only supports DEB archives what point is there in tagging it . Even if Synaptic supported other formats it would still be a Synaptic question, and would only generate a number of questions equating to the number of package formats so it's unlikely that enough questions could be made to justify sub-topics like using Synaptic to install debs instead of just using Synaptic to install software.

This question is about installing .deb files that are in a folder. This is actually a good example of using the tag. The question is about installing software, but more specifically programs using the debian package format. That said this is really a poorly worded question. The OP is looking for a program that can install .deb files from a folder. I think tags , and [package-manager] would work just fine.

This question is about python, and package management.

Questions About The Debian Package Format:

Questions about creating/modifying/extracting .deb files falls under the tag . Currently the tag is exclusive to debian packages, but if it were expanded beyond that to packaging of any format then the tag could be used in harmony with it. For example a question about using dpkg-buildpackage to build deb packages could be tagged , but as mentioned before that currently isn't the case because the packaging tag currently is only for debian packages making redundant on such questions. Even then deb isn't a package type, it's an extention for debian packages so the suggestion of using instead of makes sense to me, and I agree that it could help prevent promoting future creation of file type tags.

For example does the tag really add anything useful to these questions:

This question is about creating a debian package. It currently uses the and . Since is only for creating debian packages the tag is pointless.

This question has the same issue the above one does. It uses and . Also most questions about creating debian packages like this are poorly worded software requests where the OP needs a program to create a package, and instructions on how to use it. In this case the answer is about using dpkg-deb to create debian packages. So either simply would work, or (if it existed).


If the tag is to be kept I agree that a better name would be since that is a package type, deb on the other hand is merely the package type extention, but my vote is to kill it rather than rename. The only valid use I see it having is under the topic of packaging which currently would cause overlap since the is only for debian packages. Alternatively the tag could be edited to be non-debian-package specific.

The Tag:


The tag is a synonym tag currently pointing to . This makes sense since it's merely a pluralization of the word. I'm not sure if you are proposing to merge or with to create the newly suggested ?

The tag:

The tag is for "questions about software packages, installing them, removing them, updating them and finding them". which is broader than the which is a specific package type. Honestly I've browsed through several questions and I'm not sure what this tag does. It's often used with the tag which makes it seem kind of pointless to me, or a specific program tag because the user is looking for a download of the program. It's quite popular thought with 1,522 questions using it. It's not just for debian packages, you could also ask about .bundle files if you wanted. This tag is a step back, packages in general, then step forward to specifically debian packages. Potentially a question about finding a Mozilla Firefox download in the debian package format could be tagged , or a question about finding a VMware Player download could be tagged (if it existed).


I think it makes more sense to keep the tag as a synonym for the tag rather than combine it with the tag. Given that the tag is not restricted to debian package questions I see no point in merging it with the tag as many questions may not work.


I agree that renaming the tag to could help prevent promoting creation of file format tags. I also think that since deb is a file extention not a file type makes more sense. However the only questions I've seen that work well with it would be packaging related questions (most of which will be about using a given software to create a package). Currently the tag is debian package specific so this makes the combined use with the tag pointless. The tag could be changed to be non-specific, and then the tag would have a use. However under those circumstances I think the tag would be best described as one that "could be used" rather than one that is "needed". I therefore vote that the simply be removed, not renamed.

In regards to the tag. It's a synonym of and therefore I assume your were actually refering to the tag which is not specific to debian-packages so I don't think it works well to merge tags and / to create the tag as some questions may not be about debian packages.

  • Oops I accidentally wrote debian-packages in the summary instead of debian-package. Heads up I'm going to edit to fix this. Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 5:19
  • Why nobody reads the tag excerpts? "Questions about the Debian packaging format with the extension '.deb'. Packages for Ubuntu are provided in this format." Is about the format of the package, installation of the package, problems with the package manager, etc. are not part of the tag!
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 10:54
  • If we follow what you say, and do it consistently, each question about installing anything using APT/dpkg would have the deb tag. It shouldn't be like that. The deb tag is about specific questions of the "Debian binary package format" not about the "Debian binary package managers".
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 11:04
  • @Braiam No, that's not what he is saying. Did you read the whole thing?
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 15:42
  • @unorthodoxgrammar When you say you would prefer to just remove the deb tag, doors that mean remove it and create debian-package or remove it and not replace it?
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 15:44
  • @Seth that is what I understand by his post. And yes, I read the whole thing.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 16:20
  • @Braiam However the only questions I've seen that work well with it [the deb tag] would be packaging related questions (most of which will be about using a given software to create a package) for starters.
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 17:41
  • @Seth there's the packaging tag, so? Is he saying to use the [deb], or whatever tag will be next, for packaging questions?
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 17:50
  • 1
    @Braiam He is saying the only tags that he thinks go with the deb tags are questions about packaging, although he goes on to point out how even that doesn't really make sense. Nothing about the average apt/dpkg question.
    – Seth
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Braiam I did read the deb tag description; it's a fairly open tag. My statements like "Questions that use it will either be" are about both the tag's intended use, and how it's actually being used; my scope is broader than the description. I think you've misunderstood my remarks about software installation/package managers, as we both seem to be saying the same thing. I don't always word things well so perhaps that's where the confusion is coming from? Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 19:34
  • 1
    @Seth When I suggest removing the deb tag, I mean remove it as if it were Ned Stark's head [Game Of Thrones reference]. Kill the deb tag, and do not create the debian-package tag). Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 19:34
  • And that's why I don't agree with him @Seth, there are questions that can be asked about the "Debian package format" that won't fit any other tag.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 12:46

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