08. Converting between package formats alien

There are times you need to convert among tarbells, .rpm, and .deb. Not all software and packages are available on both platforms, so this is not uncommon. The command line tool that gets this done is the alien.


The alien program requires that you have both RPM and Debian package manager to convert between formats. Thus, install both using the appropriate yum or apt-get commands.

# apt-get install alien
# yum install alien


The syntax for alien is as follows:

$ alien [options] file[...]


Here are some of the commonly used options with alien.

Convert the specified package to Debian. This option is the default.
Convert to RPM.
Convert for Stampede Linux.
Convert to a Slackware tgz package.
Installs the converted package, then removes it.
Keep the version number of the generated package.
Verbose mode: display each command.

Converting rpm to deb and vice versa

As mentioned above, converting to .deb files is the default option.

# Converting to .deb
# alien packagename.rpm # Converting to rpm
# alien -r packagename.deb

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