|showpkgpkg…||displays information about the packages listed on the command line . Remaining arguments are package names. The available versions and reverse dependencies of each package listed are displayed, as well as forward dependencies for each version. Forward (normal) dependencies are those packages upon which the package in question depends; reverse dependencies are those packages that depend upon the package in question. Thus, forward dependencies must be satisfied for a package, but reverse dependencies need not be. For instance, apt-cache showpkg libreadline2 would produce output similar to the following:
Package: libreadline2 Versions: 2.1-12(/var/state/apt/lists/foo_Packages), Reverse Depends: libreadlineg2,libreadline2 libreadline2-altdev,libreadline2 Dependencies: 2.1-12 - libc5 (2 5.4.0-0) ncurses3.0 (0 (null)) Provides: 2.1-12 - Reverse Provides:
Thus it may be seen that libreadline2, version 2.1-12, depends on libc5 and ncurses3.0 which must be installed for libreadline2 to work. In turn, libreadlineg2 and libreadline2-altdev depend on libreadline2. If libreadline2 is installed, libc5, and ncurses3.0 (and ldso) must also be installed; libreadlineg2 and libreadline2-altdev do not have to be installed. For the specific meaning of the remainder of the output it is best to consult the apt source code.