dpkg-split - Linux


dpkg-split is a command designed to split Debian package files into smaller chunks. It can be particularly useful when transferring large packages over networks with limited bandwidth or when storing them on systems with restricted storage space.


dpkg-split [options] <package-file>


  • -b block-size
    Specifies the block size in bytes for the split files. The default block size is 10240 (10 KB).

  • -c count
    Divides the package into a specified number of equal-sized chunks.

  • -d directory
    Sets the directory where the split files will be stored. The default directory is the current working directory.

  • -m max-size
    Sets the maximum size of each split file.

  • -z
    Compresses the split files using gzip.

  • -j number
    Uses up to the given number of parallel jobs to accelerate the splitting process.


Example 1: Split a package into equal-sized chunks:

dpkg-split -c 4 my-package.deb

This will create four files named my-package.deb.1, my-package.deb.2, my-package.deb.3, and my-package.deb.4 in the current directory.

Example 2: Split a package into files with a maximum size of 10 MB:

dpkg-split -m 10M my-large-package.deb

This will create multiple split files, ensuring each is no larger than 10 MB.

Common Issues

  • Error: Unable to open package file: This error occurs when the specified package file is missing or corrupted. Verify the package file’s existence and integrity.

  • Error: Cannot write to output directory: Ensure that the specified output directory exists and has write permissions.

  • Split files are too large: Adjust the block size or maximum size options to reduce the size of the split files.


dpkg-split can be used in conjunction with other commands for advanced tasks. For instance:

  • Split and compress a package for network transfer:
dpkg-split -z -b 10k my-package.deb | pv | nc remote-host 1234
  • Split a package for storage on a small device:
dpkg-split -c 4 -d /storage/usb-drive my-package.deb

Related Commands

  • dpkg – Manages Debian packages and repositories
  • dpkg-deb – Manipulates Debian package archives
  • ar – Creates, modifies, and extracts archive files