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6.3. The apt-cache Command

The apt-cache command can display much of the information stored in APT's internal database. This information is a sort of cache since it is gathered from the different sources listed in the sources.list file. This happens during the apt-get update operation.
The apt-cache command can do keyword-based package searches with apt-cache search keyword. It can also display the headers of the package's available versions with apt-cache show package. This command provides the package's description, its dependencies, the name of its maintainer, etc. Note that aptitude search and aptitude show work in the same way.
Some features are more rarely used. For instance, apt-cache policy displays the priorities of package sources as well as those of individual packages. Another example is apt-cache dumpavail which displays the headers of all available versions of all packages. apt-cache pkgnames displays the list of all the packages which appear at least once in the cache.