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Notes for whohas

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Philipp L. Wesche

whohas is a command line tool that allows querying several package lists at once - currently supported are Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Mageia, Mandriva, openSUSE, Slackware, Source Mage, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Fink, MacPorts and Cygwin. whohas is written in Perl and was designed to help package maintainers find ebuilds, pkgbuilds and similar package definitions from other distributions to learn from. However, it can also be used by normal users who want to know:

  • Which distribution has packages available for apps upon whom the user depends.
  • What version of a given package is in use in each distribution, or in each release of a distribution (implemented only for Debian).

whohas gives urls to more details about the package. I recommend using a terminal that recognises hyperlinks and allows easy forwarding to the browser.

You can use grep to improve your search results:

whohas gimp | grep "gimp "

The space will ensure that only results for the package gimp are displayed, not for gimp-print etc.

whohas gimp | grep Arch
whohas gimp | grep -i arch

Either one of the above will display results for Arch Linux only. If you are interested in the search term or package arch, and want results for Arch Linux only,

whohas arch | grep "^Arch"

Example output:

[phil@epistasis whohas_release]$ whohas gaim
Arch      gaim                      1.4.0-1    10-07-2005 Current
Arch      gaim-encryption           2.38-1     14-06-2005 Extra
Arch      festival-gaim             1.1-1                 community
Arch      gaim-latex                0.3-1                 unsupported
Arch      gaim-otr                  2.0.2-1               unsupported
Arch      gaim-xmms                 0.33-1                unsupported
Arch      guifications              2.9-1                 unsupported
Debian    gaim                      1                     oldstable
Debian    gaim                      1                     stable
Debian    gaim                      1                     testing
Debian    gaim                      1                     unstable
Debian    gaim-autoprofile          2.10-1                testing
Debian    gaim-autoprofile          2.10-2                unstable
Debian    gaim-common               1                     oldstable
Debian    gaim-data                 1                     stable
Debian    gaim-data                 1                     testing
Debian    gaim-data                 1                     unstable
Debian    gaim-dev                  1                     stable
Debian    gaim-dev                  1                     testing
Debian    gaim-dev                  1                     unstable
Debian    gaim-encryption           2.36-3                stable
Debian    gaim-encryption           2.37-1                testing
Debian    gaim-encryption           2.38-1                unstable
Debian    gaim-extendedprefs        0.4-4                 stable
Debian    gaim-extendedprefs        0.4-4                 testing
Debian    gaim-extendedprefs        0.4-6                 unstable
Debian    gaim-gnome                1                     oldstable
Debian    gaim-guifications         2.10-1                stable
Debian    gaim-guifications         2.10-1                testing
Debian    gaim-guifications         2.10-1                unstable
Debian    gaim-meanwhile            1.2.3-1               testing
Debian    gaim-meanwhile            1.2.3-1               unstable
Debian    gaim-otr                  2.0.1-1               stable
Debian    gaim-otr                  2.0.2-1               testing
Debian    gaim-otr                  2.0.2-1               unstable
Debian    gaim-themes               0.1-1                 stable
Debian    gaim-themes               0.1-1                 testing
Debian    gaim-themes               0.1-1                 unstable
Gentoo    gaim-blogger              1.0.0      22-03-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-bnet                 0.1.1      04-03-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-bnet                 0.1.0      17-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-meanwhile            1.2.3      14-06-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-meanwhile            1.2.2      04-05-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-meanwhile            1.2.0      10-04-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-meanwhile            1.0.2      08-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-snpp                 0.8.0      21-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-assistant            0.09       06-01-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-assistant            0.07       06-01-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-encryption           2.38       12-07-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-encryption           2.37       13-05-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-encryption           2.36       07-07-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-encryption           2.35       27-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-encryption           2.34       24-01-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-encryption           2.32-r1    07-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-extprefs             0.4-r1     04-06-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-extprefs             0.4        30-03-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-latex                0.3        17-06-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-otr                  2.0.2      17-05-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-otr                  2.0.1      30-03-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-otr                  2.0.0      10-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-otr                  1.0.3      09-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-rhythmbox      21-10-2004   
Gentoo    gaim-xmms-remote          1.8        29-10-2004   
Gentoo    gaim-xmms-remote          1.7        21-10-2004   
Gentoo    gaimosd                   1.0.0      18-02-2005   
Gentoo    gaim-smileys              20031002   24-06-2004   
Gentoo    autoprofile               2.10       21-10-2004   
Gentoo    bangexec            21-06-2005   
Gentoo    bangexec                  1.3.0      21-04-2005   
Gentoo    bangexec                  1.1.4      03-04-2005   
Gentoo    guifications              2.10       10-04-2005   
Gentoo    guifications              2.9        11-02-2005   
Gentoo    guifications              2.8        07-02-2005   
Gentoo    ignorance           13-07-2005   
Gentoo    ignorance                 1.3.0      21-04-2005   
Slackware gaim                      1.4.0-i486            slackware

The first column is the name of the distribution, the second the name of the package, the third the version number, then the date, repository name and a url linking to more information about the package. Future versions will have package size information, too. Column lengths are fixed, so you can use cut:

whohas vim | grep " vim " | cut -b 36-45

The first bytes of the data fields at the time of writing are 11, 37, 48, 59 and 71.

I would like to encourage distributors at this time to provide web query interfaces to package lists, and specifically provide the following information: package name, version, date, size and a url to further information (maintainer, build information etc.)

Additional remarks: Debian refers to the binary distribution. Slackware queries Current only. All details (including availability, version numbers and binary sizes) are for the x86 architecture, although this cannot be assured for either Debian or Gentoo in the current version of whohas. I recommend you consult the URLs provided in the output.

Bug reports may be sent to

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