Ubuntu: What is “Task” in the output of “apt-cache show package_name”?


When I run apt-cache show inkscape, the bottom of the output has:

Description-md5: fed6589659211fb40b80d03dda6e5675    Homepage: http://www.inkscape.org/    Description-md5: fed6589659211fb40b80d03dda6e5675    Bugs: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug    Origin: Ubuntu    Supported: 9m    Task: ubuntu-usb, edubuntu-desktop-gnome, edubuntu-usb, ubuntustudio-video, ubuntustudio-graphics    

But when I run apt-cache show pdfgrep, the line beginning with Task is absent:

Description-md5: 8c8a5397f782d81d957740280eb8f352  Homepage: http://pdfgrep.sourceforge.net/  Description-md5: 8c8a5397f782d81d957740280eb8f352  Bugs: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug  Origin: Ubuntu  

Why is the line beginning with Task present for some packages and not for others?


The Task field in your output means that the package is part of the task edubuntu-desktop-gnome for example.

This function is similar to that of meta-packages, and, in fact, most (but not all) of the tasks available from tasksel (task select) are also available as meta-packages.

To install tasksel type:

apt-get install tasksel  

You can list all available tasks with this command (output stripped), but tasksel must be installed first:

root@host:~# grep 'Task\|Description' /usr/share/tasksel/ubuntu-tasks.desc  ...  Task: minimal  Description: Minimal base system  ...  

You can also invoke tasksel as root by:

root@host:~# tasksel  


You may know this from the installation routine, because those "tasks" are normally installed during early system setup.

So, those packages in apt-cache show that have not the Task field (pdfgrep in your question) are not part of a task and will not be installed when you install a task via it's meta-package or tasksel. On the contrary inkscape is part of many different tasks, whose meaning you can find in /usr/share/tasksel/ubuntu-tasks.desc.

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