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When using Ubuntu 10.10 and installing a program using the Ubuntu Software Center, how do I locate what dirs the chosen software gets installed into? I'm new to linux and am used to windows just having C:\Program Files

I just installed an app and need to find all the places it installed to so I can edit its config file.

Thanks for any help.

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migrated from Jan 10 '11 at 7:27

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Most packages will install the actual binaries into directories named bin or sbin, e.g. /usr/bin/tcpdump or /sbin/iptables.

On a Debian-based system like Ubuntu, you can use the dpkg tool to display a list of files installed by the package:

dpkg -L vim on my machine produces the following output, for example:


In this case, typing vim from the command line will start the editor. To change which directories are searched, look at the $PATH shell variable. Config files are typically stored in /etc/, or will have example configs stored in /usr/share/ which you can edit and copy to another location.

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@John: Also, per-user configuration will typically be stored in the user's home directory. Sometimes these files or directories are created on the first run of the program by that user. Other times, if they are needed, you will have to create them yourself (they can be added to /etc/skel, for example). Examples include ~/.vimrc (file) and ~/.vim (directory) for vim, ~/.w3m (directory) for w3m and ~/.screenrc (file) for screen. – Dennis Williamson Jan 10 '11 at 6:51

Here is a link to a typical file hierarchy for Linux - extra information, but it may answer a question you haven't thought of yet.

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When you install packages from the software center they are all .deb packages, if you know the package then you can use

dpkg -L package

to know the files that were installed with that package.

If you want to know the location of a file that you know exists on that package you can search for it on the packages.

dpkg -S what_I_Look_For

This will search on all packages for the file you are looking for, this may be on several packages (with different paths).

Optionally, you can use

dpkg -L package |grep what_I_Look_for

Ubuntu/Debian and many other linux distribution don't let you choose where to install programs because there are standard directories for that.

If you want to install a program in a non-standard place, you must configure the sources and compile.

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