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Many packages in the Debian repositories have two versions: the core package and a "dev" version of it (suffixed with -dev).

My question is, does a repo's -dev package always contain all of the files that the core package does? And, if so, would I only need the -dev package?

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No it does not. – terdon Mar 31 '13 at 2:56
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The -dev packages should contain sources and usually information on how to compile/work with those sources, but they should not contain binary files. Unless you really know what you're doing, using the binary files is recommended over compiling from source. – oKtosiTe Mar 31 '13 at 9:00
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Incorrect, the *-dev packages generally contain more documentation, binary archive files, and header files.....any information that might be of use in a compilation and debug setting. Non *-dev packages generally contain the basic commands, and the shared libraries.

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