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I have a ext2 partition on CF card to use in external device. I've inserted this card into my PC and mount it as /mnt/linux. I've installed (extracted) a linux distribution to this partition. And I want to add some .deb packages to this partition. How should I do this? Is it possible?

The alternative way I use: I copy .deb packages into /mnt/linux/tmp dir, then insert CF card into external device, and install cd /tmp; dpkg -i XXX.deb from this device.

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Do a chroot /mnt/linux and instal there? (Would need the deb machinery in there, perhaps mounted from the outside). This more or less assumes you have a full Debian installtion in there. – vonbrand May 2 '13 at 11:01
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As vonbrand suggested, assuming you have a working Debian install on the CF card, you should be able to chroot to it and install normally:

sudo chroot /mnt/linux
sudo dpkg -i XXX.deb 
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This is the command I'm looking for. Thank you. – egor7 May 2 '13 at 14:37
But how can I change the base_os archive, without mounting CF card? I have a base os for CF-card in base_os.tgz file, then I put it into mounted (in /mnt/linux) CF-card via tar zxvf base_os.tgz -C /mnt/linux. – egor7 May 2 '13 at 14:42
Not sure what you mean, for the chroot to work, you need to chroot to a directory that contains a working Linux system (things like /bin/bash etc). – terdon May 2 '13 at 14:44

You can use the --root option of dpkg to specify the directory where the target root filesystem is mounted.

In your case:

sudo dpkg --install --root=/mnt/linux XXX.deb

I've found that this invocation may produce the following error (not sure if this is a dpkg bug, or something related to the filesystem I'm using):

dpkg: error: unable to access dpkg status area: No such file or directory

The workaround is to use the --admindir option to specify the var/lib/dpkg. In your case:

sudo dpkg --install --root=/mnt/linux --admindir=/mnt/linux/var/lib/dpkg XXX.deb

This solution helps if you are building the filesystem and you cannot perform a chroot because the target filesystem is incomplete.

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