get the full description of a randomly selected package from the list of installed packages on a debian system

dpkg-query --status $(dpkg --get-selections | awk '{print NR,$1}' | grep -oP "^$( echo $[ ( ${RANDOM} % $(dpkg --get-selections| wc -l) + 1 ) ] ) \K.*")
I put this command on my ~/.bashrc in order to learn something new about installed packages on my Debian/Ubuntu system each time I open a new terminal
Sample Output
$ dpkg-query --status $(dpkg --get-selections | awk '{print NR,$1}' | grep -oP "^$( echo $[ ( ${RANDOM} % $(dpkg --get-selections| wc -l) + 1 ) ] ) \K.*")
Package: init
Status: install ok installed
Priority: important
Section: metapackages
Installed-Size: 19
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <>
Architecture: amd64
Multi-Arch: foreign
Source: init-system-helpers
Version: 1.51
Depends: init-system-helpers (>= 1.25)
Pre-Depends: systemd-sysv
Description: metapackage ensuring an init system is installed
 This package is a metapackage which allows you to select from the available
 init systems while ensuring that one of these is available on the system at
 all times.
Original-Maintainer: Debian systemd Maintainers <>
Important: yes

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nicolasconner · 21 weeks and 5 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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