Parse::DebControl is an easy OO way to parse Debian control files and other colon separated key-value pairs. It's specifically designed to handle the format used in Debian control files, template files, and the cache files used by dpkg. . For basic format information see: http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-controlfields.html#s-controlsyntax . This module does not actually do any intelligence with the file content (because there are a lot of files in this format), but merely handles the format. It can handle simple control files, or files hundreds of lines long efficiently and easily.