Packaging Guide Feedback

Steve Kowalik stevenk at
Wed Oct 17 05:26:02 BST 2007

Jono Bacon wrote:
> Well, tonight I made my very first steps into learning how to package.
> To do this I used the packaging guide, and while using it, I made a
> bunch of notes where things could be clearer. Here they are:

Great! I've not read the packaging guide in *years*, but I'll try and
answer some of your questions.

>  * Instead of 822-date, should use date -R

822-date is used for hysterical raisins -- date -R is a GNU-ism, so dpkg
ships 822-date that does the same thing in perl.

>  * rules file should be explained in much more detail, the guide just
> skims over it, this should be explained line by line, particularly the
> binary-arch section which specifies how the package should be built

I agree with you -- rules is just a Makefile, but it should go through
the targets that are required to be present and what they should do.

>  * when I built the source package I had changelog problem, but I copied
> over the changelog from the ubuntu package and edited it, and it worked

Changelog problem?

>  * lintian is explained at the end of the page, but it is not explained
> how to understand the output of it and how it can help fix problems

The simplest thing to do is run 'lintian -i <.deb|.dsc|.changes>' which
will give you a paragraph about the error or warning.

>  * when it says "2. Creates the basic files needed in debian/ and many
> template files (.ex) that may be needed." - what are these .ex files and
> why are some .ex and some .EX?

They are example files -- rename them without the suffix and use them or
just bin them.

>  * it also seems the distro name is 'unstable' in the changelog that is
> generated by debhelper - do I need to change it to 'gutsy'?

The distro name is the target you are uploading to -- in Debian's case
it is always unstable, but in Ubuntu you mention which release you're
targetting, so in your case, yes, change it to gutsy.

>  * in the control file, the guide mentions Build-Depends - this is new,
> what is it?

Build-Depends are what this package requires to build. Things mentioned
here is stuff like debhelper (if you use, you don't need to), and -dev
packages for libraries you link against.

>  * when using my pbuilder for the second build (the debhelper build),
> does the debhelper build have its own pbuilder and therefore the package
> will check dependencies and download them again? this should be
> clarified.

I'm sorry, parse error.

<bob2> joy hasn't spoken on IRC in 45 seconds, he must be MIA!

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