source - ubuntu packages

How to build a Debian/Ubuntu package from source? (7)

How can I check if I have listed all the dependencies correctly?

The pbuilder is an excellent tool for checking both build dependencies and dependencies by setting up a clean base system within a chroot environment. By compiling the package within pbuilder, you can easily check the build dependencies, and by testing it within a pbuilder environment, you can check the dependencies.

I have the source of a program (taken from cvs/svn/git/...) and I'd like to build a Debian/Ubuntu package for it. The package is present in the repositories, but:

  • It is an older version (lacking features I need)
  • I need slightly different compile options than the default.

What is the easiest way of doing it? I am concerned about a couple of things

  • How can I check if I have listed all the dependencies correctly? (I can get some hints by looking on what the older version depended, but new dependencies may have been added.)
  • How I can I prevent the update system installing the older version in the repo on an update?
  • How I can prevent the system installing a newer version (when its out), overwriting my custom package?

Here is a tutorial for building a Debian package.

Basically, you need to:

  1. Set up your folder structure
  2. Create a control file
  3. Optionally create postinst or prerm scripts
  4. Run dpkg-deb

I usually do all of this in my Makefile so I can just type make to spit out the binary and package it in one go.

For what you want to do, you probably want to use the debian source diff, so your package is similar to the official one apart from the upstream version used. You can download the source diff from, or can get it along with the .dsc and the original source archive by using "apt-get source".

Then you unpack your new version of the upstream source, change into that directory, and apply the diff you downloaded by doing

zcat ~/downloaded.diff.gz | patch -p1
chmod +x debian/rules

Then make the changes you wanted to compile options, and build the package by doing

dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -us -uc

I believe this is the Debian package 'bible'.

Well, it's the Debian new maintainer's guide, so a lot of it won't be applicable, but they do cover what goes where.

  • put "debian" directory from original package to your source directory
  • use "dch" to update version of package
  • use "debuild" to build the package