Warning:This article is out of date and should not be used for creating new packages. Please refer to the Debian New Maintainers Guide instead.

Making a Debian Package

Introduction and getting started.

One of the things that makes Debian such a top-notch Linux distribution is its' package system. While there is a vast quantity of software already in the Debian format, sometimes you need to install software that isn't. You may be wondering how you can make your own packages and perhaps you think it is a very difficult task. Well I've recently started working with Debian packages and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to make them. You do need to know a little about Unix programming but you certainly don't need to be a wizard.

This is the second version of this article. Nothing stands still in the Debian world so I've made some big changes to keep things accurate. I've also included some tips picked up from the Debian Users and Developers mailing lists or suggested by readers.

Before you start you will need to install and configure the following packages. I am assuming you are using Hamm currently the "unstable" distribution of Debian. Actually in this context unstable means "still in development." Hamm will become the next version of Debian (2.0)

These packages are in the devel section of the distribution.

This package is in the interpreters section of the distribution

These packages are in the utils section of the distribution

These packages are in the doc section of the distribution.

Also you need the encryption package pgp to digitally "sign" your package. This is especially important if you want to distribute your package to other people. However due to a rather wacky U.S. law, you cannot simply download this from your nearest Debian ftp site. The ftp site will however have a file called README.non-us in its root directory which will tell you how to get a copy of pgp.

The short descriptions I have given above only serve to introduce you to what each package does. Before continuing please thoroughly read the documentation of each program. It may seem like heavy going but later on you'll be glad you did.

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By Jaldhar Vyas
November 11, 1997