This post goes over the creation of a debian package containing shell scripts using
debuild. Starting from structuring the packaging directory to building the final debian package, this tutorial covers the process of creating a debian package with just a few simple steps.
We’ll start by creating the directory where all the work will be done. This specially named directory is used by the
dh_make command to generate the debian boilerplate and control files. We then edit the
debian/install file to include the scripts to be installed by the package we’re creating and their install location on the target system. We finish by using the
debuild command to build the package containing our shell script(s).
You can skip ahead and clone a git repository containing the code from this tutorial:
Tools necessary for this tutorial:
debuild tool is installed via the
Packaging a shell script
Setting up the package directory
We’re going to create and move into the directory where all the work will be done.
dh_make uses the current directory name to populate certain fields in the
debian/control file. This means the current directory must be named in the format
<package>-<version> (i.e. greetings-0.1). You can alternatively force the pacakage name by passing the
-p flag (
--packagename) to the
According to the description in the
dh_make man page:
Now, let’s move the shell script into the directory we just created:
Our directory should look something like this:
Creating the Debian boilerplate using
We’re going to leverage the
dh_make tool to create the original source archive (greetings_0.1.orig.tar.gz) and generate the necessary debian boilerplate files.
Set $DEBEMAIL and $DEBFULLNAME environment variables for dh_make (Optional)
These values will be used to populate the fields in control and changelog files. This step is optional, but will save you some time when editing the generated debian boilerplate.
dh_make to create the debian packaging structure
Since we’re just packaging a shell script, we’re going to pass
dh_make a couple of flags to get us where we need to be. From inside our
greetings-0.1 directory, run the following:
--indep flag for
--indep flag will tell
dh_make that we intend to create a binary that can be shared across all cpu architectures.
--createorig flag for
--createorig flag will take the current directory (
./greetings-0.1) and create an original source archive necessary for building the package. The source archive will be placed in the parent directory (
After running the
dh_make command above, you’ll have an original source archive in the parent directory and a
debian directory inside
greetings-0.1 directory should look something like this:
Debian example files with the .ex and .EX extensions and READMEs have been removed from this tutorial
From the dh-make man page: 'dh_make will also generate example files that are also customized for the package generated. You can remove all files with *.ex if you wish. You can also delete the README.Debian file if you don't have anything to put in it. Renaming the example files to their name without the .ex at the end (and editing them if necessary) will activate that feature of debhelper.'
debian/install file isn’t created with the other boilerplate files via
dh_make. We need this file to tell
debuild which files are to be included with this package. So, let’s create the
debian/install file and edit it:
hi.sh is placed into
usr/bin on the installing system (the computer installing our soon-to-be created package). You can read more about the
debian/install file here.
Package multiple scripts into one debian package
To package multiple scripts into a debian package, simply move those scripts into the directory (
greetings-0.1) and make additional entries to the
debian/install file. Once the files are in place, run the
dh_make command with the
--createorig flags to create a source archive with the newly added shell scripts.
You can also glob the shell scripts together in the
debian/install file if you prefer **
Building the package using
Now that our
debian directory is ready to go, let’s use the
debuild tool to bring it all together and get an installable package:
-uc flags for
Using these flags tells
debuild to proceed without GPG signing any
Refer to our other post on this topic: GPG signing debian packages with debsign.
Much like creating packages for your applications, creating packages for your shell scripts allow them to be easily distributed and installed. Plus, they can be easily rolled back in case an error is found. Using tools like
debuild can make packaging your
.deb quite easy. Building packages from the ground up can prove to be a tedious task, so using tools like the ones in this tutorial can help take the pain out of creating debian packages.