[LAD] Build and get your package in Debian/ Ubuntu (was Re: [LAU] Join the Debian Multimedia Team! (to improve the state of Linux audio))

Hans Fugal hans at fugal.net
Wed Apr 1 12:34:34 UTC 2009

Grammostola Rosea wrote:

> Changed the title, cause it's an important discussion opened by Fraser imo.
> \r

I think it is, too. I've maintained a few Debain packages in the past
(don't have time at the moment), so I can weigh in.

The documentation is out there, but unless you're an aspiring debian
maintainer it's not easy to find nor very accessible. It's a pity,
because there are a few things you can do as an upstream author to make
debian packaging really simple, and it's not rocket science.

I'm going from memory here, but I think these are the most important
things you can do:

1. Make it easy to install to an arbitrary location, a la --prefix with

2. Put stuff in the right places under that prefix (see the FHS or
section 9.1 of the Debian policy manual).

3. Documentation - especially man pages which are required for all
binaries (even if they just refer to online documentation or info
pages). This requirement is often skipped for Ubuntu-only packages which
makes me as a user sad. It's also very helpful (for maintainers and
users alike) if you give a list of dependencies in your README.

4. Use a sane versioning scheme - one that monotonically increases and
has the most significant parts first and doesn't use funky characters.
So, if you base it on a date, 2009-04-01 or 20090401, not 1/4/2009. See
section 5.6.12 of the debian policy manual.

It can also be especially convenient if you use a distributed version
control system, esp. git, but a good maintainer should be able to work
with tarballs or whatever system you use. Encourage the debian
maintainer to pass along patches or bugs and not keep them to himself,
and consider keeping the debian/ directory in upstream (in ideal cases
everything needed for debian packetization is there in debian/ - out of
the way of non-debian users - and none of your sources need to be patched)

Hope that helps.

1. http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/
2. http://www.pathname.com/fhs/
3. http://www.debian.org/doc/maint-guide/

Hans Fugal ; http://hans.fugal.net

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
    -- Johann Sebastian Bach

More information about the Linux-audio-dev mailing list