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The debian directory in upstream sources.

Hi all,

It seems a hard problem to understand what a native and a non-native
debian package is. And get through the trouble if upstream provide a
debian directory in the source. I'll try to explain:

1. Non-Native Debian Package

A non-native debian source package contains a dsc, diff.gz and a
orig.tar.gz file.

The version for a non-native debian package looks like
UpstreamVersion-DebianVersion for example: 2.8-1

In the dsc file contains fields containing information about the debian
package it also contains information about the md5sums of the files.

In the diff.gz:
These are the modifications you made to the package. It contains the
debian directory and the modifications you made to the source tree, if
you make use of some patch system like dpatch you have only the debian
directory in it.

In the orig.tar.gz:
This is the upstream tarball. Never ever make changes to this tarball,
they should go into the diff.gz.

2. Native Debian Package:

The Version number for a debian native package is only the version, it
doesn't have a debian revision number or something, it looks like: 2.8

A native package contains only a dsc and a orig.tar.gz file.

Native debian packages are often accidentally built when upstream
tarball (.orig.tar.gz) is named incorrectly.

3. When using a native and when using a non-native debian package

But when using a native package and when a non-native package:
If upstream is not actively involved to debian development then it's
non-native debian package. A few examples of normal packages are: libc6,
apache, phpmyadmin. But linda, lintian, dpkg and some other tools are
purely developed for debian.

4. Now the big problem:

It seems that upstream has an debian directory. With upstream i mean the
people who write the source code and maintain it. Most of the time these
packages are faulty, they have lintian/linda errors and such. It is hard
to modify the debian directory. (Specially for New Maintainers)

What to do in this situation: Ask upstream that they remove or rename
the directory to something else. Or ask them to remove the debian
directory from the released source (so that the orig.tar.gz doesn't
contain the debian directory). Last option: you can ask for repository
access. So that you can work on a real debian package.

I hope this will explain a little bit about native and non native debian


Matthijs Mohlmann

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