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Re: Debianizing tarballs: a Big Deal or a routine skill?

On Tue, 21 Nov 2000, Stan Kaufman wrote:

> There have been a number of threads lately about where to find info
> about how to create a .deb package from source. What I'd like to hear
> from people who do this regularly is how complex and involved this is.
> Now obviously the estimate will depend on one's skills, so please no
> flames. But here is what I think is a reasonable scale: compiling a new
> kernel is a routine skill that any Debian user should have (particularly
> with how easy the kernel-package and related tools make the process),
> whereas reading through the kernel's C source to figure out the answer
> to some configuration question is *not*.

I would say it is more complicated than making a kernel package but in
most cases not much more complicated -- especially if an older version of
the application has already been debianized.  The key skills to have are a
good knowledge of shell scripting and Makefiles.

> Here's an example why this is important, IMHO. I'm using PostgreSQL,
> installed from the .deb at debian.org. I want to recompile it to
> configure the memory block size, plus use the latest version. The .deb
> maintainer will eventually do the latter task (and my hat is off to all
> the dedicated folks out there doing this!). But they won't necessarily
> configure things the way I need.

This kind of thing is easy because you are keeping the structure of the
official .deb just changing some of the configuration parameters.

> A similar example: pppoe. The .deb version is 1.0-1, but Roaring Penguin
> has a tarball of version 2.3. I'd like to upgrade.

whether this is easy depends on whether Roaring Penguin has kept the same
file structure and build system or not.  If they have, you can probably
take the Debian infrastructure as is and just up the version number.  If
not you will have more work on your hands.

> In both cases, it makes most sense to maintain a system the Debian way,
> not partly by hand. I want dselect to remain happy whenever it touches
> my system! So rather than just compile and install the tarballs, I'd
> like to debianize them first.

This is very sensible and will save you a lot of time in the long run.  If
you are the type who is comfortable with building from source tarballs,
I'm sure you won't find it too hard to progress to building .debs.

> Since this seems to be a widespread situation, I want to figure out how
> to do this process. I'd be happy to write up a mini-HOWTO. But before I
> start, I'd like to know what I'm running into.

The New Maintainers Guide (package: maint-guide) already has a lot of this
information and is comprehensive enough for simple packages.  IMO you
should work on enhancing that rather than starting a parallel effort.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar@debian.org>

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