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I went to the Ubuntu wiki but got confused,there were too many ways. Please tell me an easy guide to Debian packaging.

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Do you want to create packages for your own use, on a specific computer, or for others to use? – andol Aug 6 '10 at 5:49
Which language is the software you'd like to package? – Umang Aug 6 '10 at 6:07
I have the same issue. Most of the tutorials and guides start with "get the upstream tarball". From this point on we are lost. We have a simple thing we want to deploy, there is no upstream tarball, there is no source code. its just a war file, some scripts, and some jar files. What is the upstream tar ball all about, and has anyone seen a guide NOT using one, which is comprehensive(e.g. deals with the issues of users) – John Little Nov 13 at 15:38
I'll go for the one I posted over StackOVerflow. – rsm Nov 17 at 5:52

6 Answers 6

up vote 51 down vote accepted

This is a good HOWTO for creating a basic .deb file. It is suitable for creating .deb files for personal use but not stringent enough if you want to the package to be included in Debian / Ubuntu - for that you should read the Debian New Maintainer's Guide and/or the Ubuntu Packaging Guide (which I believe you've already tried).

A good tool for checking your .deb file for compliance is lintian (installable from the repositories).

There were two sessions here in the Ask Ubuntu chatrooms.

The Basics of Packaging on Ubuntu (Packaging: Part 1)

Ubuntu Packaging for Launchpad PPAs (Packaging: Part 2)

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What parts are you having trouble with? Although complicated, the guide seemed quite clear when I was following it.

Quick Summary:

  • Extract source .tar.gz
  • Run dh_make
  • Edit debian files
  • Run debuild
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What confused me is, is this process the same no matter the source language or directory structure? – Seth Sep 26 '14 at 0:15
The crux is, we dont have a .tar.gz. we want to package an app we wrote. No guide seems to cover this, they all start with an "upstream tarball" which we dont have. – John Little Nov 13 at 15:40
@JohnLittle this answer may be of assistance: – Nathan Osman Nov 13 at 18:25

You can even use dpkg-deb for creating simple packages.

Here's a nice tutorial from Ubuntuforums.

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The very easiest way to package something is to use checkinstall.

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checkinstall provides a quick way to build debin binary package(.deb ) from a source install method. However it does not provide a proper debian package (built from a debian source package). – João Pinto Aug 6 '10 at 20:14
OH man.. I had to use that BEFORE compiling.. that's like hours of compiling. – ppumkin Feb 20 at 23:57

No, the simplest and clearest packaging guide in this world is

Few days ago, for my first application, I created DEB package by following this tutorial. Very clear and my app packaged succesfully. Yes, at least it is simplest for me.

You can compare it with Debian Packaging Guide.

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"Simple" does not mean "complete". There's a lot of policies a basic .deb packaging tutorial will not cover for different types of programs, and therefore packaging is not as easy as just a "simple tutorial". – Thomas W. Jul 7 '13 at 2:54
definitely simple. It got me started and I was able to create my first debian package within minutes. Still a lot of details to deal with (bad package quality messsages from lintian) but great starting point. – atmelino Nov 22 at 1:05

We posted the simplest how-to example for packaging here, things can get much more complicated with an upstream or opensource package but if it is your own simple app its very simple.

Here we package the text game dungeon with an icon and install into /opt

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