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I have a single python script that I want to distribute as a deb package. It is a indicator which shows local date in Unity panel. I did follow create a .deb Package from scripts or binaries but I could not create a deb package because it fails.

Can someone give me a step-by-step instruction on what I should do? As far as I know this script depends on python-appindicator.

I do not want any links to Debian/Ubuntu packaging instructions. I have seen most of them. I don't find them beginner friendly.

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While Debian and Ubuntu packaging instructions aren't beginner friendly (trust me, I know), many GUI applications that create debs for you just turn up a bunch of errors when you run a final package checker, such as lintian. If you're serious about packaging, then toughing it out and working through the instructions is the best way to go :) – Thomas Boxley Dec 30 '11 at 14:03
I don't know about packaging, but the functionality you are trying to add is built in to Unity. – It's Willem Jun 7 '15 at 1:12
up vote 58 down vote accepted

What follows is a basic example of how a source package for a python script might look. While most of the packaging tutorials are a bit complex, they can really help if you hit a problem. That said, I first learned the basics of Debian packaging by simply looking at Debian packages. apt-get source something similar and learn by example.

Here's your basic source package layout:

    -- myScript
    -- debian/
        -- changelog
        -- copyright
        -- compat
        -- rules
        -- control
        -- install

Run dch --create in the directory to create a properly formatted debian/changelog entry.

debian/copyright should look like:

Upstream-Name: myScript
Upstream-Contact: Name, <email@address>

Files: *
Copyright: 2011, Name, <email@address>
License: (GPL-2+ | LGPL-2 | GPL-3 | whatever)
 Full text of licence.
 Unless there is a it can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses

debian/compat can just be: 7


#!/usr/bin/make -f

    dh $@ --with python2

Note that there must be "tab" before dh $@ --with python2, not spaces.


Source: my-script
Section: python
Priority: optional
Maintainer: Name, <email@address>
Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 7),
               python (>= 2.6.6-3~)
Standards-Version: 3.9.2
X-Python-Version: >= 2.6

Package: my-script
Architecture: all
Section: python
Depends: python-appindicator, ${misc:Depends}, ${python:Depends}
Description: short description
 A long description goes here.
 It can contain multiple paragraphs


myScript usr/bin/

This file indicates which file will be installed into which folder.

Now build it with debuild --no-tgz-check

This will create a functional deb package. Lintian is going to throw a few warnings regarding the lack of an orig.tar.gz, but unless you plan on creating a proper upstream project that makes tarball releases you'll probably just want to ignore that for now.

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As a packager (and a backporter), I package python scripts fairly often. I can safely say that this answer here is the most complete explanation of what to do to create a package for a single python script. – Thomas Ward Dec 31 '11 at 0:24
Could you also update it for Python 3? I guess we need to make changes in debian/rules and debian/control, but I am not sure about that. – Aditya Jan 3 '14 at 16:14
@Aditya, maybe a new question is in order for Python3? The answer wouldn't be very different, but this answer is aiming to be the simplest/bare minimum example of how to package a Python script. Not sure I want to clutter it up with multiple implementations. – andrewsomething Jan 3 '14 at 16:48
@andrewsomething: Then you might be interested in this one which prompted me to leave that comment... A bit of editing is required on that one, I would try my hand at it... – Aditya Jan 3 '14 at 16:50
AFAIK, there's no need to include Section: python twice. – Zaz Feb 13 '15 at 13:32
  1. create a folder with any name on your home eg: mypyscript
  2. Open the folder and create two folders with names 'DEBIAN' and 'usr'
  3. Open the folder DEBIAN. Create a text file (without extension) with name 'control' there.
  4. Open 'control' and type as follows and save it on DEBIAN

    Package: mypyscript
    Version: 0.01
    Architecture: all
    Maintainer: your name<your mail id>
    Installed-Size: 2
    Depends: python-appindicator
    Section: extras
    Priority: optional
    Homepage: your homepage
    Description: describe
  5. Back to the folder named mypyscript. Open 'usr'. Create a folder named 'bin'. Open 'bin' and paste your pythonscript file there.

  6. You can also make a menu entry. But that is not essential.
  7. Back to the home folder where the folder 'mypyscript' lies or close the file browser.
  8. Open terminal. Be sure that terminal is in the home folder. type dpkg -b mypyscript .Then press enter. In seconds your deb package is ready

note: please fill the 'control' file properly. Don't use apostrophes. It is only for indicating the names.

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Worked so fine. :-) Thanks! – Ionică Bizău Nov 4 '13 at 18:05
Works great! The accepted answer is complex. – SuB Jan 8 '14 at 13:24
Don't forget to change permission of 'myscript' to 755 and the owner of it to root. – SuB Jan 8 '14 at 13:33
How do I create a menu entry? – To Do Jul 2 '14 at 8:52

You could try with Debreate, a GUI tool for creating packages.

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I would check out quickly, great for creating quick apps and generating debs google it or you can find tutorials here

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Yes, I also like to add., if you prefer videos like me, youtube is a great resource – Jiew Meng Dec 31 '11 at 3:45
Quickly cannot simply turn a package into .deb package – Archisman Panigrahi Mar 20 at 15:13

Try pkgme. It's supposed to Just Work.

I've not tried it myself though.

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