I am using pbuilder-dist to build my packages for Debian unstable and Ubuntu Precise. I want to know how to run lintian (and possibly other commands) inside a certain chroot.

I have Ubuntu 12.04 on my machine.

  • Lintian i think can be run as its own command, if not, then you can run it at build-time, using pbuilder to build teh source package (create the source package with debuild -S), but I'm not entirely certain, so I'm not posting this as a true answer.
    – Thomas Ward
    Jun 14, 2012 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


Lintian can be run inside cowbuilder or pbuilder using hooks. Several examples are available in /usr/share/doc/pbuilder/examples/

Just copy the hook you want to a directory:

mkdir ~/pbuilderhooks
cp /usr/share/doc/pbuilder/examples/B90lintian $HOME/pbuilderhooks

Then tell pbuilder to use the hooks in that directory:

echo "HOOKDIR=$HOME/pbuilderhooks/" >> ~/.pbuilderrc


echo "HOOKDIR=$HOME/pbuilderhooks/" | sudo tee -a /etc/pbuilderrc

The first is required if you intend to run cowbuilder-dist or pbuilder-dist without sudo; the latter if you intend to run sudo cowbuilder or sudo pbuilder. Use tee -a to avoid overwriting the original /etc/pbuilderrc file.


Running debuild -S will run lintian on the source.changes for you I believe. Lintian is also run on the .changes file during the binary build. Once you've built the binary and/or source package you can manually run lintian against either .changes file, just like this:

mfisch@caprica:~$ lintian libkqueue_1.0.4-2ubuntu1_amd64.changes


mfisch@caprica:~$ lintian libkqueue_1.0.4-2ubuntu1_source.changes

You may get different lintian errors or warnings from each build (source and binary).

If you're trying to move quicker, run pbuilder --login, install the build-deps and run your builds there, that saves you the start-up time from re-installing deps before each build.

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