(quote from chat)

Got a PPA on launchpad for source packages for an IRC bot project I'm associated with (since its all the intermediate packaging for the stuff between releases, it's classified as an "experimental" PPA). Question: I've already packaged the stuff for a lucid build. Any clue how I'd be able to create the same packaging, except package it for maverick, and put it up to the same PPA that I've put the lucid packaging to?

2 Answers 2


Probably the easiest way is to simply copy the binaries on Launchpad:

  1. Go to your PPA and click on 'View package details':

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  2. Click on 'Copy packages':

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  3. Select the Lucid packages:

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  4. Select 'Maverick' for the series, and choose to 'copy existing binaries':

    enter image description here

  5. Click 'copy packages' and that's it!

  • Thanks much. Your instructions were spot on. Thanks much for the quick response, too.
    – Thomas Ward
    Mar 13, 2011 at 7:22
  • @Evil: No problem. Glad I could help! Mar 13, 2011 at 7:23
  • 5
    NOTE FOR OTHER QUESTIONS THAT LINK TO HERE!!! Copying existing binaries DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK for programs that are destined for other versions of ubuntu! See my rkhunter PPA and the changelogs for the Lucid version to understand what I mean: launchpad.net/~trekcaptainusa-tw/+archive/rkhunter/+packages
    – Thomas Ward
    Dec 31, 2011 at 0:19
  • 1
    What will happen, if I put something like these in the changelog file: hello (2.6-0ubuntu1) lucid maverick natty; urgency=low ?. Will launchpad build it for all 3 distros? Mar 14, 2013 at 16:49
  • 2
    @KhurshidAlam Sorry for the super super late response. That will fail with an "Invalid Changelog", and as such, you have to specifically tag each separately when using a PPA with a different version. [launchpad.net/~nginx/+archive/stable ](launchpad.net/~nginx/+archive/stable) is a good example of this, because to make it build I have to add the distribution to the version so it builds correctly with all the different libraries. (I maintain the nginx team's ppas for now hence me using that as an example.)
    – Thomas Ward
    Jul 22, 2013 at 0:42

If copying the binaries for the package you're building does not work, you'll need to upload a source package for each distro version by editing the debian/changelog file.

How to Re-Package for Another Distro Version

  1. Edit the debian/changelog file in your source package directory
  2. Change both the version and target distribution to reflect which distro you are building for

    For example: nginx (1:1.4.1-0ubuntu1~preciseppa1) precise; urgency=low
  3. Re-build source package: debuild -S
  4. Upload .changes file to your PPA: dput ppa:teward/nginx-stable-testing ../nginx_1.4.1-0ubuntu1~preciseppa1_source.changes

If the build is successful then congratulations you've just built a package for that distro! If not, you'll have to check the build log on Launchpad and address any issues you find.


  • This is what I do! :D The MOTUs (gods of the universe repository) explained this when I needed to do different builds for nginx and other programs in a PPA, and they helped resolve a lot of my issues. Thanks for posting this! :)
    – Thomas Ward
    Dec 16, 2013 at 20:17
  • Yeah I figured this would be useful information to document and make available to new packagers, as there can be a steep learning curve to using all the debian packaging tools, PPA uploads, conventions, and debugging failed builds.
    – TrinitronX
    Dec 16, 2013 at 20:24
  • Indeed. I'm not changing the accepted answer though, because at the time of this question, there was no need to worry about varying libraries available in the various versions of Ubuntu. With nginx or rkhunter or other packages I backport often, there's a huge dependencies issue to address (different depends: in the control file and such), so I always use programversion-1~RELEASE0 where ~RELEASE0 is always some number with the given release it's in.. Usually when I backport from Debian to Ubuntu that's the case :)
    – Thomas Ward
    Dec 16, 2013 at 20:26
  • Yeah, dependencies are definitely a pain point for backporting ;-) I agree, the accepted answer should suffice in most cases, and for users of bazaar source control repos, using Launchpad's bzr-builder recipe looks attractive too. However, when it comes down to packages with many dependencies, sometimes you have to build a custom package for your target distro.
    – TrinitronX
    Dec 16, 2013 at 20:33
  • And I backport nginx from Debian Unstable to Precise, Quantal, Raring, and Saucy (and Trusty in a PPA, but I also make sure Trusty, until Debian freeze, will have the latest from Debian merged in :P), for the NGINX team, but alas there are sometimes bugs which I can't fix and Debian has to deal with... this is why I have a good relationship with the Debian maintainers :)
    – Thomas Ward
    Dec 16, 2013 at 20:34

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