I have recently started packaging a bash script of mine into a .deb file so that I can upload it to my PPA, and I have noticed a lot of talk about a file which seems to have been created from my source code or something called <packagename>_<versionnumber>.orig.tar.xz (<packagename> replaced by the name of the package that I am using dh-make to package, and <versionnumber> replaced by the version number). I have also noticed that a folder called debian with lots of files in it has been created, and I have been following some official Debian guides to edit the files.

But I still don't really understand what this .orig.tar.xz file is, what its purpose is, and how it is used with this debian folder. Could anyone explain this to me?

1 Answer 1


Generally, <name>_<version>.orig.tar.xz or <name>_<version>.orig.tar.gz is the source archive, as released by the project. It's simply renamed to fit the vagaries of the Debian packaging system.

Usually, for packaging purposes, you need to unpack <name>_<version>.orig.tar.xz in the current folder and then place the debian folder inside the unpacked archive. It is important to keep the archive in place.

THEN you do the packaging stuff that you wish, either building binaries, or building the source archives (which results in a *.changes file that would be dput-ed to a PPA, for example).

  • That's exactly what I meant thanks, I'll redo the comment.
    – Thomas Ward
    Mar 30, 2015 at 17:38
  • 2
    +1 good answer. Also, consider that the .orig.tar must not change between package revisions within the same version number (i.e. between 1.6.0-1 and 1.6.0-1.1, the .orig.tar file cannot change, and the source code you use cannot differ from the .orig.tar without patches contained as part of quilt).
    – Thomas Ward
    Mar 30, 2015 at 17:39

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