If a package is available in an Ubuntu PPA but not in Debian, you can easily rebuild it and install it on Debian.
Here for instance, we're going to build a Debian package of the Pogo music player available in an Ubuntu PPA.
Is the package really missing in Debian ? The package might not be available in your Debian version, but it may be available in testing/unstable.
You can check this with the command rmadison. If you're interested in a package called vagrant, try if the command rmadison vagrant returns something like:
vagrant | 1.6.5+dfsg1-2 | sid | source, all
If you see the the package is available in sid, it means you should instead do a SimpleBackportCreation of the vagrant package.
Now if rmadison does not return anything, you can build the PPA package in the following 5 easy steps.
Install the Debian SDK
sudo apt install devscripts build-essential software-properties-common
Add the PPA source url to your sources.list
We want to install the PPA of the stable pogo builds. From the page https://launchpad.net/~pogo-dev/+archive/ubuntu/stable we found the name of the ppa, which we add to our repositories with:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pogo-dev/stable
This will create a new apt repository entry in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pogo-dev-ubuntu-stable-disco.list
Inside this file, we will disable the binary package repository (which might only work on ubuntu) and enable the source package repository:
sudo sed -i 's/^deb /# deb /' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pogo-dev-ubuntu-stable-disco.list
sudo sed -i 's/^# deb-src/deb-src/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pogo-dev-ubuntu-stable-disco.list
Replace in the repo list the 'disco' string with the latest Ubuntu lts release (as of 2018, it is the 'beaver' release )
sudo sed -i 's/disco/beaver/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pogo-dev-ubuntu-stable-disco.list
Now call apt-update and check that the repository update is successful.
sudo apt update ... Hit:2 http://ppa.launchpad.net/pogo-dev/stable/ubuntu bionic InRelease
Install the package source and build the package
As normal user:
apt source --build pogo
Note: For this to work you need to uncomment the lines starting with *deb-src* in /etc/apt/sources.list, or you will get the error "E: You must put some 'source' URIs in your sources.list".
Install the resulting stuff
You have a package in the directory called something like pogo_1.0-0~708~ubuntu18.10.1_all.deb You can install it with
sudo dpkg --install pogo_1.0-0~708~ubuntu18.10.1_all.deb
If you find that the program you used would be of interest to other Debian users, check it if an "ITP:IntentToPackage" or a "RFP:RequestForPackage" bug report has been used. If no one has done this before, create a new bug report. For instance this the RFP for Pogo: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=666008
If you feel brave, have a look at what's inside the pogo-1.0.0/debian/ directory, and read IntroDebianPackaging