Some people within DebianScience would like to package again Sage for Debian. An old version of Sage got packaged long time ago by Tim Abbott, but, because of lack of maintainance, it became totally unusable and was removed from Debian. The status pages (master branch, develop branch) give an overview about package versions in Sage and Debian. If you want to help out, pick one of the open tasks or issues below and get going. Or contact us via the mailing list or in #debian-science on

Building Sage with Debian packages

We have a git repository (sagemath) to document the steps we currently do to experiment with building Sage against Debian packages. Important elements are the build dependencies of Sage, patches for Sage and a script called "pruner" that uses automake to determine if the necessary packages are installed (see also this mail).

To set up your system for working with our repo:

for d in deb deb-src; do \
    echo "$d sid-sage/"; done \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/deb-sci-sage.list

Add our unstable-sage repo for patched dependencies. This is optional; if you prefer you can build these yourself from the instructions in the table below.

torsocks gpg2 --recv-keys 0xD1188AF4A1398A5FCC3F576654B3F967097676A0

Get the repo key.

gpg2 --export 0xD1188AF4A1398A5FCC3F576654B3F967097676A0 | sudo apt-key add -

Install the repo key.

printf "Package: *\nPin: release n=sid-sage\nPin-Priority: 100\n" \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/deb-sci-sage
sudo apt-get update

Pin our repo at a low priority so it doesn't mess with the rest of your system. OTOH, if you really really want this repo's packages, to make sure you get the latest and greatest efforts of the Debian Sage packaging team above all else (including maybe our patched dependency packages messing up your system) then you can set the Pin-Priority to a high number like 800.

git clone --recursive

Recursive git clone to also get sage which is included as a git submodule.

To build the package, run:

sudo mk-build-deps --install debian/control

Install build dependencies that are in unstable and unstable-sage.

quilt push -a

Apply patches to Sage.

debian/rules prune

Run the pruner script.

debian/rules build

Build sage and run the test suite (includes pruning if necessary, but not patching).

The output of the pruner tells you in the end which dependencies were not found on the machine. These will be downloaded and built in the build step, before Sage itself is built. In the moment the pruner should output something like the following, and it is for now recommended to use these three packages from Sage.

libgap will not come from debian!
singular will not come from debian!
jmol will not come from debian!
100 system packages will be used 

When building against our patched packages, the compilation of Sage 6.7 finishes, but building the documentation fails due to our outdated ipython version. To get around this one can uninstall the ipython Debian package. Then Sage will build and use its own version. (TODO: this information is out-of-date, update it)

The following commands clean everything up properly.

debian/rules clean

Clean up after prune and build.

quilt pop -a

Unapply patches.

cd sage && git clean -dfx

Clean sage folder (git does not show untracked files from the built due to .gitignore).

rm -rf ~/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/sage*

Remove sage python library that is installed during the build process.

Open tasks


Bug / Link



Packages we have patched, needs merging into official Debian packages:



singular 3.1.6 is packaged in debian-science's git and Sage >= 6.2 has also 3.1.6. Singular 4.0.3 is now in Debian but unfortunately its API is restructured from 3.1.7 and the latter is what Sage are using. We may have to package singular 3 separately for now, or wait for Sage upstream to migrate.






Must be re-built against our patched pari.


Must be re-built against our patched pari; use the branch pari-2.8


0.22 needs to be patched with with embedsignatures.patch and includes.patch from here


with the workaround described in 777473

Sage components that need a new maintainer and an upload to Debian:


All dependencies are in Debian now, except for 787311 which is in the NEW queue. However the current sagenb package ships a bunch of javascript libraries. It should use at least these Debian packages instead: mathjax, tinymce, jquery, jqueryui, codemirror


Packages that need a new maintainer and an upload to Debian:


There is a request for help, see 719330


Can maybe be replaced by a wrapper for GAP.


(out-of-date; Debian now ships v4): Debian ships version 2.4, but Sage requires version 2.0 (though one of the necessary patches is already in 2.4). Plotting in the notebook is likely to break with newer versions that are in Debian; and >2.0 is reported to be slow. There is a new upstream version so Sage might update, see this sage bug.

Packages that are (hopefully) not needed:


The Cephes Mathematical Library is only needed for systems where the libc doesn't provide appropriate mathematical functions (cygwin and FreeBSD) and so is not required for Debian.


is part of the libc



mpir is supposed to be ABI-compatible with gmp. A lot of math packages use gmp and we hope we can have a purely gmp based Sage in Debian. Combining the two will most likely lead to conflicts, using mpir we would need an extra mpir version of many packages.

Uploading patched packages

We've set up a mini-dinstall APT repo to upload our patched Debian packages to, so that we can build sage against these. This is a temporary measure to make everything work more quickly, and these patched packages are unlikely to be added to Debian officially.

To upload, you must be a member of the debian-science group on alioth. Then, you should add this to your ~/

method = scp
fqdn =
incoming = /home/groups/debian-science/htdocs/apt/mini-dinstall/incoming/
post_upload_command = ssh /home/groups/debian-science/mini-dinstall

mini-dinstall is pretty forgiving and you should be able to overwrite any existing version in this repo or even downgrade versions. However, you *must* set the distribution in debian/changelog to "sid-sage" or "unstable-sage", otherwise your package will get rejected.


Older information

Out-of-date autotools-based build system for Sage

(This is slightly out of date, also, Sage (the community) is not interested in using packages that another distribution provides.)

The Sage library is getting an autotools build system in the course of a Google Summer of Code project. With the new build system, it can be built against system libraries. There are tarballs with the code at (There is also a git repository but the tarballs are recommended). Note that this is work in progress and problems are expected, but we are happy about testers. The transition of this work into Sage is coordinated via a bunch of Sage tickets.

We have a Debian package sagelib that currently builds metapackages that help installing the build dependencies of Sage. To test building Sage against Debian packages, one should consult the control file. The dependencies of the metapackage sagelib-builddeps-git still need special treatment and can't be just installed from Debian. See also

The following Debian packages should be installed from the git repositories:

For the remaining packages where the Debian package is missing or is missing features required by Sage, it is currently most convenient to use the versions from Sage. This is done by configuring with

../configure \
--disable-all \
--enable-{boehm_gc,cython,ecl,flintqs,genus2reduction,maxima,pari,pexpect,pynac,rubiks,sagelib,sagetex,tachyon} \

Old sagemath package

The old, buggy sagemath Debian package source code is available at