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Debian packages are maintained by a community of Debian Developers and volunteers. This page contains information relevant to developers wishing to package software for Debian.

If you were looking for information on installing and removing packages from your Debian system, see the package management pages instead.

What is a "package"?

A Debian package is a collection of files that allow for applications or libraries to be distributed via the Debian package management system. The aim of packaging is to allow the automation of installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing computer programs for Debian in a consistent manner.

A Debian package consists of one source package component and one or more binary package components. Debian Policy requires that these package files are built with a particular structure and format but there are many methods of arriving at these files.

Only packages that are compliant with Debian policy will be accepted into the archive. Manually constructed binary packages (.deb) that are not built from a source package will never be accepted.

Source packages not only contain the upstream source distribution and options for the Debian package build system but also lists of run-time dependencies and conflicting packages, a machine-readable description of copyright and license information, initial configurations, etc.

While the goal of packaging is to produce these files, for the most part, you will be working with the unpacked source in a directory. The source package (.dsc) and binary packages (.deb) will be built for you by tools such as dpkg-buildpackage.

You can read more about the anatomy of binary packages or source packages on their wiki pages.

Introduction to Debian Packaging

If you're just starting out with Debian packaging, please read the official documentation first:

To get a good grounding in Debian packaging:

Now that you have seen the basics, it is highly recommended that you read some real stuff:

Then, if you are looking for answers, you can come back here or read:

What not to do:

  • There are no shortcuts to learning good packaging practices. Avoid equivs which is only useful for building trivial metapackages and does not teach you anything about packaging.

Packaging Procedures

Types / Formats


Advanced Procedures

Useful Pages

Training Sessions

From Debian Women

DebianWomen organise interesting training sessions.

Other Information

See also: