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Comment: As policy, .orig.tar.gz should use <packagename>-<upstream-version>.orig
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 * http://lists.debian.org/debian-mentors/2007/01/msg00413.html

I want to describe how to write a nice get-orig-source target for debian/rules in presence of an upstream SVN repository.

Let's first consider that <pkg> is currently in sid with version x.y-z (upstream version = x.y, Debian revision = z).

Choose the right version

There are two differents path here, based on what "version" of the upstream code you're packaging

  1. the code in the svn is the update for the version x.y but you don't know yet how upstream would call it
  2. the code in the svn is the preliminary version the new upstream release, be it x.(y+1) or x.y.n

A couple of magic characters you can use in version come in our help here: '~' and '+'; here are how they are interpreted

   or     > x.y+foo-1 > x.y-z > x.y~bar-1

So, here it is how you have to choose the version number for the svn snapshot:

  1. if x.y-z is in sid and you're packaging the new version "without a name", then go with x.y+svn<rev>-1

  2. if x.y-z is in sid and you're packaging the new version x.(y+1) or x.y.n, then go with x.(y+1)~svn<rev>-1 or x.y.n~svn<rev>-1

Update the debian/changelog

now that you have your new package version what you have to do is:

$ dch -v "<new version>" "New upstream SVN snapshot"

Create get-orig-source target for debian/rules

We are almost done, we need to create the get-orig-source target in debian/rules file:

SRC_VERSION := $(shell dpkg-parsechangelog | sed -ne 's/^Version: \(.*\)-.*/\1/p')
SVN_REVISION := $(shell echo $(SRC_VERSION) | awk -F"+" '{ print $$2 }' | sed 's/svn//' )
.PHONY: get-orig-source
        rm -rf get-orig-source $(TARBALL)
        mkdir get-orig-source
        svn export -r $(SVN_REVISION) <UPSTREAM SVN REPOSITORY> \
        GZIP=--best tar czf $(TARBALL) -C get-orig-source $(PACKAGE)-$(SRC_VERSION).orig
        rm -rf get-orig-source
        echo "  "$(TARBALL)" created; move it to the right destination to build the package"

Some explanations:

  • SRC_VERSION take the version from the debian/changelog (that's why you need to modify it at first)

  • SVN_REVISION extracts the revision from the version (TODO: be smart and field separator must be '+' and '~')

  • TARBALL is the generated tarball name

  • some cleanup before running the real "core"
  • export the code from svn in a subdir under get-orig-source, made by name and version (dash separated)


  • With the needed changes, this can be adapted to other VCS; this is for SVN because I needed for it.
  • If upstream source code is under autotools, once you have downloaded the source code, you got to run all the commands chain (like autogen.sh and so).

Thanks to