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debhelper(7)			   Debhelper			  debhelper(7)

       debhelper - the debhelper tool suite

       dh_* [-v] [-a] [-i] [-s] [--no-act] [-ppackage] [-Npackage] [-Ptmpdir]

       Debhelper is used to help you build a debian package. The philosophy
       behind debhelper is to provide a collection of small, simple, and eas
       ily understood tools that are used in debian/rules to automate various
       common aspects of building a package. This means less work for you, the
       packager.  It also, to some degree means that these tools can be
       changed if debian policy changes, and packages that use them will
       require only a rebuild to comply with the new policy.

       A typical debian/rules file that uses debhelper will call several deb
       helper commands in sequence. Debhelper commands are all named with a
       "dh_" prefix.  Examples of rules files that use debhelper are in

       To create a new debian package using debhelper, you can just copy one
       of the sample rules files and edit it by hand. Or you can try the dh-
       make package, which contains a dh_make command that partially automates
       the process. For a more gentle introduction, the maint-guide debian
       package contains a tutorial about making your first package using deb

       Here is the complete list of available debhelper commands. See their
       man pages for additional documentation.

	   build debian packages

	   clean up package build directories

	   compress files and fix symlinks in package build directories

	   Register .desktop files

	   fix permissions of files in package build directories

	   generate GConf schema registration scripts

	   generate and install control file

	   install files into package build directories

	   install and register SGML Catalogs

	   install changelogs into package build directories

	   install cron scripts into etc/cron.*

	   install files into the DEBIAN directory

	   install files used by debconf in package build directories

	   create subdirectories in package build directories

	   install documentation into package build directories

	   register an emacs add on package

	   install example files into package build directories

	   install and register info files

	   install init scripts into package build directories

	   install logcheck rulefiles into etc/logcheck/

	   install logrotate config files

	   install man pages into package build directories

	   old-style man page installer

	   install debian menu files into package build directories

	   install mime files into package build directories

	   register modules with modutils

	   install pam support files

	   install ppp ip-up and ip-down files

	   install udev rules files

	   register a window manager

	   register X fonts

	   create symlinks in package build directories

	   list binary packages debhelper will act on

	   automatically create shlibs file

	   generate DEBIAN/md5sums file

	   move files out of debian/tmp into subpackages

	   calculates perl dependencies

	   calculates python dependencies and adds postinst and prerm python

	   generate ScrollKeeper registration scripts

	   calculate shared library dependencies

	   strip executables, shared libraries, and some static libraries

	   obsolete suid registration program

	   test directory before building debian package

	   ensure that a package is built as root

	   ensure that the correct version of debhelper is installed

	   obsolete undocumented.7 symlink program

	   migrate usr/local directories to maintainer scripts

       If a programs name starts with "dh_", and the program is not on the
       above list, then it is not part of the debhelper package, but it should
       still work like the other programs described on this page.

       Many debhelper commands make use of files in debian/ to control what
       they do. Besides the common debian/changelog and debian/control, which
       are in all packages, not just those using debhelper, some additional
       files can be used to configure the behavior of specific debhelper com
       mands. These files are typically named debian/package.foo (where "pack
       age" of course, is replaced with the package that is being acted on).

       For example, dh_installdocs uses files named debian/package.docs to
       list the documentation files it will install. See the man pages of
       individual commands for details about the names and formats of the
       files they use.	Generally, these files will list files to act on, one
       file per line. Some programs in debhelper use pairs of files and desti
       nations or slightly more complicated formats.

       Note that if a package is the first (or only) binary package listed in
       debian/control, debhelper will use debian/foo if no debian/package.foo
       file can be found.

       In some rare cases, you may want to have different versions of these
       files for different architectures. If files named debian/pack
       age.foo.arch exist, where "arch" is the same as the output of "dpkg
       --print-architecture", then they will be used in preference to other,
       more general files.

       In many cases, these config files are used to specify various types of
       files. Documentation or example files to install, files to move, and so
       on.  When appropriate, in cases like these, you can use standard shell
       wildcard characters (? and * and [..] character classes) in the

       You can also put comments in these files; lines beginning with "#" are

       The following command line options are supported by all debhelper pro

       -v, --verbose
	   Verbose mode: show all commands that modify the package build

	   Do not really do anything. If used with -v, the result is that the
	   command will output what it would have done.

       -a, --arch
	   Act on all architecture dependent packages.

       -i, --indep
	   Act on all architecture independent packages.

       -ppackage, --package=package
	   Act on the package named "package". This option may be specified
	   multiple times to make debhelper operate on a given set of pack

       -s, --same-arch
	   This is a smarter version of the -a flag, that is used in some rare
	   circumstances. It understands that if the control file lists
	   "Architecture: i386" for the package, the package should not be
	   acted on on other architectures. So this flag makes the command act
	   on all "Architecture: any" packages, as well as on any packages
	   that have the current architecture explicitly specified.  Contrast
	   to the -a flag, which makes the command work on all packages that
	   are not architecture independent.

       -Npackage, --no-package=package
	   Do not act on the specified package even if an -a, -i, or -p option
	   lists the package as one that should be acted on.

       -Ptmpdir, --tmpdir=tmpdir
	   Use "tmpdir" for package build directory. The default is

	   This little-used option changes the package which debhelper consid
	   ers the "main package", that is, the first one listed in
	   debian/control, and the one for which debian/foo files can be used
	   instead of the usual debian/package.foo files.

       The following command line options are supported by some debhelper pro
       grams.  See the man page of each program for a complete explanation of
       what each option does.

       -n  Do not modify postinst/postrm/etc scripts.

       -Xitem, --exclude=item
	   Exclude an item from processing. This option may be used multiple
	   times, to exclude more than one thing.

       -A, --all
	   Makes files or other items that are specified on the command line
	   take effect in ALL packages acted on, not just the first.

       Multiple binary package support

       If your source package generates more than one binary package, deb
       helper programs will default to acting on all binary packages when run.
       If your source package happens to generate one architecture dependent
       package, and another architecture independent package, this is not the
       correct behavior, because you need to generate the architecture depen
       dent packages in the binary-arch debian/rules target, and the architec
       ture independent packages in the binary-indep debian/rules target.

       To facilitate this, as well as give you more control over which pack
       ages are acted on by debhelper programs, all debhelper programs accept
       the -a, -i, -p, and -s parameters. These parameters are cumulative.  If
       none are given, debhelper programs default to acting on all packages
       listed in the control file.

       See /usr/share/doc/debhelper/examples/rules.multi for an example of how
       to use this in a package that generates multiple binary packages.

       Automatic generation of debian install scripts

       Some debhelper commands will automatically generate parts of debian
       maintainer scripts. If you want these automatically generated things
       included in your existing debian maintainer scripts, then you need to
       add "#DEBHELPER#" to your scripts, in the place the code should be
       added.  "#DEBHELPER#" will be replaced by any auto-generated code when
       you run dh_installdeb.

       If a script does not exist at all and debhelper needs to add something
       to it, then debhelper will create the complete script.

       All debhelper commands that automatically generate code in this way let
       it be disabled by the -n parameter (see above).

       Note that the inserted code will be shell code, so you cannot directly
       use it in a perl script. If you would like to embed it into a perl
       script, here is one way to do that (note that I made sure that $1, $2,
       etc are set with the set command):

	 my $temp="set -e\nset -- @ARGV\n" . << EOF;
	 system ($temp) / 256 == 0
	       or die "Problem with debhelper scripts: $!";

       Automatic generation of miscellaneous dependencies.

       Some debhelper commands may make the generated package need to depend
       on some other packages. For example, if you use dh_installdebconf(1),
       your package will generally need to depend on debconf. Or if you use
       dh_installxfonts(1), your package will generally need to depend on a
       particular version of xutils. Keeping track of these miscellaneous
       dependencies can be annoying since they are dependant on how debhelper
       does things, so debhelper offers a way to automate it.

       All commands of this type, besides documenting what dependencies may be
       needed on their man pages, will automatically generate a substvar
       called ${misc:Depends}. If you put that token into your debian/control
       file, it will be expanded to the dependencies debhelper figures you

       This is entirely independent of the standard ${shlibs:Depends} gener
       ated by dh_makeshlibs(1), and the ${perl:Depends} generated by
       dh_perl(1).  You can choose not to use any of these, if debhelpers
       guesses dont match reality.

       Package build directories

       By default, all debhelper programs assume that the temporary directory
       used for assembling the tree of files in a package is debian/.

       Sometimes, you might want to use some other temporary directory. This
       is supported by the -P flag. For example, "dh_installdocs -Pde
       bian/tmp", will use debian/tmp as the temporary directory. Note that if
       you use -P, the debhelper programs can only be acting on a single pack
       age at a time. So if you have a package that builds many binary pack
       ages, you will need to also use the -p flag to specify which binary
       package the debhelper program will act on.

       Debhelper compatibility levels

       From time to time, major non-backwards-compatible changes need to be
       made to debhelper, to keep it clean and well-designed as needs change
       and its author gains more experience. To prevent such major changes
       from breaking existing packages, the concept of debhelper compatibility
       levels was introduced. You tell debhelper which compatibility level it
       should use, and it modifies its behavior in various ways.

       Tell debhelper what compatibility level to use by writing a number to
       debian/compat. For example, to turn on V5 mode:

	 % echo 5 > debian/compat

       Unless otherwise indicated, all debhelper documentation assumes that
       you are using the most recent compatibility level, and in most cases
       does not indicate if the behavior is different in an earlier compati
       bility level, so if you are not using the most recent compatibility
       level, youre advised to read below for notes about what is different
       in earlier compatibility levels.

       These are the available compatibility levels:

       V1  This is the original debhelper compatibility level, and so it is
	   the default one. In this mode, debhelper will use debian/tmp as the
	   package tree directory for the first binary package listed in the
	   control file, while using debian/ for all other packages
	   listed in the control file.

	   This mode is deprecated.

       V2  In this mode, debhelper will consistently use debian/ as
	   the package tree directory for every package that is built.

	   This mode is deprecated.

       V3  This mode works like V2, with the following additions:

	   -	   Debhelper config files support globbing via * and ?, when
		   appropriate. To turn this off and use those characters raw,
		   just prefix with a backslash.

	   -	   dh_makeshlibs makes the postinst and postrm scripts call

	   -	   Every file in etc/ is automatically flagged as a conffile
		   by dh_installdeb.

	   This mode is deprecated.

       V4  Changes from V3 are:

	   -	   dh_makeshlibs -V will not include the debian part of the
		   version number in the generated dependency line in the
		   shlibs file.

	   -	   You are encouraged to put the new ${misc:Depends} into
		   debian/control to supplement the ${shlibs:Depends} field.

	   -	   dh_fixperms will make all files in bin/ directories and in
		   etc/init.d executable.

	   -	   dh_link will correct existing links to conform with policy.

       V5  This is the recommended mode of operation. It does everything V4
	   does, plus:

	   -	   Comments are ignored in debhelper config files.

	   -	   dh_strip --dbg-package now specifies the name of a package
		   to put debugging symbols in, not the packages to take the
		   symbols from.

	   -	   dh_installdocs skips installing empty files.

	   -	   dh_install errors out if wildcards expand to nothing.

       Doc directory symlinks

       Sometimes it is useful to make a package not contain a
       /usr/share/doc/package directory at all, instead placing just a dan
       gling symlink in the binary package, that points to some other doc
       directory. Policy says this is ok if your package depends on the pack
       age whose doc directory it uses. To accomplish this, just dont tell
       debhelper to install any documentation files into the package, and use
       dh_link to set up the symlink (or do it by hand), and debhelper should
       do the right thing: notice it is a dangling symlink and not try to
       install a copyright file or changelog.


       Debhelper includes support for udebs. To create a udeb with debhelper,
       add "XC-Package-Type: udeb" to the packages stanza in debian/control,
       and build-depend on debhelper (>= 4.2). Debhelper will try to create
       udebs that comply with debian-installer policy, by making the generated
       package files end in ".udeb", not installing any documentation into a
       udeb, skipping over preinst, postrm, prerm, and config scripts, etc.

       Other notes

       In general, if any debhelper program needs a directory to exist under
       debian/, it will create it. I havent bothered to document this in all
       the man pages, but for example, dh_installdeb knows to make
       debian//DEBIAN/ before trying to put files there, dh_install
       menu knows you need a debian//usr/share/menu/ before
       installing the menu files, etc.

       Once your package uses debhelper to build, be sure to add debhelper to
       your Build-Depends line in debian/control. You should build-depend on a
       version of debhelper equal to (or greater than) the debhelper compati
       bility level your package uses. So if your package used compatibility
       level 5:

	 Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 5)

	   Set to 1 to enable verbose mode. Debhelper will output every com
	   mand it runs that modifies files on the build system.

	   Temporarily specifies what compatibility level debhelper should run
	   at, overriding any value in debian/compat.

	   Set to 1 to enable no-act mode.

	   Anything in this variable will be prepended to the command line
	   arguments of all debhelper commands. This is useful in some
	   situations, for example, if you need to pass -p to all debhelper
	   commands that will be run. One good way to set DH_OPTIONS is by
	   using "Target-specific Variable Values" in your debian/rules file.
	   See the make documentation for details on doing this.

	   If set, this adds the value the variable is set to to the -X
	   options of all commands that support the -X option. Moreover,
	   dh_builddeb will rm -rf anything that matches the value in your
	   package build tree.

	   This can be useful if you are doing a build from a CVS source tree,
	   in which case setting DH_ALWAYS_EXCLUDE=CVS will prevent any CVS
	   directories from sneaking into the package you build. Or, if a
	   package has a source tarball that (unwisely) includes CVS directo
	   ries, you might want to export DH_ALWAYS_EXCLUDE=CVS in
	   debian/rules, to make it take effect wherever your package is

	   Multiple things to exclude can be separated with colons, as in

	   A set of example debian/rules files that use debhelper.

	   Debhelper web site.

       Joey Hess 

5.0.42				  2006-11-12			  debhelper(7)

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