Debian Packages Tutorial (1/2)


This tutorial provides a gentle introduction to creating Debian packages. It starts with examples of minimal packages.

Most Linux distributions have their own criteria that must be met before a package is included in their offical package repositories. This is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Package Types

There are two types of Debian packages: binary packages and source packages [1].

Binary packages

Binary packages are used to distribute software that can be installed using the dpkg tool. Typically they would be used to install executables, configuration files, documentation, etc. However since the files included in a binary packages are simply copied to the machine when the package is installed, these files can in fact be anything.

Source packages

Source packages are used to generate binary packages. They cannot be installed with dpkg. Instead a different set of tools are used to generate binary packages from them. These binary packages can then be installed with dpkg..

Binary packages don't have to be built from a source package. It is possible to generate a binary package directly as we will show in the examples below. However source packages provide a standardized way to distribute the source code of an application and to build the binary package from it.



On the next page we will show how to create simple Debian binary packages.


  1. The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ: Chapter 7 - Basics of the Debian package management system

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