This howto explains how to build software that is packaged in ubuntu.

Reasons for rebuilding a package that is already in ubuntu:

  • apply a patch
  • use a version that doesn't have a .deb
  • use different build options, in the uncommon case optional features were disabled.

It is the basic commands needed for the simple cases. Not everything is simple, so it may or may not work for any one package. Once you are fluent with this you may want to contribute your packages, or even package software that never was in ubuntu. For more information about this, see the Masters of the universe site, and the MOTU school there.

Install the build dependencies

The purpose of this step is to install any dependencies necessary to the build process.

sudo apt-get build-dep <package>
sudo apt-get install build-essential fakeroot devscripts

Download the source

You can sometimes use debcheckout <package> to get a fresh VCS checkout of the source package, but layout and conventions differ.

mkdir src; cd src
apt-get source <package>
cd <newly created dir> 

At this point, I generally do the "Build Time!" process now to make sure everything is in order.

Sometimes the reason you're building from source is because you need to patch the stock release. Now is when you do that.

patch -p1 < SomePackagePatch.patch

For the bold, using the vanilla source isn't hard. If you are lucky, there is a debian dir that has everything you need to just do Build Time! otherwise, I have been able to copy the debian/ dir to the source tree and build from there. (how dangerous is this?)

Be sure to update debian/control so that your new package gets a proper version number. This will prevent it from being upgraded to the original ubuntu version. This command will do it semi-automatically:

debchange -i

Change version number in the first line to something like 0.8.3-svn-158, or like <previous-version>.customised.1; then add some comment.

Create a patch of the changes in debian/patches/.

dpkg-source --commit

Add a description for the patch.

Build time!

debuild -us -uc -i -I

Install the new deb

The build process will create one or more .deb(s) in the parent directory. Don't change directory yet, and install the packages you just built.

sudo debi

Clean up

Once you're satisfied that <package> is working properly, you can now clean up the files used for building, as this frees up quite a bit of disk. Of course, deleting make's working files will mean that if you need to rebuild, make will have to start right from the beginning.


add the gutsy source repository where jppy is contained, then see if "sudo apt-get -b source jppy" gets you a clean compile. if it does, you could still tell the backports team about it.

used this for: wine pidgin gocr spe

mplayer maintains the debian/ dir as part of it's source, so no need for apt-get source mplayer and shuffling files around, just

svn co svn:// mplayer-trunk
cd mplayer-trunk
debuild -us -uc -i -I

Script that tries to do the whole process, you need to tweak the few things at the top. I left in what works for various packages I have used this on.

# updates a deb.  well, makes a deb from current source.
# based on

set -xe
# ----------------------------------
GETSRCCMD="svn checkout svn://$PACKAGE/trunk/_spe"
# ----------------------------------
# PACKAGE=gocr
GETSRCCMD="cvs login && cvs -z3 co -P jocr/src"
# ----------------------------------
GETSRCCMD=" cvs login && cvs -z3 co -P Kinterbasdb-3.0 ./"
# -----------------
GETSRCCMD="cvs -z3 co qemu"
# need to move debian/ and cd into the cvs source:
# mv qemu-*/debian qemu/
# cd qemu
# ----------------------------------

# DEBFULLNAME="Carl Karsten"

mkdir $PACKAGE 

# needed to get source, compile and build debs
sudo apt-get --assume-yes install build-essential fakeroot subversion cvs dpkg-dev devscripts

# get the $PACKAGE deps and source from apt repository 
# (and debian/ dir needed to build the .deb)
sudo apt-get --assume-yes build-dep $PACKAGE

apt-get source $PACKAGE

# cd into the apt-got dir. 
# this will need to be changed as the version changes.
# this is a hack.  not sure how else to figure out what to cd into


# hide the apt-got source
# mv $SRCDIR $SRCDIR.apt-got

# get working copy

# bump the version number
# if this is not done, the new deb will be the same version as the current, so won't install. ($0 is the name of this script)
debchange --nmu $0

# build the .deb
debuild -us -uc -i -I

# install the deb. 
# using this command, on your own :)
echo sudo gdebi $PACKAGE*.deb

CarlKarsten GabrielDePerthuis

UpdatingADeb (last edited 2015-05-13 07:24:35 by kare-sars-iki)