dpkg-architecture(1) dpkg utilities dpkg-architecture(1)
dpkg-architecture - set and determine the architecture for package building
dpkg-architecture [options] [commands]
dpkg-architecture does provide a facility to determine and set the build and host archi-
tecture for package building.
The build architecture is always determined by an external call to dpkg(1), and can not be
set at the command line.
You can specify the host architecture by providing one or both of the options -a and -t.
The default is determined by an external call to gcc(1), or the same as the build archi-
tecture if CC or gcc are both not available. One out of -a and -t is sufficient, the value
of the other will be set to a usable default. Indeed, it is often better to only specify
one, because dpkg-architecture will warn you if your choice does not match the default.
-l Print the environment variables, one each line, in the format VARIABLE=value. This
is the default action.
Check for equality of architecture. By default debian-architecture is compared
against the current Debian architecture, being the host. This action will not
expand the architecture wildcards. Command finishes with an exit status of 0 if
matched, 1 if not matched.
Check for identity of architecture by expanding architecture-wildcard as an archi-
tecture wildcard and comparing against the current Debian architecture. Command
finishes with an exit status of 0 if matched, 1 if not matched.
Print the value of a single variable.
-s Print an export command. This can be used to set the environment variables using
-u Print a similar command to -s but to unset all variables.
Execute a command in an environment which has all variables set to the determined
-L Print a list of valid architecture names.
--help Show the usage message and exit.
Show the version and exit.
Set the Debian architecture.
Set the GNU system type.
-f Values set by existing environment variables with the same name as used by the
scripts are honored (i.e. used by dpkg-architecture), except if this force flag is
present. This allows the user to override a value even when the call to dpkg-archi-
tecture is buried in some other script (for example dpkg-buildpackage(1)).
The machine the package is built on.
The machine the package is built for.
The Debian architecture string, which specifies the binary tree in the FTP archive.
Examples: i386, sparc, hurd-i386.
An architecture wildcard is a special architecture string that will match any real
architecture being part of it. The general form is <kernel>-<cpu>. Examples:
linux-any, any-i386, hurd-any.
GNU system type
An architecture specification string consisting of two parts separated by a dash: cpu
and system. Examples: i386-linux-gnu, sparc-linux-gnu, i386-gnu, x86_64-netbsd.
The following variables are set by dpkg-architecture:
The Debian architecture of the build machine.
The Debian system name of the build machine.
The Debian cpu name of the build machine.
The pointer size of the build machine (in bits).
The endianness of the build machine (little / big).
The CPU part of DEB_BUILD_GNU_TYPE.
The System part of DEB_BUILD_GNU_TYPE.
The GNU system type of the build machine.
The clarified GNU system type of the build machine, used for filesystem paths.
The Debian architecture of the host machine.
The Debian system name of the host machine.
The Debian cpu name of the host machine.
The pointer size of the host machine (in bits).
The endianness of the host machine (little / big).
The CPU part of DEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE.
The System part of DEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE.
The GNU system type of the host machine.
The clarified GNU system type of the host machine, used for filesystem paths.
The environment variables set by dpkg-architecture are passed to debian/rules as make
variables (see make documentation). However, you should not rely on them, as this breaks
manual invocation of the script. Instead, you should always initialize them using
dpkg-architecture with the -q option. Here are some examples, which also show how you can
improve the cross compilation support in your package:
please use the following:
DEB_BUILD_GNU_TYPE := $(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_BUILD_GNU_TYPE)
DEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE := $(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE)
configure --build=$(DEB_BUILD_GNU_TYPE) --host=$(DEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE)
DEB_HOST_ARCH := $(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_ARCH)
or if you only need to check the CPU or OS type, use the DEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU or
In general, calling dpkg in the rules file to get architecture information is deprecated
(unless you want to provide backward compatibility, see below). Especially the
--print-architecture option is unreliable since we have Debian architectures which don't
equal a processor name.
The DEB_*_ARCH_BITS and DEB_*_ARCH_ENDIAN variables were introduced in dpkg-dev 1.15.4.
Using them in debian/rules thus requires a build-dependency on dpkg-dev (>= 1.15.4).
The DEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU and DEB_HOST_ARCH_OS variables were introduced in dpkg-dev 1.13.2.
Before this debian/rules files tended to check the values of the DEB_HOST_GNU_CPU or
DEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE variables which have been subject to change.
Where debian/rules files check these variables to decide how or what to compile, this
should be updated to use the new variables and values. You may wish to retain backwards
compatibility with older version of dpkg-dev by using the following code:
DEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU := $(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU 2>/dev/null)
DEB_HOST_ARCH_OS := $(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_ARCH_OS 2>/dev/null)
# Take account of old dpkg-architecture output.
DEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU := $(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_GNU_CPU)
DEB_HOST_ARCH_CPU := amd64
DEB_HOST_ARCH_OS := $(subst -gnu,,$(shell dpkg-architecture -qDEB_HOST_GNU_SYSTEM))
DEB_HOST_ARCH_OS := hurd
And similarly for DEB_BUILD_ARCH_CPU and DEB_BUILD_ARCH_OS.
If you still wish to support versions of dpkg-dev that did not include dpkg-architecture,
the following does the job:
DEB_BUILD_ARCH := $(shell dpkg --print-architecture)
DEB_BUILD_GNU_CPU := $(patsubst hurd-%,%,$(DEB_BUILD_ARCH))
ifeq ($(filter-out hurd-%,$(DEB_BUILD_ARCH)),)
DEB_BUILD_GNU_SYSTEM := gnu
DEB_BUILD_GNU_SYSTEM := linux-gnu
DEB_HOST_ARCH := $(DEB_BUILD_ARCH)
DEB_HOST_GNU_CPU := $(DEB_BUILD_GNU_CPU)
DEB_HOST_GNU_SYSTEM := $(DEB_BUILD_GNU_SYSTEM)
DEB_HOST_GNU_TYPE := $(DEB_BUILD_GNU_TYPE)
Put a subset of these lines at the top of your debian/rules file; these default values
will be overwritten if dpkg-architecture is used.
You don't need the full set. Choose a consistent set which contains the values you use in
the rules file. For example, if you only need the host Debian architecture,
`DEB_HOST_ARCH=`dpkg --print-architecture`' is sufficient (this is indeed the Debian
architecture of the build machine, but remember that we are only trying to be backward
compatible with native compilation).
The -e and -i options were only introduced in relatively recent versions of dpkg-architec-
ture (since dpkg 1.13.13).
dpkg-buildpackage accepts the -a option and passes it to dpkg-architecture. Other exam-
CC=i386-gnu-gcc dpkg-architecture -c debian/rules build
eval `dpkg-architecture -u`
Check if an architecture is equal to the current architecture or a given one:
dpkg-architecture -amips -elinux-mips
Check if the current architecture or an architecture provided with -a are Linux systems:
dpkg-architecture -ai386 -ilinux-any
All these files have to be present for dpkg-architecture to work. Their location can be
overridden at runtime with the environment variable DPKG_DATADIR.
Table of known CPU names and mapping to their GNU name.
Table of known operating system names and mapping to their GNU name.
Mapping between Debian architecture triplets and Debian architecture names.
dpkg-architecture and this man page were initially written by Marcus Brinkmann
Debian Project 2009-08-15 dpkg-architecture(1)