dpkg-source(1) dpkg utilities dpkg-source(1)
dpkg-source - Debian source package (.dsc) manipulation tool
dpkg-source [options] command
dpkg-source packs and unpacks Debian source archives.
None of these commands allow multiple options to be combined into one, and they do not
allow the value for an option to be specified in a separate argument.
-x filename.dsc [output-directory]
Extract a source package. One non-option argument must be supplied, the name of the
Debian source control file (.dsc). An optional second non-option argument may be
supplied to specify the directory to extract the source package to, this must not
exist. If no output directory is specified, the source package is extracted into a
directory named source-version under the current working directory.
dpkg-source will read the names of the other file(s) making up the source package
from the control file; they are assumed to be in the same directory as the .dsc.
The files in the extracted package will have their permissions and ownerships set
to those which would have been expected if the files and directories had simply
been created - directories and executable files will be 0777 and plain files will
be 0666, both modified by the extractors' umask; if the parent directory is setgid
then the extracted directories will be too, and all the files and directories will
inherit its group ownership.
If the source package uses a non-standard format (currently this means all formats
except "1.0"), its name will be stored in debian/source/format so that the follow-
ing builds of the source package use the same format by default.
-b directory [format-specific-parameters]
Build a source package. The first non-option argument is taken as the name of the
directory containing the debianized source tree (i.e. with a debian sub-directory
and maybe changes to the original files). Depending on the source package format
used to build the package, additional parameters might be accepted.
dpkg-source will build the source package with the first format found in this
ordered list: the format indicated with the --format command-line option, the for-
mat indicated in debian/source/format, "1.0". The fallback to "1.0" is deprecated
and will be removed at some point in the future, you should always document the
desired source format in debian/source/format. See section SOURCE PACKAGE FORMATS
for an extensive description of the various source package formats.
Print the source format that would be used to build the source package if
dpkg-source -b directory was called (in the same conditions and with the same
This command should be called before any build of the package (dpkg-buildpackage
calls it very early even before debian/rules clean). This command should be idempo-
tent and can be called multiple times. Not all source formats implement something
in this hook, and those that do usually prepare the source tree for the build for
example by ensuring that the Debian patches are applied.
This command should be called after any build of the package (dpkg-buildpackage
calls it last). This command should be idempotent and can be called multiple times.
Not all source formats implement something in this hook, and those that do usually
use it to undo what --before-build has done.
Show the usage message and exit.
Show the version and exit.
GENERIC BUILD OPTIONS
Specifies the main source control file to read information from. The default is
debian/control. If given with relative pathname this is interpreted starting at
the source tree's top level directory.
Specifies the change log file to read information from. The default is
debian/changelog. If given with relative pathname this is interpreted starting at
the source tree's top level directory.
Specifies the format of the changelog. By default the format is read from a special
line near the bottom of the changelog or failing that defaults to the debian stan-
Use the given format for building the source package. It does override any format
given in debian/source/format.
Set an output substitution variable. See deb-substvars(5) for a discussion of out-
Read substitution variables in substvarsfile; the default is to not read any file.
This option can be used multiple times to read substitution variables from multiple
Override or add an output control file field.
Remove an output control file field.
Specify the compression to use for created files (tarballs and diffs). Note that
this option will not cause existing tarballs to be recompressed, it only affects
new files. Supported values are: gzip, bzip2, lzma and xz. gzip is the default. xz
is only supported since dpkg-dev 1.15.5.
Compression level to use. As with -Z it only affects newly created files. Supported
values are: 1 to 9, best, and fast. 9 is the default.
You may specify a perl regular expression to match files you want filtered out of
the list of files for the diff. (This list is generated by a find command.) (If the
source package is being built as a version 3 source package using a VCS, this can
be used to ignore uncommited changes on specific files. Using -i.* will ignore all
of them.) -i by itself enables the option, with a default regexp that will filter
out control files and directories of the most common revision control systems,
backup and swap files and Libtool build output directories. There can only be one
active regexp, of multiple -i options only the last one will take effect.
This is very helpful in cutting out extraneous files that get included in the diff,
e.g. if you maintain your source in a revision control system and want to use a
checkout to build a source package without including the additional files and
directories that it will usually contain (e.g. CVS/, .cvsignore, .svn/). The
default regexp is already very exhaustive, but if you need to replace it, please
note that by default it can match any part of a path, so if you want to match the
begin of a filename or only full filenames, you will need to provide the necessary
anchors (e.g. '(^|/)', '($|/)') yourself.
The perl regular expression specified will extend the default regular expression
associated to -i by concatenating "|regexp" to the default regexp. This option is
convenient to use in debian/source/options to exclude some auto-generated files
from the automatic patch generation.
If this option is specified, the pattern will be passed to tar(1)'s --exclude
option when it is called to generate a .orig.tar or .tar file. For example, -ICVS
will make tar skip over CVS directories when generating a .tar.gz file. The option
may be repeated multiple times to list multiple patterns to exclude.
-I by itself adds default --exclude options that will filter out control files and
directories of the most common revision control systems, backup and swap files and
Libtool build output directories.
Note: While they have similar purposes, -i and -I have very different syntax and seman-
tics. -i can only be specified once and takes a perl compatible regular expression which
is matched against the full relative path of each file. -I can specified multiple times
and takes a filename pattern with shell wildcards. The pattern is applied to the full
relative path but also to each part of the path individually. The exact semantic of tar's
--exclude option is somewhat complicated, see http://www.gnu.org/software/tar/man-
ual/tar.html#wildcards for a full documentation.
The default regexp and patterns for both options can be seen in the output of the --help
GENERIC EXTRACT OPTIONS
Do not copy original tarballs near the extracted source package.
Do not check signatures and checksums before unpacking.
Refuse to unpack the source package if it doesn't contain an OpenPGP signature that
can be verified either with the user's trustedkeys.gpg keyring, one of the vendor-
specific keyrings, or one of the official Debian keyrings
(/usr/share/keyrings/debian-keyring.gpg and /usr/share/keyrings/debian-maintain-
SOURCE PACKAGE FORMATS
If you don't know what source format to use, you should probably pick either "3.0 (quilt)"
or "3.0 (native)". See http://wiki.debian.org/Projects/DebSrc3.0 for information on the
deployment of those formats within Debian.
A source package in this format consists either of a .orig.tar.gz associated to a .diff.gz
or a single .tar.gz (in that case the package is said to be native).
Extracting a native package is a simple extraction of the single tarball in the target
directory. Extracting a non-native package is done by first unpacking the .orig.tar.gz and
then applying the patch contained in the .diff.gz file. The timestamp of all patched files
is reset to the extraction time of the source package (this avoids timestamp skews leading
to problems when autogenerated files are patched). The diff can create new files (the
whole debian directory is created that way) but can't remove files (empty files will be
Building a native package is just creating a single tarball with the source directory.
Building a non-native package involves extracting the original tarball in a separate
".orig" directory and regenerating the .diff.gz by comparing the source package directory
with the .orig directory.
Build options (with -b):
If a second non-option argument is supplied it should be the name of the original source
directory or tarfile or the empty string if the package is a Debian-specific one and so
has no Debianisation diffs. If no second argument is supplied then dpkg-source will look
for the original source tarfile package_upstream-version.orig.tar.gz or the original
source directory directory.orig depending on the -sX arguments.
-sa, -sp, -sk, -su and -sr will not overwrite existing tarfiles or directories. If this is
desired then -sA, -sP, -sK, -sU and -sR should be used instead.
-sk Specifies to expect the original source as a tarfile, by default package_upstream-
version.orig.tar.extension. It will leave this original source in place as a
tarfile, or copy it to the current directory if it isn't already there. The tarball
will be unpacked into directory.orig for the generation of the diff.
-sp Like -sk but will remove the directory again afterwards.
-su Specifies that the original source is expected as a directory, by default package-
upstream-version.orig and dpkg-source will create a new original source archive
-sr Like -su but will remove that directory after it has been used.
-ss Specifies that the original source is available both as a directory and as a
tarfile. dpkg-source will use the directory to create the diff, but the tarfile to
create the .dsc. This option must be used with care - if the directory and tarfile
do not match a bad source archive will be generated.
-sn Specifies to not look for any original source, and to not generate a diff. The
second argument, if supplied, must be the empty string. This is used for Debian-
specific packages which do not have a separate upstream source and therefore have
no debianisation diffs.
-sa or -sA
Specifies to look for the original source archive as a tarfile or as a directory -
the second argument, if any, may be either, or the empty string (this is equivalent
to using -sn). If a tarfile is found it will unpack it to create the diff and
remove it afterwards (this is equivalent to -sp); if a directory is found it will
pack it to create the original source and remove it afterwards (this is equivalent
to -sr); if neither is found it will assume that the package has no debianisation
diffs, only a straightforward source archive (this is equivalent to -sn). If both
are found then dpkg-source will ignore the directory, overwriting it, if -sA was
specified (this is equivalent to -sP) or raise an error if -sa was specified. -sA
is the default.
The process fails if the generated diff contains changes to files outside of the
debian sub-directory. This option is not allowed in debian/source/options but can
be used in debian/source/local-options.
Extract options (with -x):
In all cases any existing original source tree will be removed.
-sp Used when extracting then the original source (if any) will be left as a tarfile.
If it is not already located in the current directory or if an existing but differ-
ent file is there it will be copied there. (This is the default).
-su Unpacks the original source tree.
-sn Ensures that the original source is neither copied to the current directory nor
unpacked. Any original source tree that was in the current directory is still
All the -sX options are mutually exclusive. If you specify more than one only the last one
will be used.
Skips application of the debian diff on top of the upstream sources.
Also known as wig&pen. This format is not recommended for wide-spread usage, the format
"3.0 (quilt)" replaces it. Wig&pen was the first specification of a new-generation source
The behaviour of this format is the same as the "3.0 (quilt)" format except that it
doesn't use an explicit list of patches. All files in debian/patches/ matching the perl
regular expression [\w-]+ must be valid patches: they are applied at extraction time.
When building a new source package, any change to the upstream source is stored in a patch
Format: 3.0 (native)
This format is an extension of the native package format as defined in the 1.0 format. It
supports all compression methods and will ignore by default any VCS specific files and
directories as well as many temporary files (see default value associated to -I option in
the --help output).
Format: 3.0 (quilt)
A source package in this format contains at least an original tarball (.orig.tar.ext where
ext can be gz, bz2, lzma and xz) and a debian tarball (.debian.tar.ext). It can also con-
tain additional original tarballs (.orig-component.tar.ext). component can only contain
alphanumeric characters and dashes ("-").
The main original tarball is extracted first, then all additional original tarballs are
extracted in subdirectories named after the component part of their filename (any pre-
existing directory is replaced). The debian tarball is extracted on top of the source
directory after prior removal of any pre-existing debian directory. Note that the debian
tarball must contain a debian sub-directory but it can also contain binary files outside
of that directory (see --include-binaries option).
All patches listed in debian/patches/debian.series or debian/patches/series are then
applied. If the former file is used and the latter one doesn't exist (or is a symlink),
then the latter is replaced with a symlink to the former. This is meant to simplify usage
of quilt to manage the set of patches. Note however that while dpkg-source parses cor-
rectly series files with explicit options used for patch application (stored on each line
after the patch filename and one or more spaces), it does ignore those options and always
expect patches that can be applied with the -p1 option of patch. It will thus emit a warn-
ing when it encounters such options, and the build is likely to fail.
Similarly to quilt's default behaviour, the patches can remove files too.
The file .pc/applied-patches is created if some patches have been applied during the
All original tarballs found in the current directory are extracted in a temporary direc-
tory by following the same logic as for the unpack, the debian directory is copied over in
the temporary directory, and all patches except the automatic patch (debian-changes-ver-
sion or debian-changes, depending on --single-debian-patch) are applied. The temporary
directory is compared to the source package directory and the diff (if non-empty) is
stored in the automatic patch. If the automatic patch is created/deleted, it's
added/removed from the series file and from the quilt metadata.
Any change on a binary file is not representable in a diff and will thus lead to a failure
unless the maintainer deliberately decided to include that modified binary file in the
debian tarball (by listing it in debian/source/include-binaries). The build will also fail
if it finds binary files in the debian sub-directory unless they have been whitelisted
The updated debian directory and the list of modified binaries is then used to generate
the debian tarball.
The automatically generated diff doesn't include changes on VCS specific files as well as
many temporary files (see default value associated to -i option in the --help output). In
particular, the .pc directory used by quilt is ignored during generation of the automatic
Note: dpkg-source expects the source tree to have all patches listed in the series file
applied when you generate the source package. This is not the case when the source tree
has been obtained by unpacking a source package using the Format: 1.0 for instance. To
mitigate the problem, dpkg-source will apply the patches by itself if it believes that
they have not yet been applied. To detect this situation, it uses the following heuristic:
it finds the list of supposedly unapplied patches (they are listed in the series file but
not in .pc/applied-patches), and if the first patch in that set can be applied without
errors, it will apply them all. The option --no-preparation can be used to disable this
behaviour. This operation is usually done as part of the --prepare-build command.
Allow dpkg-source to build the source package if the version of the quilt metadata
is the one specified, even if dpkg-source doesn't know about it. Effectively this
says that the given version of the quilt metadata is compatible with the version 2
that dpkg-source currently supports. The version of the quilt metadata is stored in
Do not ignore removed files and include them in the automatically generated patch.
Include timestamp in the automatically generated patch.
Add all modified binaries in the debian tarball. Also add them to
debian/source/include-binaries: they will be added by default in subsequent builds
and this option is thus no more needed.
Do not try to prepare the build tree by applying patches which are apparently unap-
Use debian/patches/debian-changes instead of debian/patches/debian-changes-version
for the name of the automatic patch generated during build. This option is particu-
larly useful when the package is maintained in a VCS and a patch set can't reliably
be generated. Instead the current diff with upstream should be stored in a single
patch. When using this option, it is recommended to create a debian/source/patch-
header file explaining how the Debian changes can be best reviewed, for example in
the VCS that is used.
Automatically create the main original tarball as empty if it's missing and if
there are supplementary original tarballs. This option is meant to be used when the
source package is just a bundle of multiple upstream software and where there's no
Unapply the patches in the --after-build hook. This is mainly useful when you build
your package directly in a VCS that contains unpatched upstream source and where
you want to keep the tree unpatched even after a package build. This option is usu-
ally put in debian/source/local-options (it's not allowed in debian/source/options
so that all generated source packages have the same behaviour by default).
The process fails if an automatic patch has been generated. This option can be used
to ensure that all changes were properly recorded in separate quilt patches prior
to the source package build. This option is not allowed in debian/source/options
but can be used in debian/source/local-options.
Skips extraction of the debian tarball on top of the upstream sources.
Do not apply patches at the end of the extraction.
Format: 3.0 (custom)
This format is particular. It doesn't represent a real source package format but can be
used to create source packages with arbitrary files.
All non-option arguments are taken as files to integrate in the generated source package.
They must exist and are preferrably in the current directory. At least one file must be
Required. Defines the real format of the generated source package. The generated
.dsc file will contain this value in its Format field and not "3.0 (custom)".
Format: 3.0 (git)
This format is experimental.
A source package in this format consists of a single bundle of a git repository .git to
hold the source of a package. There may also be a .gitshallow file listing revisions for
a shallow git clone.
The bundle is cloned as a git repository to the target directory. If there is a gitshal-
low file, it is installed as `.git/shallow` inside the cloned git repository.
Note that by default the new repository will have the same branch checked out that was
checked out in the original source. (Typically "master", but it could be anything.) Any
other branches will be available, under as `remotes/origin/`
Before going any further, some checks are done to ensure that we don't have any non-
ignored uncommitted changes.
git-bundle(1) is used to generate a bundle of the git repository. By default, all
branches and tags in the repository are included in the bundle.
Allows specifying a git ref to include in the git bundle. Use disables the default
behavior of including all branches and tags. May be specified multiple times. The
ref can be the name of a branch or tag to include. It may also be any parameter
that can be passed to git-rev-list(1). For example, to include only the master
branch, use --git-ref=master. To include all tags and branches, except for the pri-
vate branch, use --git-ref=--all --git-ref=^private
Creates a shallow clone with a history truncated to the specified number of revi-
Format: 3.0 (bzr)
This format is experimental. It generates a single tarball containing the bzr repository.
The tarball is unpacked and then bzr is used to checkout the current branch.
Before going any further, some checks are done to ensure that we don't have any non-
ignored uncommitted changes.
Then the VCS specific part of the source directory is copied over to a temporary direc-
tory. Before this temporary directory is packed in a tarball, various cleanup are done to
WARNINGS AND ERRORS
no source format specified in debian/source/format
The file debian/source/format should always exist and indicate the desired source format.
For backwards compatibility, format "1.0" is assumed when the file doesn't exist but you
should not rely on this: at some point in the future dpkg-source will be modified to fail
when that file doesn't exist.
The rationale is that format "1.0" is no longer the recommended format, you should usually
pick one of the newer formats ("3.0 (quilt)", "3.0 (native)") but dpkg-source will not do
this automatically for you. If you want to continue using the old format, you should be
explicit about it and put "1.0" in debian/source/format.
the diff modifies the following upstream files
When using source format "1.0" it is usually a bad idea to modify upstream files directly
as the changes end up hidden and mostly undocumented in the .diff.gz file. Instead you
should store your changes as patches in the debian directory and apply them at build-time.
To avoid this complexity you can also use the format "3.0 (quilt)" that offers this
cannot represent change to file
Changes to upstream sources are usually stored with patch files, but not all changes can
be represented with patches: they can only alter the content of plain text files. If you
try replacing a file with something of a different type (for example replacing a plain
file with a symlink or a directory), you will get this error message.
newly created empty file file will not be represented in diff
Empty files can't be created with patch files. Thus this change is not recorded in the
source package and you are warned about it.
executable mode perms of file will not be represented in diff
special mode perms of file will not be represented in diff
Patch files do not record permissions of files and thus modified permissions are not
stored in the source package. This warning reminds you of that fact.
This file contains on a single line the format that should be used to build the source
package (possible formats are described above). No leading or trailing spaces are allowed.
This file contains a list of binary files (one per line) that should be included in the
debian tarball. Leading and trailing spaces are stripped. Lines starting with "#" are
comments and are skipped. Empty lines are ignored.
This file contains a list of long options that should be automatically prepended to the
set of command line options of a dpkg-source -b or dpkg-source --print-format call.
Options like --compression and --compression-level are well suited for this file.
Each option should be put on a separate line. Empty lines and lines starting with "#" are
ignored. The leading "--" should be stripped and short options are not allowed. Optional
spaces are allowed around the "=" symbol and optional quotes are allowed around the value.
Here's an example of such a file:
# let dpkg-source create a debian.tar.bz2 with maximal compression
compression = "bzip2"
compression-level = 9
# use debian/patches/debian-changes as automatic patch
Note: format options are not accepted in this file, you should use debian/source/format
Exactly like debian/source/options except that the file is not included in the generated
source package. It can be useful to store a preference tied to the maintainer or to the
VCS repository where the source package is maintained.
Free form text that is put on top of the automatic patch generated in formats "2.0" or
This file lists all patches that have to be applied (in the given order) on top of the
upstream source package. Leading and trailing spaces are stripped. Lines starting with "#"
are comments and are skipped. Empty lines are ignored. Remaining lines start with a patch
filename (relative to the debian/patches/ directory) up to the first space character or
the end of line. Optional quilt options can follow up to the end of line or the first "#"
preceded by one or more spaces (which marks the start of a comment up to the end of line).
The point at which field overriding occurs compared to certain standard output field set-
tings is rather confused.
dpkg-deb(1), dpkg(1), dselect(1).
Copyright (C) 1995-1996 Ian Jackson
Copyright (C) 2000 Wichert Akkerman
Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Raphael Hertzog
This is free software; see the GNU General Public Licence version 2 or later for copying
conditions. There is NO WARRANTY.
Debian Project 2011-03-04 dpkg-source(1)