DEBCHANGE(1)                General Commands Manual               DEBCHANGE(1)

       debchange  -  Tool  for  maintenance  of the debian/changelog file in a
       source package

       debchange [options] [text ...]
       dch [options] [text ...]

       debchange or its alias dch will add a new comment line  to  the  Debian
       changelog  in  the  current source tree.  This command must be run from
       within that tree.  If the text of the change is given  on  the  command
       line,  debchange  will  run in batch mode and simply add the text, with
       line breaks as necessary, at the appropriate place in  debian/changelog
       (or  the  changelog  specified by options, as described below).  If the
       text given on the command line is a null string, debchange will run  in
       batch  mode  without adding any text.  If the text given on the command
       line is a space string, debchange will run in  batch  mode  and  add  a
       blank changelog entry.  If no text is specified then debchange will run
       the editor as determined by sensible-editor for you to edit  the  file.
       (The  environment variables VISUAL and EDITOR are used in this order to
       determine which editor to use.)  Editors which understand the +n option
       for  starting  the editing on a specified line will use this to move to
       the correct line of the file for editing.  If the editor is quit  with-
       out  modifying the temporary file, debchange will exit without touching
       the existing changelog.  Note that the changelog is assumed to  be  en-
       coded  with  the  UTF-8  encoding.   If  it is not, problems may occur.
       Please see the iconv(1) manpage to find out how to  convert  changelogs
       from  legacy  encodings.  Finally, a changelog or NEWS file can be cre-
       ated from scratch using the --create option described below.

       debchange also supports automatically producing  bug-closing  changelog
       entries,  using  the --closes option.  This will usually query the BTS,
       the Debian Bug Tracking System (see https://bugs.debian.org/) to deter-
       mine the title of the bug and the package in which it occurs.  This be-
       haviour can be stopped by giving a --noquery option or by  setting  the
       configuration  variable  DEBCHANGE_QUERY_BTS to no, as described below.
       In either case, the editor (as described above) will always be  invoked
       to give an opportunity to modify the entries, and the changelog will be
       accepted whether or not modifications are made.  An extra changelog en-
       try can be given on the command line in addition to the closes entries.

       At  most one of --append, --increment, --edit, --release, and --newver-
       sion may be specified as listed below. If no options are specified, de-
       bchange  will  use  heuristics  to guess whether or not the package has
       been successfully released, and behave as if --increment had been spec-
       ified if the package has been released, or otherwise as if --append has
       been specified.

       Two different sets of heuristics can be  used,  as  controlled  by  the
       --release-heuristic  option or the DEBCHANGE_RELEASE_HEURISTIC configu-
       ration variable. The default changelog heuristic  assumes  the  package
       has  been released unless its changelog contains UNRELEASED in the dis-
       tribution field. If this heuristic is  enabled  then  the  distribution
       will  default  to UNRELEASED in new changelog entries, and the --maint-
       trailer option described below will be automatically enabled. This  can
       be  useful if a package can be released by different maintainers, or if
       you do not keep the upload logs. The alternate log heuristic determines
       if a package has been released by looking for an appropriate dupload(1)
       or dput(1) log file in the parent directory.  A warning will be  issued
       if  the log file is found but a successful upload is not recorded. This
       may be because the previous upload was performed with a version of  du-
       pload prior to 2.1 or because the upload failed.

       If  either  --increment or --newversion is used, the name and email for
       the new version will be determined  as  follows.   If  the  environment
       variable  DEBFULLNAME is set, this will be used for the maintainer full
       name; if not, then NAME will be checked.  If the  environment  variable
       DEBEMAIL  is  set,  this  will  be used for the email address.  If this
       variable has the form "name <email>", then  the  maintainer  name  will
       also  be  taken  from  here if neither DEBFULLNAME nor NAME is set.  If
       this variable is not set, the same test is performed on the environment
       variable  EMAIL.  Next, if the full name has still not been determined,
       then use getpwuid(3) to determine the name from the password file.   If
       this  fails,  use the previous changelog entry.  For the email address,
       if it has not been set from DEBEMAIL or EMAIL, then look in  /etc/mail-
       name,  then  attempt  to build it from the username and FQDN, otherwise
       use the email address in the previous changelog entry.  In other words,
       it's  a  good  idea  to  set  DEBEMAIL  and DEBFULLNAME when using this

       Support is included for changelogs that record changes by multiple  co-
       maintainers  of  a package. If an entry is appended to the current ver-
       sion's entries, and the maintainer is different from the maintainer who
       is listed as having done the previous entries, then lines will be added
       to the changelog to tell which maintainers  made  which  changes.  Cur-
       rently  only  one of the several such styles of recording this informa-
       tion is supported, in which the name of the maintainer who made  a  set
       of  changes  appears on a line before the changes, inside square brack-
       ets. This can be switched on and off using the --[no]multimaint  option
       or  the  DEBCHANGE_MULTIMAINT configuration file option; the default is
       to enable it.  Note that if an entry has already been  marked  in  this
       way, then this option will be silently ignored.

       If  the directory name of the source tree has the form package-version,
       then debchange will also attempt to rename it if the (upstream) version
       number  changes.  This can be prevented by using the --preserve command
       line or configuration file option as described below.

       If --force-bad-version or --allow-lower-version is used, debchange will
       not  stop if the new version is less than the current one.  This is es-
       pecially useful while doing backports.

Directory name checking
       In common with several other scripts in  the  devscripts  package,  de-
       bchange will climb the directory tree until it finds a debian/changelog
       file.  As a safeguard against stray files causing  potential  problems,
       it  will examine the name of the parent directory once it finds the de-
       bian/changelog file, and check that the directory name  corresponds  to
       the package name.  Precisely how it does this is controlled by two con-
       figuration  file  variables  DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_LEVEL   and   DE-
       VSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_REGEX,  and their corresponding command-line op-
       tions --check-dirname-level and --check-dirname-regex.

       DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_LEVEL can take the following values:

       0      Never check the directory name.

       1      Only check the directory name if we have had to change directory
              in  our search for debian/changelog.  This is the default behav-

       2      Always check the directory name.

       The directory name is checked by testing whether the current  directory
       name  (as determined by pwd(1)) matches the regex given by the configu-
       ration file option DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_REGEX  or  by  the  command
       line  option  --check-dirname-regex  regex.  Here regex is a Perl regex
       (see perlre(3perl)), which will be anchored at the  beginning  and  the
       end.   If  regex  contains a '/', then it must match the full directory
       path.  If not, then it must match the full directory  name.   If  regex
       contains  the  string  'PACKAGE',  this  will be replaced by the source
       package name, as determined from the changelog.  The default value  for
       the  regex  is:  'PACKAGE(-.+)?', thus matching directory names such as
       PACKAGE and PACKAGE-version.

       The default changelog to be edited is debian/changelog;  however,  this
       can be changed using the --changelog or --news options or the CHANGELOG
       environment variable, as described below.

       --append, -a
              Add a new changelog entry at the end of  the  current  version's

       --increment, -i
              Increment  either the final component of the Debian release num-
              ber or, if this is a native Debian package, the version  number.
              On  Ubuntu  or  Tanglu,  this  will  also change the suffix from
              buildX to ubuntu1/tanglu1.  Use -R, --rebuild for  a  no  change
              rebuild  increment.  This creates a new section at the beginning
              of the changelog with appropriate headers and footers.  Also, if
              this  is a new version of a native Debian package, the directory
              name is changed to reflect this.  If DEBCHANGE_RELEASE_HEURISTIC
              is  changelog  (default)  and the current release is UNRELEASED,
              this will only change  the  version  of  the  current  changelog
              stanza.  Otherwise, this will create a new changelog stanza with
              the new version.

       --newversion version, -v version
              This specifies the version number (including the Debian  release
              part)  explicitly and behaves as the --increment option in other
              respects.  It will also change the directory  name  if  the  up-
              stream version number has changed.  If DEBCHANGE_RELEASE_HEURIS-
              TIC is changelog (default) and  the  current  release  is  UNRE-
              LEASED,  this  will  only  change  the  version  of  the current
              changelog stanza.  Otherwise, this will create a  new  changelog
              stanza with the new version.

       --edit, -e
              Edit the changelog in an editor.

       --release, -r
              Finalize  the  changelog  for  a  release.  Update the changelog
              timestamp. If the distribution is set to UNRELEASED,  change  it
              to  the  distribution  from the previous changelog entry (or an-
              other distribution as specified by  --distribution).   If  there
              are  no  previous changelog entries and an explicit distribution
              has not been specified, unstable will be used (or  the  name  of
              the current development release when run under Ubuntu).

              When  --release is used, an editor is opened to allow inspection
              of the changelog.  The user is required to save the file to  ac-
              cept the modified changelog, otherwise the original will be kept

              Do not do so. Note that a dummy changelog entry may be  supplied
              in  order  to achieve the same effect - e.g. debchange --release
              "".  The entry will not be added to the changelog but its  pres-
              ence will suppress the editor.

              This  will  create  a  new debian/changelog file (or NEWS if the
              --news option is used).  You must be in the top-level  directory
              to  use this; no directory name checking will be performed.  The
              package name and version  can  either  be  specified  using  the
              --package  and  --newversion options, determined from the direc-
              tory name using the --fromdirname  option  or  entered  manually
              into  the  generated changelog file.  The maintainer name is de-
              termined from the environment if this is possible, and the  dis-
              tribution is specified either using the --distribution option or
              in the generated changelog file.

              When used in combination with --create, suppress  the  automatic
              addition  of  an  "initial release" changelog entry (so that the
              next invocation of debchange adds the first entry).   Note  that
              this  will cause a dpkg-parsechangelog warning on the next invo-
              cation due to the lack of changes.

       --package package
              This specifies the package name to be used in the new changelog;
              this may only be used in conjunction with the --create, --incre-
              ment and --newversion options.

       --nmu, -n
              Increment the Debian release number for a non-maintainer  upload
              by  either  appending a ".1" to a non-NMU version number (unless
              the package is Debian native, in which case "+nmu1" is appended)
              or  by  incrementing  an  NMU  version  number,  and  add an NMU
              changelog comment.  This happens automatically if  the  packager
              is  neither  in  the  Maintainer  nor the Uploaders field in de-
              bian/control, unless DEBCHANGE_AUTO_NMU is  set  to  no  or  the
              --no-auto-nmu option is used.

              Increment  the Debian release number for a binary non-maintainer
              upload by either appending a "+b1" to a non-binNMU version  num-
              ber or by incrementing a binNMU version number, and add a binNMU
              changelog comment.

       --qa, -q
              Increment the Debian release number for a Debian QA Team upload,
              and add a QA upload changelog comment.

       --rebuild, -R
              Increment  the  Debian release number for a no-change rebuild by
              appending a "build1" or by incrementing a rebuild  version  num-

       --security, -s
              Increment  the  Debian release number for a Debian Security Team
              non-maintainer upload, and add a Security Team upload  changelog

       --lts  Increment the Debian release number for a LTS Security Team non-
              maintainer upload, and add a LTS Security Team upload  changelog

       --team Increment the Debian release number for a team upload, and add a
              Team upload changelog comment.

       --upstream, -U
              Don't append distro-name1 to the version on a derived  distribu-
              tion. Increment the Debian version.

       --bpo  Increment  the  Debian  release  number for an upload to buster-
              backports, and add a backport upload changelog comment.

              Increment the Debian release number for an upload to the current
              stable release.

       --local, -lsuffix
               Add a suffix to the Debian version number for a local build.

       --force-bad-version, -b
              Force  a  version  number to be less than the current one (e.g.,
              when backporting).

       --allow-lower-version pattern
              Allow a version number to be less than the current  one  if  the
              new version matches the specified pattern.

              Force  the  provided distribution to be used, even if it doesn't
              match the list of known distributions (e.g. for unofficial  dis-

              Attempt  to  automatically  determine  whether  a  change to the
              changelog represents a Non Maintainer Upload.  This is  the  de-

              Disable  automatic  NMU  detection.   Equivalent  to setting DE-
              BCHANGE_AUTO_NMU to no.

       --fromdirname, -d
              This will take the upstream version number  from  the  directory
              name,  which  should be of the form package-version.  If the up-
              stream  version  number  has  increased  from  the  most  recent
              changelog entry, then a new entry will be made with version num-
              ber version-1 (or version if the package is Debian native), with
              the same epoch as the previous package version.  If the upstream
              version number is the same, this option will behave in the  same
              way as -i.

       --closes nnnnn[,nnnnn ...]
              Add  changelog entries to close the specified bug numbers.  Also
              invoke the editor after adding  these  entries.   Will  generate
              warnings  if  the BTS cannot be contacted (and --noquery has not
              been specified), or if there are problems with  the  bug  report

              Should  we  attempt  to query the BTS when generating closes en-

       --preserve, -p
              Preserve the source tree directory name if the upstream  version
              number  (or  the  version  number  of  a  Debian native package)
              changes.  See also the configuration variables section below.

        --no-preserve, --nopreserve
              Do not preserve the source tree directory name (default).

       --vendor vendor
              Override the distributor ID over the default returned  by  dpkg-
              vendor.  This name is used for heuristics applied to new package
              versions and for sanity checking of the target distribution.

       --distribution dist, -D dist
              Use the specified distribution  in  the  changelog  entry  being
              edited,  instead of using the previous changelog entry's distri-
              bution for new entries or the existing value  for  existing  en-

       --urgency urgency, -u urgency
              Use  the  specified urgency in the changelog entry being edited,
              instead of using the default "medium" for new entries or the ex-
              isting value for existing entries.

       --changelog file, -c file
              This  will  edit  the changelog file instead of the standard de-
              bian/changelog.  This option overrides any CHANGELOG environment
              variable  setting.   Also,  no  directory traversing or checking
              will be performed when this option is used.

       --news [newsfile]
              This will edit newsfile (by default, debian/NEWS) instead of the
              regular  changelog.  Directory searching will be performed.  The
              changelog will be examined in order  to  determine  the  current
              package version.

              Should  we  indicate  that  parts of a changelog entry have been
              made by different maintainers?  Default is yes; see the  discus-
              sion  above and also the DEBCHANGE_MULTIMAINT configuration file
              option below.

              Should all changes made by the same author be  merged  into  the
              same changelog section?  Default is no; see the discussion above
              and also the DEBCHANGE_MULTIMAINT_MERGE configuration  file  op-
              tion below.

       --maintmaint, -m
              Do  not  modify  the maintainer details previously listed in the
              changelog.  This is useful particularly for sponsors wanting  to
              automatically  add  a sponsorship message without disrupting the
              other changelog details.  Note that there may be some  interest-
              ing  interactions  if  multi-maintainer mode is in use; you will
              probably wish to check the changelog manually  before  uploading
              it in such cases.

       --controlmaint, -M
              Use  maintainer details from the debian/control Maintainer field
              rather than relevant environment variables  (DEBFULLNAME,  DEBE-
              MAIL,  etc.).  This option might be useful to restore details of
              the main maintainer in the changelog trailer after a bogus  edit
              (e.g. when -m was intended but forgot) or when releasing a pack-
              age in the name of the main maintainer (e.g. the team).

       --[no]mainttrailer, -t
              If mainttrailer is set, it will  avoid  modifying  the  existing
              changelog  trailer  line (i.e. the maintainer and date-stamp de-
              tails), unless used with options that require the trailer to  be
              modified (e.g. --create, --release, -i, --qa, etc.)  This option
              differs from --maintmaint in that it will  use  multi-maintainer
              mode  if appropriate, with the exception of editing the trailer.
              See also the DEBCHANGE_MAINTTRAILER  configuration  file  option

       --check-dirname-level N
              See  the above section "Directory name checking" for an explana-
              tion of this option.

       --check-dirname-regex regex
              See the above section "Directory name checking" for an  explana-
              tion of this option.

       --no-conf, --noconf
              Do  not  read any configuration files.  This can only be used as
              the first option given on the command-line.

       --release-heuristic log|changelog
              Controls how debchange determines if  a  package  has  been  re-
              leased, when deciding whether to create a new changelog entry or
              append to an existing changelog entry.

       --help, -h
              Display a help message and exit successfully.

              Display version and copyright information and exit successfully.

       The two configuration files /etc/devscripts.conf and ~/.devscripts  are
       sourced in that order to set configuration variables.  Command line op-
       tions can be used to override configuration file settings.  Environment
       variable  settings  are ignored for this purpose.  The currently recog-
       nised variables are:

              If this is set to yes, then it is the  same  as  the  --preserve
              command line parameter being used.

              If  this is set to no, then it is the same as the --noquery com-
              mand line parameter being used.

              See the above section "Directory name checking" for an  explana-
              tion  of these variables.  Note that these are package-wide con-
              figuration variables, and will therefore affect  all  devscripts
              scripts  which  check their value, as described in their respec-
              tive manpages and in devscripts.conf(5).

              Controls how debchange determines if  a  package  has  been  re-
              leased, when deciding whether to create a new changelog entry or
              append to an existing changelog entry.  Can  be  either  log  or

              If  set  to no, debchange will not introduce multiple-maintainer
              distinctions when a different maintainer appends an entry to  an
              existing changelog.  See the discussion above.  Default is yes.

              If  set  to yes, when adding changes in multiple-maintainer mode
              debchange will check whether previous  changes  by  the  current
              maintainer  exist  and add the new changes to the existing block
              rather than creating a new block.  Default is no.

              If this is set to no, then it is  the  same  as  the  --nomaint-
              trailer command line parameter being used.

              Use  this  timezone  for  changelog  entries.   Default  is  the
              user/system timezone as shown by `date -R` and affected  by  the
              environment variable TZ.

              If this is set, then it is the same as the --allow-lower-version
              command line parameter being used.

              If this is set to no then debchange will not attempt to automat-
              ically determine whether the current changelog stanza represents
              an NMU.  The default is yes.  See the discussion  of  the  --nmu
              option above.

              If   this   is   set   to  no,  then  it  is  the  same  as  the
              --no-force-save-on-release command line parameter being used.

              Use this vendor instead of  the  default  (dpkg-vendor  output).
              See --vendor for details.

              See  the above description of the use of these environment vari-

              This variable specifies the changelog to edit in  place  of  de-
              bian/changelog.  No directory traversal or checking is performed
              when this variable is set.  This variable is overridden  by  the
              --changelog command-line setting.

              These environment variables (in this order) determine the editor
              used by sensible-editor.

       debc(1), debclean(1), dput(1), dupload(1), devscripts.conf(5)

       The original author was Christoph Lameter <clameter@debian.org>.   Many
       substantial  changes  and  improvements  were  made  by  Julian  Gilbey

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