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 sep-
-x filename.dsc [output-directory]
Extract a source package. One non-option argument must be sup-
plied, 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 following 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
that works from this ordered list: the format(s) indicated with
the --format command-line option(s), the format indicated in
debian/source/format, "1.0", "3.0 (quilt)", "3.0 (native)". See
section SOURCE PACKAGE FORMATS for an extensive description of
the various source package formats.
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
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
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 standard format.
Try first the given format for building the source package. If
used multiple times, they are tried in order. It does override
any format given in debian/source/format.
Set an output substitution variable. See deb-substvars(5) for a
discussion of output substitution.
Read substitution variables in substvarsfile; the default is to
not read any file.
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 cre-
ated files. Supported values are: 1 to 9, best, and fast. 9 is
You may specify a perl regular expression to match files you
want filtered out of the list of files for the diff. (This list
revision control system and want to use a checkout to build a
source package without including the additional files and direc-
tories 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 file-
name or only full filenames, you will need to provide the neces-
sary anchors (e.g. '(^|/)', '($|/)') yourself.
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
-I by itself adds default --exclude options that will filter out
control files and directories of the most common revision con-
trol systems, backup and swap files and Libtool build output
Note: While they have similar purposes, -i and -I have very different
syntax and semantics. -i can only be specified once and takes a perl
compatible regular expression which is matched against the full rela-
tive 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/manual/tar.html#wildcards for a full
The default regexp and patterns for both options can be seen in the
output of the --help command.
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-maintainers.gpg).
SOURCE PACKAGE FORMATS
If you don't know what source format you should use, you should proba-
bly pick either "3.0 (quilt)" or "3.0 (native)". They will become the
default formats in the near future. See
ball in the target directory. Extracting a non-native package is done
by first unpacking the .orig.tar.gz and then applying the patch con-
tained in the .diff.gz file. The timestamp of all patched files is
reset to the extraction time of the source package (this avoids time-
stamp 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 left over).
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
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 orig-
inal source tarfile package_upstream-version.orig.tar.gz or the origi-
nal 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 from it.
-sr Like -su but will remove that directory after it has been used.
-ss Specifies that the original source is available both as a direc-
tory 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 gener-
ate 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 debianisa-
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.
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 different 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 cur-
rent directory nor unpacked. Any original source tree that was
in the current directory is still removed.
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
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 package format.
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 named zz_debian-diff-auto.
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 tempo-
rary files (see default value associated to -I option in the --help
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 tar-
ball (.debian.tar.ext). It can also contain additional original tar-
balls (.orig-component.tar.ext). component can only contain alphanu-
meric characters and dashes ("-").
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 correctly 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 warning when it encounters such options, and the build is likely
Similarly to quilt's default behaviour, the patches can remove files
The file .pc/applied-patches is created if some patches have been
applied during the extraction.
All original tarballs found in the current directory are extracted in a
temporary directory 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-version 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
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 through debian/source/include-binaries.
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 spe-
cific files as well as many temporary files (see default value associ-
ated to -i option in the --help output). In particular, the .pc direc-
tory used by quilt is ignored during generation of the automatic patch.
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.
cally 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 unapplied.
Use debian/patches/debian-changes instead of
debian/patches/debian-changes-version for the name of the auto-
matic patch generated during build. This option is particularly
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.
Skips extraction of the debian tarball on top of the upstream
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 gener-
ated source package. They must exist and are preferrably in the current
directory. At least one file must be given.
Required. Defines the real format of the generated source pack-
age. The generated .dsc file will contain this value in its
Format field and not "3.0 (custom)".
Format: 3.0 (git) and 3.0 (bzr)
Those formats are experimental. They generate a single tarball contain-
ing the corresponding VCS repository.
tarball, various cleanup are done to save space.
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 --com-
pression-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
Free form text that is put on top of the automatic patch generated in
formats "2.0" or "3.0 (quilt)".
This file lists all patches that have to be applied (in the given
order) on top of the upstream source package. Leading and trailing spa-
ces 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 char-
acter 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 settings is rather confused.
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