Each Debian source package contains the master "control" file, which
contains at least 2 paragraphs, separated by a blank line. The first
paragraph lists all information about the source package in general,
while each following paragraph describes exactly one binary package.
Each paragraph consists of at least one field. A field starts with a
fieldname, such as Package or Section (case insensitive), followed by a
colon, the body of the field and a newline. Multi-line fields are also
allowed, but each supplementary line, without a fieldname, should start
with at least one space. The content of the multi-line fields is gener-
ally joined to a single line by the tools (except in the case of the
Description field, see below). To insert empty lines into a multi-line
field, insert a dot after the space. Lines starting with a '#' are
treated as comments.
Source: source-package-name (required)
The value of this field is the name of the source package, and
should match the name of the source package in the
debian/changelog file. A package name must consist only of lower
case letters (a-z), digits (0-9), plus (+) and minus (-) signs,
and periods (.). Package names must be at least two characters
long and must start with an alphanumeric character.
Maintainer: fullname-email (required)
Should be in the format "Joe Bloggs <firstname.lastname@example.org>", and ref-
erences the person who currently maintains the package, as
opposed to the author of the software or the original packager.
Lists all the names and email addresses of co-maintainers of the
package, in the same format as the Maintainer field. Multiple
co-maintainers should be separated by a comma.
This documents the most recent version of the standards (which
consists of the Debian Policy Manual and referenced texts from
the debian-policy package) this package complies to.
This field indicates whether the package can be uploaded by
Debian Maintainers appearing in the Maintainer or Uploaders
field. The default value is "no".
Cvs, Darcs, Git, Hg (Mercurial), Mtn (Monotone) and Svn (Subver-
sion). Usually this field points to the latest version of the
package, such as the main branch or the trunk.
The url of a webinterface to browse the Version Control System
The name of the distribution this package is originating from.
This field is usually not needed.
This is a general field that gives the package a category based
on the software that it installs. Some common sections are
"utils", "net", "mail", "text", "x11", etc.
Sets the importance of this package in relation to the system as
a whole. Common priorities are "required", "standard",
"optional", "extra", etc.
In Debian, the Section and Priority fields have a defined set of
accepted values based on the Policy Manual. A list of these
values can be obtained from the latest version of the
A list of packages that need to be installed and configured to
be able to build the source package.
Same as Build-Depends, but they are only needed when building
the architecture independent packages. The Build-Depends are
also installed in this case.
A list of packages that should not be installed when the package
is build, for example because they interfere with the used build
Same as Build-Conflicts, but only when building the architecture
The syntax of the Build-Depends and Build-Depends-Indep fields
lowed by a version number specification in parentheses and an
architecture specification in square brackets.
A version number may start with a ">>", in which case any later
version will match, and may specify or omit the Debian packaging
revision (separated by a hyphen). Accepted version relationships
are ">>" for greater than, "<<" for less than, ">=" for greater
than or equal to, "<=" for less than or equal to, and "=" for
A architecture specification consists of one or more architec-
ture names, separated by whitespace. Exclamation marks may be
prepended to each of the names, meaning "NOT".
Note that dependencies on packages in the build-essential set
can be omitted and that declaring build conflicts against them
is impossible. A list of these packages is in the build-essen-
Note that the Priority, Section and Homepage fields can also be in a
binary paragraph to override the global value from the source package.
Package: binary-package-name (required)
This field is used to name the binary package name. The same
restrictions as to a source package name apply.
Architecture: arch|all|any (required)
The architecture specifies on which type of hardware this pack-
age runs. For packages that run on all architectures, use the
any value. For packages that are architecture independent, such
as shell and Perl scripts or documentation, use the all value.
To restrict the packages to a certain set of architectures,
specify the architecture names, separated by a space. It's also
possible to put architecture wildcards in that list (see
dpkg-architecture(1) for more information about them).
This field defines the type of the package. "udeb" is for size-
constrained packages used by the debian installer. "deb" is the
default value, it's assumed if the field is absent. More types
might be added in the future.
These fields are used by the debian-installer and are usually
not needed. See /usr/share/doc/debian-installer/devel/mod-
These fields declare relationships between packages. They are
discussed in the deb-control(5) manpage and in the debian-policy
It is allowed to add additional user-defined fields to the control
file. The tools will ignore these fields. If you want the fields to be
copied over to the output files, such as the binary packages, you need
to use a custom naming scheme: the fields should start with a X, fol-
lowed by one or more of the letters BCS and a hypen. If the letter B is
used, the field will appear in the control file in the binary package,
see deb-control(5), for the letter S in the source package control file
as constructed by dpkg-source(1) and for the letter C in the upload
control (.changes) file. Note that the X[BCS]- prefixes are stripped
when the fields are copied over to the output files. A field
XC-Approved-By will appear as Approved-By in the changes file and will
not appear in the binary or source package control files.
Maintainer: Dpkg Developers <email@example.com>
# this field is copied to the binary and source packages
Build-Depends: pkg-config, debhelper (>= 4.1.81),
libselinux1-dev (>= 1.28-4) [!linux-any]
# this is a custom field in the binary package
XB-Mentoring-Contact: Raphael Hertzog <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Depends: dpkg (>= 1.14.6), perl5, perl-modules, cpio (>= 2.4.2-2),
bzip2, lzma, patch (>= 2.2-1), make, binutils, libtimedate-perl
Recommends: gcc | c-compiler, build-essential
Suggests: gnupg, debian-keyring
Conflicts: dpkg-cross (<< 2.0.0), devscripts (<< 2.10.26)
Debian Project 2011-08-14 deb-src-control(5)
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