Debian Package Repositories

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How to set up a debian package repository

several tools are useful for building package repositories. the simplest and most limited are:

dpkg-scanpackages from the dpkg-dev package

apt-ftparchive from the apt-utils package

for more generic information: debian repository howto

this document discusses using mini-dinstall.

this document assumes that you have an account on, and that you have just built a debian package with debuild.

first thing you need is a .mini-dinstall.conf in your home directory on, here's an example(based almost entirely on /usr/share/doc/mini-dinstall/examples/mini-dinstall.conf.walters):

architectures = all, i386, powerpc
archivedir = ~/public_html/debian/
use_dnotify = 0
verify_sigs = 0
extra_keyrings = ~/.gnupg/pubring.gpg
mail_on_success = 0
archive_style = flat
poll_time = 10
mail_log_level = NONE
generate_release = 1
release_origin =

now run mini-dinstall to initialize the repository:

mini-dinstall --batch

you should now be able to browse to

but you'll see that the Packages file in unstable is empty.

to install something into your repository, you need to grab the .changes file produced from running debuild (part of the devscripts package).

it's usually in the directory just above where you built the package(..), and named something like:



SOURCE-NAME: the source package name. i.e. simple-cdd

VERSION: the version of the source package. i.e. 0.2.0

ARCHITECTURE: the architecture these packages were built on (not necessarily the same as the target architecture of the package). i.e. i386

now that you've located a .changes file(note: any file referenced in the .changes file must be also be present in the same directory as the .changes file), you'll need to use the tool dput to upload the packages into your mini-dinstall repository:

if you built the packages on, it's quite simple:

dput -u local simple-cdd_0.2.0_i386.changes

(you can leave off the -u if you are using gpg to sign your .changes file, which is a very good thing to do!)

if you built the packages on another machine, you'll need to define a ~/.dput.rc file for, on the machine you're uploading from:

method = scp
fqdn =
incoming = /home/vagrant/public_html/debian/mini-dinstall/incoming
run_dinstall = 0
post_upload_command = ssh /usr/bin/mini-dinstall --batch

dput -u llama simple-cdd_0.2.0_i386.changes

since this method requires multiple ssh connections(and multiple password requests), you probably want to learn how to use ssh keys.

now, to download your fine new packages, in /etc/apt/sources.list, you can put a line like this:

deb unstable/

and then:

 apt-get update
 apt-get install your-package

defining additional distributions

if you want additional distributions beyond "unstable", you need to define them in mini-dinstall.conf with the following lines:


then when you're building packages, change the part before the ; on the first line of your debian/changelog to whatever distribution you want it to show up in.

simple-cdd (0.2.0+svn) unstable; urgency=low
 * upload into unstable 
simple-cdd (0.2.0+svn) experimental; urgency=low
 * upload into experimental

and it will get installed into debian/experimental instead of debian/unstable.

you can also define distribution-specific options, read the mini-dinstall man page for more information.

TODO: someday this document will also describe using reprepro.