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Packaging applications for Debian

This article was first written in December 2005 for the BeezNest technical
website (http://glasnost.beeznest.org/articles/313).

To do the best use of Debian’s superior package management system (APT), the application must be packaged, in the form of one or several .deb files. Packaging has many, many advantages, you just couldn’t believe.

As Debian is all about Free Software, it is clear that the preferred source for a package be the upstream source package. That way, submitting patches upstream is as simple as possible as they are naturally available to the World. Anyway, even then, there are still many ways to package an application.

To achieve our goals, we often have to (re-)package or backport applications. We also often submit improvements or bugfixes to existing packages, as a continuous goal to contribute to the Free Software Community, and Debian in particular.

We packaged several programs, of which Exact, IPblocker, XAMS, AND, Configurator for GNOME (COG), MnoGoSearch, p910nd, DCL, Dokeos, Plume.

We also contributed to the well-known backports of GNOME 2.2 for Woody, OpenOffice.org for Woody, OpenOffice.org 2.0 for Sarge, and yet several others.

This rubric will tell you some of the techniques we use to do it all. We hope you’ll join us soon…

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