1. Introduction and scope of these appendices

These appendices, except the final three, are taken essentially verbatim from the now-deprecated Packaging Manual, version They are the chapters which are likely to be of use to package maintainers and which have not already been included in the policy document itself. Most of these sections are very likely not relevant to policy; they should be treated as documentation for the packaging system. Please note that these appendices are included for convenience, and for historical reasons: they used to be part of policy package, and they have not yet been incorporated into dpkg documentation. However, they still have value, and hence they are presented here.

They have not yet been checked to ensure that they are compatible with the contents of policy, and if there are any contradictions, the version in the main policy document takes precedence. The remaining chapters of the old Packaging Manual have also not been read in detail to ensure that there are not parts which have been left out. Both of these will be done in due course.

Certain parts of the Packaging manual were integrated into the Policy Manual proper, and removed from the appendices. Links have been placed from the old locations to the new ones.

dpkg is a suite of programs for creating binary package files and installing and removing them on Unix systems. 1

The binary packages are designed for the management of installed executable programs (usually compiled binaries) and their associated data, though source code examples and documentation are provided as part of some packages.

This manual describes the technical aspects of creating Debian binary packages (.deb files). It documents the behavior of the package management programs dpkg, dselect et al. and the way they interact with packages.

This manual does not go into detail about the options and usage of the package building and installation tools. It should therefore be read in conjunction with those programs’ man pages.

The utility programs which are provided with dpkg not described in detail here, are documented in their man pages.

It is assumed that the reader is reasonably familiar with the dpkg System Administrators’ manual. Unfortunately this manual does not yet exist.

The Debian version of the FSF’s GNU hello program is provided as an example for people wishing to create Debian packages. However, while the examples are helpful, they do not replace the need to read and follow the Policy and Programmer’s Manual.


dpkg is targeted primarily at Debian, but may work on or be ported to other systems.