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5.3. Structure of a Source Package

5.3.1. Format

A source package is usually comprised of three files, a .dsc, a .orig.tar.gz, and a .debian.tar.xz (or .diff.gz). They allow creation of binary packages (.deb files described above) from the source code files of the program, which are written in a programming language.
The .dsc (Debian Source Control) file is a short text file containing an RFC 2822 header (just like the control file studied in Secțiune 5.2.1, „Description: the control File”) which describes the source package and indicates which other files are part thereof. It is signed by its maintainer, which guarantees authenticity. See Secțiune 6.6, „Checking Package Authenticity” for further details on this subject.

Exemplu 5.1. A .dsc file

Hash: SHA512

Format: 3.0 (quilt)
Source: zim
Binary: zim
Architecture: all
Version: 0.68-1
Maintainer: Zim Package Maintainers <>
Uploaders: Raphaël Hertzog <>
Standards-Version: 4.1.3
Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 11), xdg-utils, python (>= 2.6.6-3~), libgtk2.0-0 (>= 2.6), python-gtk2, python-xdg, dh-python
 zim deb x11 optional arch=all
 a3b50aa8e44126cc7edd2c1912adf9820f50ad58 2044224 zim_0.68.orig.tar.gz
 4e13b37625789334da2d95b93e51e41ffd3b6b01 9300 zim_0.68-1.debian.tar.xz
 d91518e010f6a6e951a75314138b5545a4c51151fc99f513aa7768a18858df15 2044224 zim_0.68.orig.tar.gz
 23f4ddc69af74509932acc3b5f0d4cd2af943016e4fd5740b9d98ec4d49fd8c2 9300 zim_0.68-1.debian.tar.xz
 336041a16687abb66fd9f604b98407e8 2044224 zim_0.68.orig.tar.gz
 1714f67b35ab69e709849ad707206ca8 9300 zim_0.68-1.debian.tar.xz

Comment: Signed by Raphael Hertzog

Note that the source package also has dependencies (Build-Depends) completely distinct from those of binary packages, since they indicate tools required to compile the software in question and construct its binary package.
The .orig.tar.gz file is an archive containing the source code as provided by the original developer. Debian package maintainers are asked to not modify this archive in order to be able to easily check the origin and integrity of the file (by simple comparison with a checksum) and to respect the wishes of some authors.
The .debian.tar.xz contains all of the modifications made by the Debian maintainer, especially the addition of a debian directory containing the instructions to execute to construct a Debian package.

5.3.2. Usage within Debian

The source package is the foundation of everything in Debian. All Debian packages come from a source package, and each modification in a Debian package is the consequence of a modification made to the source package. The Debian maintainers work with the source package, knowing, however, the consequences of their actions on the binary packages. The fruits of their labors are thus found in the source packages available from Debian: you can easily go back to them and everything stems from them.
When a new version of a package (source package and one or more binary packages) arrives on the Debian server, the source package is the most important. Indeed, it will then be used by a network of machines of different architectures for compilation on the various architectures supported by Debian. The fact that the developer also sends one or more binary packages for a given architecture (usually i386 or amd64) is relatively unimportant, since these could just as well have been automatically generated.