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This article describes a simple way on how to create a home made debian package and include it into a local package repository. Although we could use a existing Debian/Ubuntu package, we will start from scratch by creating our own minimalistic unofficial debian package. Once our package is ready, we will include it into our local package repository. This article illustrates very simplistic approach of creating debian package, however it may serve as a template in many different scenarios.

1. Creating a binary executable

First we need to create some simple program, compile it and test it. Our program will do nothing else just print "linuxconfig.org" on the screen. Here is a code:

#include <iostream> 
 
int main()
{
  using namespace std;
  cout << "linuxconfig.org\n";
 
return 0;
}

Save the above code as linuxconfig.cc. At this point make sure that you have compiler installed on your system by executing:

apt-get install build-essential

Compile and execute your code with a following command:

$ g++ linuxconfig.cc -o linuxconfig
$ ./linuxconfig 
linuxconfig.org

All is looking good. At this point you should have a binary executable called linuxconfig which prints some string on the screen.

2. Creating a Debian package

Now that we have our small program ready in form of executable binary we can package it up into a debian package. To do that we would use a dpkg-deb tool. But first we need to create a debian package structure. The only files required in to build a debian package are:

  • DEBIAN/control
  • custom files to be part of the package ( not required )

First create a directory called "linuxconfig". This directory will hold all necessary package files:

$ mkdir linuxconfig

Next, create a control file:

$ cd linuxconfig
$ mkdir DEBIAN

When ready open up DEBIAN/control file

$ vi DEBIAN/control

and enter a following information:

Package: linuxconfig
Version: 1.0
Section: custom
Priority: optional
Architecture: all
Essential: no
Installed-Size: 1024
Maintainer: linuxconfig.org
Description: Print linuxconfig.org on the screen

Great, the only thing that is missing is our linuxconfig program. Still in root of linuxconfig directory create a directory which will be used to install linuxconfig program and copy our tiny program into this directory. Best choice for us will be /usr/bin:

$ mkdir -p usr/bin/
$ cp /path/to/linuxconfig usr/bin/

At this point we are ready to create a debian package.

$ cd ..
$ dpkg-deb --build linuxconfig
dpkg-deb: building package `linuxconfig' in `linuxconfig.deb'.
$ ls
linuxconfig  linuxconfig.deb

Change the name to something like:

mv linuxconfig.deb linuxconfig-1.0_i386.deb

All done ! Our package is ready !

NOTE: this is just an example, real debian package to by submitted as a part of debian/ubuntu distribution would require more work.

3. Setting up a local package repository

To do this we would need a webserver. In this case we will use apache with default settings. If you have not done so yet install apache webserver:

# apt-get install apache2

Navigate your browser to the IP address of your webserver. In our case it is http://10.1.1.4/. If this is your default apache webserver configuration you should see a page similar to:


It works!

This is the default web page for this server.

The web server software is running but no content has been added, yet.


The location of this default apache welcome page is:

/var/www

This is exactly the directory where we will store our new debian package. Create a directory "debian" inside /var/www and copy linuxconfig-1.0_i386.deb inside.

# cd /var/www
# mkdir debian
# cp /path/to/linuxconfig-1.0_i386.deb /var/www/debian/

Still in /var/www create a package list using dpkg-scanpackages:

# dpkg-scanpackages debian /dev/null | gzip -9c > debian/Packages.gz
dpkg-scanpackages: warning: Packages in archive but missing from override file:
dpkg-scanpackages: warning:   linuxconfig
dpkg-scanpackages: info: Wrote 1 entries to output Packages file.

Our home made local debian package repository is now ready.

4. Accessing local debian package repository

At this point all should be ready to install our own linuxconfig package via our debian repository. All what needs to be done is to edit /etc/apt/sources.list and update package list on a client machine:.

NOTE: change IP address to reflect your webserver

# echo "deb http://10.1.1.4 debian/" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# apt-get update
Ign http://10.1.1.4 debian/ Release.gpg
Ign http://10.1.1.4/ debian/ Translation-en
Ign http://10.1.1.4/ debian/ Translation-en_AU
Ign http://10.1.1.4 debian/ Release                                                      
Ign http://10.1.1.4 debian/ Packages                                                     
Get:1 http://10.1.1.4 debian/ Packages [303 B] 

All done, now simply install linuxconfig package using apt-get tool:

# apt-get install linuxconfig
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  linuxconfig
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 8 not upgraded.
Need to get 3,362 B of archives.
After this operation, 1,049 kB of additional disk space will be used.
WARNING: The following packages cannot be authenticated!
  linuxconfig
Install these packages without verification [y/N]? y
Get:1 http://10.1.1.4/ debian/ linuxconfig 1.0 [3,362 B]
Fetched 3,362 B in 0s (0 B/s)    
Selecting previously deselected package linuxconfig.
(Reading database ... 95809 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking linuxconfig (from .../linuxconfig_1.0_all.deb) ...
Setting up linuxconfig (1.0) ...

Execute:

# linuxconfig 
linuxconfig.org

If you feel that you do not need this package any more, simply remove it from the system with:

# dpkg -P linuxconfig
(Reading database ... 95810 files and directories currently installed.)
Removing linuxconfig ...
# linuxconfig
bash: /usr/bin/linuxconfig: No such file or directory

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