Though the way towards building my first package for the Debian package manager was hard. And I don’t even know anymore for sure why. Because in the end, once knowing the progress, building the package was almost easy. Said after N failed attempts to do so.
As hinted at a different place I used some time at the Friendica Hackathon the other week in Berlin, to build a preliminary Debian package for the project. Actually it is two, one for the core and one for the addons. They are not ready, and there is a long way to go until they are. At least I think so.
Nevertheless I wanted to write down some notes about the process to keep them somewhere and maybe help others in the process.
Before I begin, let me drop some links that were helpful for me:
- Debian Binary Package Building HOWTO
- Debian Webapps Policy Manual
- Debian package listing for Stretch.
And you should have installed dpkg-dev, fakeroot and lintian packages.
So, Friendica sources are programming fun and hence the git-repository clones sit in
To be precise in the
Just clone them into there.
Furthermore we need a directory, per package, that contains the files that should be packed in the places where we expect them to be once the package is installed.
Every package needs a place to store the documentation files in
Another place is for the other contents of the package
And for all the configuration of the package itself, there has to be a special
So we got a basic layout of the directory structure like:
$HOME/programming/friendica/friendica-3.5.4-1 ├── DEBIAN └── usr └── share ├── doc │ └── friendica └── friendica
First checkout version 3.5.4 in
$HOME/programming/friendica/friendica and then copy over the files to the appropriate locations in the fake filesystem under
The contents of the
doc directory, all go into
The Webapps Policy Manual says the proper place for static and dynamic interpreted content is
usr/share/friendica/www so the files from the repository (except the documentation) goes there.
As Friendica needs to be able to access the documentation files from
http://example.com/help I added a symlink from the
usr/share/doc/friendica directory to
Friendica has some example configuration files for lighttpd and nginx in the mods directory, that is not needed for running the communications server with Apache.
On the other hand I don’t want to exclude this information from the package.
So I placed them into the
$HOME/programming/friendica/friendica-3.5.4-1 ├── DEBIAN └── usr └── share ├── doc │ └── friendica └── friendica └── examples └─── www
So with all of the files from the Friendica repository in place, there are some important files needed to build a Debian package.
Every package must have a
copyright file in their documentation directory, alongside with a
For the configuration of the package you need a
control file in the
Additionally I needed a
postinst file in the
DEBIAN subdirectory to perform some commands after the installation of the package to simplify the setup process by the user of the package.
The DEBIAN/control file contains some meta information about the package. Its name, version, which package section it belongs to, who the maintainer is. But also on which other packages it depends upon and what packages might be good to have. For the Friendica package mine looks like this at the moment:
Package: friendica Version: 3.5.4-1 Section: web Priority: optional Architecture: all Depends: php (>=5.4), php-cli (>=5.4), php-curl, php-gd, php-mbstring, php-mcrypt, php-mysql, php-xml, python, python3, default-mysql-server (>= 1.0.2), default-mysql-client (>= 1.0.2), default-mta Recommends: friendica-addon (=3.5.4-1) Suggests: php-imagick, certbot, php-imap Maintainer: Tobias Diekershoff
Description: Friendica Social Communications Server Welcome to the free social web. . Friendica is a communications platform for integrated social communications utilising decentralised communications and linkage to several indie social projects - as well as popular mainstream providers. . Our mission is to free our friends and families from the clutches of data-harvesting corporations, and pave the way to a future where social communications are free and open and flow between alternate providers as easily as email does today.
The description text is taken from the project README file. We recommend the installation of the addon package, of the same version, as well. The PHP packages for imagick and IMAP would be nice for some of Friendicas features, but not a must have. And with the certbot package it may be easier to get a certificate for HTTPS configuration, but again, it is not a must have. The package clearly aims at Apache2 as a web server, ensures that all needed PHP packages are installed and that there is a MySQL compatible database server (in the case of Debian Stretch this will be MariaDB) alongside a working MTA.
The changelog.Debian(.gz) file looks like this at the moment:
friendica (3.5.4-1) stable; urgency=low * initial work on a DEB package -- Tobias Diekershoff
Mon, 04 Dec 2017 21:37:00 +0100
The desired format is documented here in the Debian guidelines. In time I guess this will grow somewhat.
And the README.debian file just contains some information on how to proceed with the Friendica installation after the package was installed.
changelog.DEBIAN and the project
changelog file need to be zipped, without timestamps;
gzip --best -n will do this.
The copyright file must be located in the
usr/share/doc/friendica directory and must contain all copyright information about all shipped files.
In the simplest form it would look something like this:
Format: https://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/copyright-format/1.0/ Upstream-Name: Friendica Source: https://github.com/friendica/friendicabut as Friendica ships with the needed libraries it gets more lenghy. Every library needs it own information block attributing the author and the license. These blocks contain the
Files: * Copyright: 2017-2017 Friendica Community License: AGPL-3+
Licenselines with an empty line above each block for separation.
Building the Package
So, lets build the package.
This has to be done from the parent directory of the directory containing the fake-filesystem.
In my case this is
The command for building the package is
fakeroot dpkg-deb --build friendica-3.5.4-1
which will generate a DEB archive with the name
friendica-3.5.4-1.deb in the current directory.
Note that the version numbers have to match between the call above, the version in the
DEBIAN/control file and the directory name.
fakeroot command is used to get the file ownership to the root user and not your account.
Now you should check the generated package with
lintian for errors and warnings.
lintian friendica-3.5.4-2.deb --no-tag-display-limit
Even if we don’t plan to include the package in the Debian repositories ATM, I think it is good to minimize the warnings and erase all the errors if possible.
Normally lintian would only show one warning a couple of times, with the
--no-tag-display-limit you get to see all orrurences of a warning or error.
And this was my, finally successful, very pragmatic way on building packages for Debian.
Please note, this packages for Debian assume some things (the policy manual explicitely says one should not assume anything) like that one wants to run Friendica on top of the Apache2, MySQL, PHP stack—not using any other webserver. So if these packages become available, and you want to use e.g. nginx, you will have to perform a manual installation most likely.