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dpkg-buildpackage - build binary or source packages from sources


dpkg-buildpackage [option...]


dpkg-buildpackage is a program that automates the process of building a Debian package. It
consists of the following steps:

1. It prepares the build environment by setting various environment variables (see
ENVIRONMENT), runs the init hook, and calls dpkg-source --before-build (unless -T or
--target has been used).

2. It checks that the build-dependencies and build-conflicts are satisfied (unless -d is

3. If a specific target has been selected with the -T or --target option, it calls that
target and stops here. Otherwise it runs the preclean hook and calls fakeroot
debian/rules clean to clean the build-tree (unless -nc is specified).

4. It runs the source hook and calls dpkg-source -b to generate the source package (unless
a binary-only build has been requested with -b, -B or -A).

5. It runs the build hook and calls debian/rules build-target, then runs the binary hook
followed by fakeroot debian/rules binary-target (unless a source-only build has been
requested with -S). Note that build-target and binary-target are either build and
binary (default case, or if -b is specified), or build-arch and binary-arch (if -B or
-G are specified), or build-indep and binary-indep (if -A or -g are specified).

6. It runs the changes hook and calls dpkg-genchanges to generate a .changes file. Many
dpkg-buildpackage options are forwarded to dpkg-genchanges.

7. It runs the postclean hook and if -tc is specified, it will call fakeroot debian/rules
clean again.

8. It calls dpkg-source --after-build.

9. It runs the check hook and calls a package checker for the .changes file (if a command
is specified in DEB_CHECK_COMMAND or with --check-command).

It runs the sign hook and calls gpg2 or gpg to sign the .dsc file (if any, unless -us
is specified or on UNRELEASED builds), and the .changes file (unless -uc is specified
or on UNRELEASED builds).

It runs the done hook.


-g Specifies a build limited to source and architecture independent packages (since
dpkg 1.17.11). Passed to dpkg-genchanges.

-G Specifies a build limited to source and architecture specific packages (since dpkg
1.17.11). Passed to dpkg-genchanges.

-b Specifies a binary-only build, no source files are to be built and/or distributed.
Passed to dpkg-genchanges.

-B Specifies a binary-only build, limited to architecture dependent packages. Passed
to dpkg-genchanges.

-A Specifies a binary-only build, limited to architecture independent packages. Passed
to dpkg-genchanges.

-S Specifies a source-only build, no binary packages need to be made. Passed to
dpkg-genchanges. Note: if what you want is simply to (re-)build the source
package, using dpkg-source is always better as it does not require any build
dependencies to be installed to be able to call the clean target.

-F Specifies a normal full build, binary and source packages will be built (since dpkg
1.15.8). This is the same as the default case when no build option is specified.

--target target
Calls debian/rules target after having setup the build environment and stops the
package build process here (since dpkg 1.15.0). If --as-root is also given, then
the command is executed as root (see -r). Note that official targets that are
required to be run as root by the Debian policy do not need this option.

Only meaningful together with --target (since dpkg 1.15.0). Requires that the
target be run with root rights.

Passed unchanged to dpkg-genchanges. See its manual page.

-a, --host-arch architecture
Specify the Debian architecture we build for (long option since dpkg 1.17.17). The
architecture of the machine we build on is determined automatically, and is also
the default for the host machine.

-t, --host-type gnu-system-type
Specify the GNU system type we build for (long option since dpkg 1.17.17). It can
be used in place of --host-arch or as a complement to override the default GNU
system type of the host Debian architecture.

--target-arch architecture
Specify the Debian architecture the binaries built will build for (since dpkg
1.17.17). The default value is the host machine.

--target-type gnu-system-type
Specify the GNU system type the binaries built will build for (since dpkg 1.17.17).
It can be used in place of --target-arch or as a complement to override the default
GNU system type of the target Debian architecture.

Specify the profile(s) we build, as a comma-separated list (since dpkg 1.17.2).
The default behavior is to build for no specific profile. Also sets them (as a
space separated list) as the DEB_BUILD_PROFILES environment variable which allows,
for example, debian/rules files to use this information for conditional builds.

Number of jobs allowed to be run simultaneously, number of jobs matching the number
of online processors if auto is specified (since dpkg 1.17.10), or unlimited number
if jobs is not specified, equivalent to the make(1) option of the same name (since
dpkg 1.14.7). Will add itself to the MAKEFLAGS environment variable, which should
cause all subsequent make invocations to inherit the option, thus forcing the
parallel setting on the packaging (and possibly the upstream build system if that
uses make) regardless of their support for parallel builds, which might cause build
failures. Also adds parallel=jobs or parallel to the DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS environment
variable which allows debian/rules files to use this information for their own
purposes. The -j value will override the parallel=jobs or parallel option in the
DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS environment variable. Note that the auto value will get replaced
by the actual number of currently active processors, and as such will not get
propagated to any child process. If the number of online processors cannot be
inferred then the code will fallback to using an unlimited number.

This option (since dpkg 1.18.2) is equivalent to the -j option except that it does
not set the MAKEFLAGS environment variable, and as such it is safer to use with any
package including those that are not parallel-build safe.

-D Check build dependencies and conflicts; abort if unsatisfied. This is the default

-d Do not check build dependencies and conflicts.

Do not check built-in build dependencies and conflicts (since dpkg 1.18.2). These
are the distribution specific implicit build dependencies usually required in a
build environment, the so called Build-Essential package set.

-nc Do not clean the source tree. Implies -b if nothing else has been selected among
-F, -g, -G, -B, -A or -S. Implies -d with -S (since dpkg 1.18.0).

-tc Clean the source tree (using gain-root-command debian/rules clean) after the
package has been built.

When dpkg-buildpackage needs to execute part of the build process as root, it
prefixes the command it executes with gain-root-command if one has been specified.
Otherwise, if none has been specified, fakeroot will be used by default, if the
command is present. gain-root-command should start with the name of a program on
the PATH and will get as arguments the name of the real command to run and the
arguments it should take. gain-root-command can include parameters (they must be
space-separated) but no shell metacharacters. gain-root-command might typically be
fakeroot, sudo, super or really. su is not suitable, since it can only invoke the
user's shell with -c instead of passing arguments individually to the command to be

Building a Debian package usually involves invoking debian/rules as a command with
several standard parameters (since dpkg 1.14.17). With this option it's possible
to use another program invocation to build the package (it can include space
separated parameters). Alternatively it can be used to execute the standard rules
file with another make program (for example by using /usr/local/bin/make -f
debian/rules as rules-file).

Command used to check the .changes file itself and any artifact built referenced in
the file (since dpkg 1.17.6). The command should take the .changes pathname as an
argument. This command will usually be lintian.

Pass option opt to the check-command specified with DEB_CHECK_COMMAND or
--check-command (since dpkg 1.17.6). Can be used multiple times.

Set the specified shell code hook-command as the hook hook-name, which will run at
the times specified in the run steps (since dpkg 1.17.6). The hooks will always be
executed even if the following action is not performed (except for the binary

Note: Hooks can affect the build process, and cause build failures if their
commands fail, so watch out for unintended consequences.

The current hook-name supported are:

init preclean source build binary changes postclean check sign done

The hook-command supports the following substitution format string, which will get
applied to it before execution:

%% A single % character.

%a A boolean value (0 or 1), representing whether the following action is being

%p The source package name.

%v The source package version.

%s The source package version (without the epoch).

%u The upstream version.

When dpkg-buildpackage needs to execute GPG to sign a source control (.dsc) file or
a .changes file it will run sign-command (searching the PATH if necessary) instead
of gpg2 or gpg. sign-command will get all the arguments that gpg2 or gpg would have
gotten. sign-command should not contain spaces or any other shell metacharacters.

Specify a key-ID to use when signing packages.

-us Do not sign the source package.

-uc Do not sign the .changes file.

Force the signing of the resulting files (since dpkg 1.17.0), regardless of -us or
-uc or other internal heuristics.

-z, -Z Passed unchanged to dpkg-source. See its manual page.

Pass option opt to dpkg-source (since dpkg 1.15.6). Can be used multiple times.

Pass option opt to dpkg-genchanges (since dpkg 1.15.6). Can be used multiple

--admindir dir
Change the location of the dpkg database (since dpkg 1.14.0). The default location
is /var/lib/dpkg.

-?, --help
Show the usage message and exit.

Show the version and exit.


If set, it will be used as the command to check the .changes file (since dpkg
1.17.6). Overridden by the --check-command option.

If set, it will be used to sign the .changes and .dsc files (since dpkg 1.17.2).
Overridden by the -k option.

If set, and containing nocheck the DEB_CHECK_COMMAND variable will be ignored.

If set, it will be used as the active build profile(s) for the package being built
(since dpkg 1.17.2). It is a space separated list of profile names. Overridden by
the -P option.

Reliance on exported environment flags
Even if dpkg-buildpackage exports some variables, debian/rules should not rely on their
presence and should instead use the respective interface to retrieve the needed values.

Variables set by dpkg-architecture
dpkg-architecture is called with the -a and -t parameters forwarded. Any variable that is
output by its -s option is integrated in the build environment.


Compiler flags are no longer exported
Between dpkg 1.14.17 and 1.16.1, dpkg-buildpackage exported compiler flags (CFLAGS,
CXXFLAGS, FFLAGS, CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS) with values as returned by dpkg-buildflags. This
is no longer the case.

Default build targets
dpkg-buildpackage is using the build-arch and build-indep targets since dpkg 1.16.2. Those
targets are thus mandatory. But to avoid breakages of existing packages, and ease the
transition, it will fallback to using the build target if make -f debian/rules -qn build-
target returns 2 as exit code.

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