Building Packages from Source
You can download the source code for any Debian package from the
Debian archive. You can then modify it, if you wish, and then generate
your own deb file for installation. Or perhaps, like
Gentoo, you are interested in building
the package with your local compilation optimisations to suit your
system specifically. This is all quite easy with Debian.
The steps involved include:
- Obtain the source;
- Unpack the source;
- Apply the patches;
- Compile the source code;
- Build the Debian package.
To obtain the source of a Debian package you will need one or more
deb-src lines in your /etc/apt/sources.list file.
The following is a good start:
deb-src http://ftp.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free
Generally you can add the `-src' to copies of pre-existing `deb' lines.
To obtain and unpack the source Debian package, and have the Debian
patches applied, use:
$ wajig source <package names> (apt-get source)
Note that you can list several packages and grab all of their sources
The source command downloads a tar.gz file, a
dsc file, and possibly a diff file for the
package. The tar.gz file contains the source code and
associated files. The dsc file contains test information
that is used by the packaging system. The diff file
contains changes, as a patch file, made by the Debian maintainer of
the package. The source command will also extract the
contents of the .tar.gz archive into a subdirectory
consisting of the package name and version, and applies the patches
contained in the diff file.
You could reverse the patching using, for example, if the package we
obtained was most_4.9.5-1.deb:
$ zcat most_4.9.5-1.diff.gz | patch -R -p0
To go one step further and also configure and compile the package, and
then generate a default Debian deb package from the
source code then use:
$ wajig build <package names> (apt-get source -b)
This will allow you to apply any optimisations during the compilation
process to suit your own environment. This is similar to
Gentoo, allowing for automatic
optimisation and customisation to suit the user. To tune the build
edit the file /etc/apt/apt-build.conf.
If you need to modify the source to the package (e.g., the package
most) in some way and thus need to rebuild the
deb package, the steps would be:
$ wajig update
$ wajig source most
$ cd most_4.9.5
Now modify the source code to your own liking, then generate the
Debian package with:
$ fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b -uc -us
This leaves a new most_4.9.5-1_i386.deb in the parent
directory, and you can install it directly:
$ cd ..
$ wajig install most_4.9.5-1_i386.deb
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