Overloading the Machine



These are my notes on working with Debian systems and related tools.


~G searches the tag field. Like, aptitude search ~Gwork-with::video.

~i searches installed packages.

To downgrade a package in unstable, add a sources.list entry for testing, then do aptitude update and aptitude install package/testing.


To list the contents of a package, use ar tv <package file>. Or, use debc in the package source tree.

Use debi to test installing the package.

To list all the packages with a particular maintainer, you can do grep-available -sMaintainer,Package john@wjsullivan.net.

To list all of the packages that depend on python, try: grep-available -F Depends python -s Package,Depends


apt-cache rdepends python



With git

Install git-buildpackage and git-doc.


Generate the debian/changelog file:

git-dch —release —meta —full —git-author

Commit the changelog and build the package:

git commit -a -m "debian/changelog for release"

git-buildpackage —git-tag

git-pbuilder update

Setting up a repository

Use dput and mini-dinstall.

Rename a machine

Edit /etc/hostname and then run /etc/init.d/hostname.sh start.

Input layer

I had to get into this to get my thinkpad keys working.

lsinput shows input devices.

input-event monitors input devices.

Philosophy and policy


http://www.debian.org/devel/: The Developer's Corner.

http://db.debian.org/: Queries about developers and machines.

http://www.debian.org/devel/wnpp/: The Work Needing and Prospective Packages list. What's orphaned, what needs new maintainers, what's being packaged and what would be nice to have packaged.

http://qa.debian.org/: The Debian Quality Assurance headquarters. Help is appreciated!

http://bugs.debian.org/: The bug tracking system (BTS).

http://www.debian.org/security/: Security related info. Please read their FAQ, as it will save you (and others) a lot of headaches.

http://packages.debian.org/: Information about packages in the Debian archive.

http://buildd.debian.org/: Build status of Debian packages.

http://lists.debian.org/: Mailing list subscription and archives.

http://qa.debian.org/developer.php: Provides you with an overview of all your packages.

http://lintian.debian.org/: Automated lintian tests on all packages in the Debian Archive.

http://www.netfort.gr.jp/~dancer/column/libpkg-guide/: Debian Library Packaging guide.

http://packages.qa.debian.org/: The Package Tracking System.

http://people.debian.org/~walters/descriptions.html: A small Guide "Writing Debian package descriptions".

https://buildd.debian.org/~luk/status/: Watch your package status.

http://ftp-master.debian.org/REJECT-FAQ.html: Frequently asked questions about why a package is rejected from the NEW queue.

http://www.debian.org/vote/2006/vote_001: The vote on the GFDL


Emacs Policy


rc-alert downloads the list of release-critical bugs, and outputs a list of installed packages with rc bugs.

dpkg -L devscripts grep bin/ shuf -n10 is a fun way to learn about other devscripts.

This page was last modified on 2012 February 28. "NotesDebian" by John Sullivan is Copyright ©2003 - 2011, and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.