dpkg-buildpackage man page

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:


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).


It checks that the build-dependencies and build-conflicts are satisfied (unless -d or --no-check-builddeps is specified).


If one or more specific targets have been selected with the -T or --target option, it calls those targets and stops here. Otherwise it runs the preclean hook and calls fakeroot debian/rules clean to clean the build-tree (unless -nc or --no-pre-clean is specified).


It runs the source hook and calls dpkg-source -b to generate the source package (if a source build has been requested with --build or equivalent options).


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 --build=source or equivalent options). Note that build-target and binary-target are either build and binary (default case, or if an any and all build has been requested with --build or equivalent options), or build-arch and binary-arch (if an any and not all build has been requested with --build or equivalent options), or build-indep and binary-indep (if an all and not any build has been requested with --build or equivalent options).


Unless a source-only build has been requested, it runs the buildinfo hook and calls dpkg-genbuildinfo to generate a .buildinfo file. Several dpkg-buildpackage options are forwarded to dpkg-genbuildinfo.


It runs the changes hook and calls dpkg-genchanges to generate a .changes file. The name of the .changes file will depend on the type of build and will be as specific as necessary but not more; for a build that includes any the name will be source-name_source-version_arch.changes, or otherwise for a build that includes all the name will be source-name_source-version_all.changes, or otherwise for a build that includes source the name will be source-name_source-version_source.changes. Many dpkg-buildpackage options are forwarded to dpkg-genchanges.


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


It calls dpkg-source --after-build.


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 (as long as it is not an UNRELEASED build, or --no-sign is specified) to sign the .dsc file (if any, unless -us or --unsigned-source is specified), the .buildinfo file (unless -ui, --unsigned-buildinfo, -uc or --unsigned-changes is specified) and the .changes file (unless -uc or --unsigned-changes is specified).


It runs the done hook.


All long options can be specified both on the command line and in the dpkg-buildpackage system and user configuration files. Each line in the configuration file is either an option (exactly the same as the command line option but without leading hyphens) or a comment (if it starts with a ‘#’).


Specifies the build type from a comma-separated list of components (since dpkg 1.18.5). Passed to dpkg-genchanges.

The allowed values are:


Builds the source package. Note: when using this value standalone and 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.


Builds the architecture specific binary packages.


Builds the architecture independent binary packages.


Builds the architecture specific and independent binary packages. This is an alias for any,all.


Builds everything. This is an alias for source,any,all, and the same as the default case when no build option is specified.


Equivalent to --build=source,all (since dpkg 1.17.11).


Equivalent to --build=source,any (since dpkg 1.17.11).


Equivalent to --build=binary or --build=any,all.


Equivalent to --build=any.


Equivalent to --build=all.


Equivalent to --build=source.


Equivalent to --build=full, --build=source,binary or --build=source,any,all (since dpkg 1.15.8).

--target target[,...]
-T, --rules-target=target[,...]

Calls debian/rules target once per target specified, after having setup the build environment (except for calling dpkg-source --before-build), and stops the package build process here (since dpkg 1.15.0, long option since dpkg 1.18.8, multi-target support since dpkg 1.18.16). If --as-root is also given, then the command is executed as root (see --root-command). Note that known targets that are required to be run as root do not need this option (i.e. the clean, binary, binary-arch and binary-indep targets).


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

-m, --release-by=maintainer-address
-e, --build-by=maintainer-address

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.

-P, --build-profiles=profile[,...]

Specify the profile(s) we build, as a comma-separated list (since dpkg 1.17.2, long option since dpkg 1.18.8). 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.

-j, --jobs[=jobs|auto]

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, long option since dpkg 1.18.8). 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 serial execution (since dpkg 1.18.15), although this should only happen on exotic and unsupported systems.

-J, --jobs-try[=jobs|auto]

This option (since dpkg 1.18.2, long option since dpkg 1.18.8) 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.

auto is the default behavior (since dpkg 1.18.11). Setting the number of jobs to 1 will restore a serial behavior.

-D, --check-builddeps

Check build dependencies and conflicts; abort if unsatisfied (long option since dpkg 1.18.8). This is the default behavior.

-d, --no-check-builddeps

Do not check build dependencies and conflicts (long option since dpkg 1.18.8).


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, --no-pre-clean

Do not clean the source tree (long option since dpkg 1.18.8). 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).


Clean the source tree before building (since dpkg 1.18.8).

-tc, --post-clean

Clean the source tree (using gain-root-command debian/rules clean) after the package has been built (long option since dpkg 1.18.8).

-r, --root-command=gain-root-command

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 (long option since dpkg 1.18.8). 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 run.

-R, --rules-file=rules-file

Building a Debian package usually involves invoking debian/rules as a command with several standard parameters (since dpkg 1.14.17, long option since dpkg 1.18.8). 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 hook). All the hooks will run in the unpacked source directory.

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 boolean value (0 or 1), representing whether the following action is being performed.


The source package name.


The source package version.


The source package version (without the epoch).


The upstream version.


Pass option opt to dpkg-genbuildinfo (since dpkg 1.18.11). Can be used multiple times.

-p, --sign-command=sign-command

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 (long option since dpkg 1.18.8). 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.

-k, --sign-key=key-id

Specify a key-ID to use when signing packages (long option since dpkg 1.18.8).

-us, --unsigned-source

Do not sign the source package (long option since dpkg 1.18.8).

-ui, --unsigned-buildinfo

Do not sign the .buildinfo file (since dpkg 1.18.19).

-uc, --unsigned-changes

Do not sign the .buildinfo and .changes files (long option since dpkg 1.18.8).


Do not sign any file, this includes the source package, the .buildinfo file and the .changes file (since dpkg 1.18.20).


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

-i, --diff-ignore[=regex]
-I, --tar-ignore[=pattern]
-z, --compression-level=level
-Z, --compression=compressor

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 times.

--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.


External environment


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 --sign-key option.


If set, it will contain a space-separated list of options that might affect the build process in debian/rules, and the behavior of some dpkg commands.

With nocheck the DEB_CHECK_COMMAND variable will be ignored. With parallel=N the parallel jobs will be set to N, overridden by the --jobs-try option.


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.


Sets the color mode (since dpkg 1.18.5). The currently accepted values are: auto (default), always and never.

Internal environment

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, because that file is the main entry point to build packages and running it standalone should be supported.


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.


This variable is set to the Unix timestamp since the epoch of the latest entry in debian/changelog, if it is not already defined.



System wide configuration file

$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/dpkg/buildpackage.conf or

User configuration file.


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, if the source package does not build both architecture independent and dependent binary packages (since dpkg 1.18.8) it will fallback to use the build target if make -f debian/rules -qn build-target returns 2 as exit code.


It should be possible to specify spaces and shell metacharacters and initial arguments for gain-root-command and sign-command.

See Also

dpkg-source(1), dpkg-architecture(1), dpkg-buildflags(1), dpkg-genbuildinfo(1), dpkg-genchanges(1), fakeroot(1), lintian(1), gpg2(1), gpg(1).

Referenced By

changestool(1), cowpoke(1), cvs-debuild(1), debc(1), debi(1), debsign(1), debuild(1), dgit(1), dgit-maint-merge(7), dh_make(1), dpkg-architecture(1), faked-tcp(1), fakeroot-pseudo(1), fakeroot-tcp(1).

1970-01-01 1.18.22 dpkg suite