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pbuilder - Man Page

personal package builder


pbuilder create [options]

pbuilder update [options]

pbuilder build [options] .dsc-file

pbuilder clean

pbuilder login [options]

pbuilder execute [options] -- script [script options]

pbuilder dumpconfig

pbuilder debuild [options]


Front end program to the pbuilder suite of programs, used for creating and maintaining chroot environment and building Debian package in the chroot environment.



Creates a base.tgz for the specified distribution.


Updates the base.tgz for the specified distribution. Also, by specifying the --override-config option, it is possible to install a new apt-line using the given options and settings in the configuration file for the base.tgz.

For example, to switch the distribution of an existing base.tgz to sid, specify the --distribution sid --override-config options to update.


Builds the package specified by .dsc-file in the chroot environment created using the base.tgz


Cleans up the directory specified by the configuration BUILDPLACE and APTCACHE specified in /etc/pbuilderrc


Logs into the chroot, and cleaned up afterwards. Any changes you make will not be kept. Only use this for temporary and debugging purposes. Do not bind-mount filesystems directly inside the chroot. Use --bindmounts option to mount.


Execute a script or command inside the chroot, in a similar manner to login

The file specified in the command-line argument will be copied into the chroot, and invoked.

The remaining arguments are passed on to the script.


Dumps configuration information, used for debugging.


Builds a Debian package from the Debian source directory. The current directory should have the usual debian/ directory.

Same as pdebuild --use-pdebuild-internal


The command is followed by options of the form --option name which will modify the semantics as explained below. They are applied from left-to-right, and when there are conflicting options, the rightmost options will have effect.

--basetgz [basetgz-location]

Specifies the location of base.tgz

This option will define the default distribution and apt-lines when used in pbuilder update and pbuilder create

--buildplace [location of build]

Specifies the location where building and base.tgz updating and creation takes place. This is a temporary work directory.

A subdirectory of that directory using the current PID of the process is used.

--buildresult [location to put build result]

Specifies the location the build result gets into after building. The deb files and other files that have resulted from build is copied there. Note that the default value is not the current directory, or .. but another place, /var/cache/pbuilder/result This is to avoid overwriting already existing deb files with the newly generated ones.

--mirror [mirror location]

Specifies the URL of Debian mirror to be specified in sources.list inside the chroot. This option is only valid when distribution is being specified, for update and build targets. The format is something like: http://http.us.debian.org/debian which should point to your favourite mirror.

This option can optionally be omitted, and left blank, in which case, this part is skipped.

Note that these URLs specified to pbuilder will be used from within the chroot, and specifying file:/somewhere/ will most probably fail.

--othermirror [deb http://xxx/xxx/ ./ | other deb lines... ]

The lines which is added to the sources.list, delimited with | Like deb http://local/mirror stable main|deb file:/usr/local/mirror ./

The deb lines here are the ones that will appear at the top of the sources.list inside the chroot. Be sure to follow the syntax rules of sources.list(5). These lines appear at the beginning of the constructed sources file, so this is the place to list your local mirror sites; apt will then use them in preference to the ones listed in --mirror .

--distribution [distribution]

Specifies the distribution used.  The supported values are the ones debootstrap supports, plus experimental which is special cased in pbuilder.  For instance you may use: sid or experimental .

--architecture [architecture]

Specifies the build architecture (as described in dpkg-architecture(1)). It'll be the architecture used when creating the chroot, defaults to the system one.  The supported values are the ones debootstrap supports.

--host-arch [architecture]

Specifies the host architecture (as described in dpkg-architecture(1)). Defaults to the build architecture. Use this flag if you are interested in doing a cross architecture build. pbuilder will make sure the environment is correctly set up, including adding nocheck to DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS and DEB_BUILD_PROFILES.


Suppress automatic addition of nocheck to DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS and DEB_BUILD_PROFILES in case of cross-building.  All the other configuration (adding the architecture to dpkg, updating the apt cache, installing the cross toolchain, passing --host-arch to dpkg-buildpackage, etc) is done nonetheless; specify this flag twice to prevent that from happening too.

--components [components]

Specifies the default distribution components to use. eg. "main contrib non-free". Default is "main".


Specify to use different apt set up inside the chroot than it was used for creating the base.tgz. Specify this when you want to do pbuilder update with a different distribution target set up.

--distribution , --components , --mirror , --othermirror options are only valid when --override-config option is specified in update target, or when pbuilder create is being called.

--http-proxy [proxy]

Specifies the http proxy URL. Something like http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8080/ should do.

--use-network [yes|no]

Specify yes when you do not want to disable network access during build. Network is not available on a Debian buildd, so you might want to keep the default of no. Disabling network access currently only works on Linux.

--aptcache [location of retrieved package files]

Specifies the location where the packages downloaded by apt should be cached. Use --aptcache "" if you want caching to be turned off.


This option is used in the update target, and enable the use of debdelta (if it is already installed, otherwise will be installed the first time this option is used).

--configfile [configuration file to load]

Additional configuration file to read after all other configuration files have been read.

--hookdir [location of user scripts]

Specifies the location where scripts for user intervention during the create and update process are stored. Scripts are executed inside the chroot. The script names must be in the form X<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> much like boot scripts. The scripts must be executable and may be either binaries or interpreted scripts. If it is a script in other than Bourne Shell or Perl, it is up to the user to ensure the interpreter was previously installed in the chrooted environment. Files ending in ~ or .bak are ignored.

Although it may not seem necessary, pbuilder --update does not invoke the hooks if --hookdir is empty, so if you want to avoid running hooks, run pbuilder with --hookdir ""

If there is a distribution hook, for example, if there was a file sid inside the hook directory, and the script was creating the chroot for sid distribution, pbuilder will call debootstrap with that as the 4th parameter in the chroot creation process. This allows for use of custom debootstrap hook script.

A<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is for build target. It is executed before build starts; after unpacking the build system, and unpacking the source, and satisfying the build-dependency.

B<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed after build system finishes building, successfully, before copying back the build result.

C<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed after build failure, before cleanup.

D<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed before unpacking the source inside the chroot, after setting up the chroot environment. Create $TMP, and $TMPDIR if necessary.

This is called before build-dependency is satisfied. Also useful for calling apt-get update

E<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed after pbuilder update
and pbuilder create finishes apt-get work with the chroot, before umounting kernel file systems (/proc) and creating the tarball from the chroot.

F<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed just before user logs in, or program starts executing, after chroot is created in login or execute target.

G<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed just after debootstrap finishes, and configuration is loaded, and pbuilder starts mounting /proc and invoking apt-get install in create target.

H<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed just after unpacking the chroot, mounting proc and any bind mount specified in BINDMOUNTS.  It's executed for every target that requires the unpacked chroot.  It's useful if you want to dynamically change the chroot guts before anything starts using it.

I<digit><digit><whatever-else-you-want> is executed after build system finishes building, successfully, after copying back the build results.

In your hook the following environment variables are available:

PBUILDER_OPERATION a string indicating which of the pbuilder command has been called.  Possible values are build, clean, create, debuild, dumpconfig, execute, login, update.
BUILDDIR the place where the build happens, the sources are inside a directory named <package>-<version>.
DISTRIBUTION the name of the used distribution, as provided by the DISTRIBUTION config value, or the --distribution command line flag.
BUILD_ARCH contains the build architecture, the architecture the package is building on.
HOST_ARCH contains the host architecture, the architecture the package is building for.

--debbuildopts [options]

List of options that are passed on to dpkg-buildpackage.  Multiple flags are additive and are appended to the value of DEBBUILDOPTS as specified in pbuilderrc.  To clear the list of options, pass the empty string, e.g. --debbuildopts "".

Multiple options are delimited with spaces, like --debbuildopts "-j100 -E"

--profiles [profile1[,profile2]]

Comma-separated list of build profiles to use during the build.  It overrides a possible DEB_BUILD_PROFILES environment variable already defined.

--logfile [file to log]

Specifies the logfile to create. The messages generated during execution will be written to the specified file, and the standard output.

--loglevel I

Specify how much output you want from pbuilder, valid values are E (errors only), W (errors and warnings), I (errors, warnings and informational) and D (everything including some debug messages).


Specify to build only architecture specific targets instead of all targets. This instructs pbuilder to respect only Build-Depends, Build-Depends-Arch, Build-Conflicts, Build-Conflicts-Arch source relationships, and calls dpkg-buildpackage with -B.

Setting --debbuildopts after this option will re-set some parts of the effects.

Use this option rather than using --debbuildopts -B.


Specify to build only architecture independent targets instead of all targets. This instructs pbuilder to respect only Build-Depends, Build-Depends-Indep, Build-Conflicts, Build-Conflicts-Indep source relationships, and calls dpkg-buildpackage with -A.

Setting --debbuildopts after this option will re-set some parts of the effect.

Use this option rather than using --debbuildopts -A.

--source-only-changes,  --no-source-only-changes

Specify whether or not to generate an additional .changes file for a source-only upload, whilst still producing a full .changes file for any binary packages built.

--bin-nmu [changelog message]

Specify to build a binary-NMU instead of a standard package. This option takes the changelog message to pass to the binary-NMU package as parameter.

--bin-nmu-maintainer [maintainer]

Specify the maintainer name and email address to be displayed in the changes file. If no maintainer is provided, it defaults to the last uploader.

--bin-nmu-version [version number]

Specify the number to append to the version in the binary-NMU package. If no number is provided, it defaults to 1.

--bin-nmu-timestamp [timestamp]

Specify the timestamp to use in the generated chagnelog entry. If no timestamp is provided, it defaults to current time. If you want to specify the time as a number of seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC, prepend an at sign (@) like @1478786376.

--bindmounts bind-mount-points

Bind-mount the specified directories to inside the chroot. bind-mount-points is a space-delimited list of directories to bind-mount which should be specified in a space-delimited manner, surrounded in double quotations, like: "/srv /somedir /someotherdir"

--debootstrapopts --variant=buildd --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/debian-archive-keyring.gpg

Add extra command-line options to debootstrap.

Specify multiple options through multiple instance of this option, for example:

--debootstrapopts --arch=arm --debootstrapopts --variant=buildd

--debootstrap debootstrap

Use specified debootstrap implementation as debootstrap. Known implementations are cdebootstrap, qemu-debootstrap and debootstrap and default is to use debootstrap.


Allow untrusted (no key installed) and unsigned repositories. Warning: Enabling this option may allow remote attackers to compromise the system. Better use signed repositories and --keyring to add the key(s).

--keyring path/to/keyring

Additional keyrings to use for package verification with apt, not used for debootstrap (use --debootstrapopts). Use this to add (local) signed repositories. By default the debian-archive-keyring package inside the chroot is used. Can be specified multiple times.

Keyrings are copied into /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d in the chroot.  APT supports it since version, firstly available in the Debian release codenamed "squeeze" (released on 2011). For older chroots, use a G hook to run apt-key manually.


Save the chroot image after exiting from the chroot instead of deleting changes. Effective for login and execute session.


Clean apt cache automatically, to run apt-get autoclean to only keep the packages which are required for the version of Debian. This is useful when you keep a aptcache directory for each distribution and want to keep the size of the aptcache down.


Show a brief help message.

More Specific Options

Some options are more involved to pbuilder internal than others. The following options are available.

--removepackages [packages to remove]

Removes the packages on creating the base.tgz. Use this option to remove potentially dangerous or undesirable packages, like lilo which nobody will need to have inside a chroot.

Packages should be specified in a space-delimited manner, surrounded in double quotations, like "lilo gcc mawk"

--extrapackages [packages to add]

Adds packages specified as an addition to the default, which is build-essential by default. This is used in build and create (after successfully creating the initial chroot) and update.

The packages should be specified as a space-delimited list, or by specifying --extrapackages multiple times.

--debemail [maintainer-name <email-address>]

Specifies that dpkg-buildpackage be called with -mmaintainer-name <email-address> instead of default value specified in the environment variable, or pbuilderrc

This option is almost obsolete, use --debbuildopts instead


Alternative option to --logfile option. Automatically creates a logfile that is named by the .dsc file name, only really applicable for build target.

The file extension is specified by PKGNAME_LOGFILE_EXTENSION in pbuilderrc

--aptconfdir [APT configuration directory to use]

Uses the apt configuration file found in the specified directory as the chroot configuration. /etc/apt is one example, so that  the same configuration can be used inside the chroot.

This option overrides other options, and may cause some inconsistency problems.

--timeout [timeout in sleep time]

Time out building after sleeping set time. Specify something like --timeout 10h in the command line. Default is no timeout.


Not using base.tgz for operation. The --buildplace will not be deleted and reconstructed from a .tar.gz file. Also, pbuilder will not add its process ID to the --buildplace as it usually would.

Useful when experimenting with chroots, or trying to create chroots outside control of pbuilder.


Program to use for compression of the base.tgz. The default is to use gzip, and any program that can be used to compress data using a pipe can be used.

If set to "pigz", compression and decompression is gzip compatible but will use all available CPUs.
If set to "cat", there will be no compression at all (so compression/decompression will be a lot faster but takes much more space on the disk).


Build the package twice in a row.  Useful to ensure the package cleans up properly.  The resulting packages are the ones from the second build.


Do not clean the --buildplace if it has the same contents as the .tar.gz file, and no modifications are done.

For preserving the build place for create and update targets, see debug option.

As with --no-targz, suppresses appending pbuilder's process ID to the --buildplace.

This is useful if you want to attempt to build a large number of packages successively, but you expect that many of them cannot have their build dependencies satisfied.

It will clean up the build place on failure, or after a successful build.


Turn on Debug mode of pbuilder, to be verbose about errors, and try to avoid cleanup processing when error happens in update and create targets.

--inputfile filename

Add extra file to be copied to BUILDDIR inside the build environment.

available in build and login and execute targets.



The system-wide configuration file for pbuilder.


The default settings for pbuilder, used as fallback for all values that is not specified in /etc/pbuilderrc.


The personal configuration file for pbuilder, which overrides settings set in other configuration files.

Note that ${HOME} is usually /root (if you are running pbuilder through sudo).


pbuilder create
# pbuilder create
Distribution is sid.
Building the build environment
 -> running debootstrap
I: Retrieving Release
I: Retrieving Packages
I: Validating Packages

    pbuilder update

# pbuilder update
W: /home/dancer/.pbuilderrc does not exist
Building the build Environment
 -> extracting base tarball [/var/cache/pbuilder/base.tgz]

    pbuilder build

# pbuilder build dsh_*.dsc
I: using fakeroot in build.
Current time: Sat Jan 20 12:03:34 JST 2007
pbuilder-time-stamp: 1169262214
Building the build Environment
 -> extracting base tarball [/home/dancer/DEBIAN/pbuilder/pbuilder/testsuite/tmp.FeeAX18779/testimage]
 -> creating local configuration


This program is starting to have too many options already.


Initial coding, and main maintenance is done by Junichi Uekawa <dancer@debian.org>. User hooks code added by Dale Amon <amon@vnl.com>

The homepage is available at https://pbuilder.alioth.debian.org

See Also

/usr/share/doc/pbuilder/pbuilder-doc.html, pdebuild(1), pbuilderrc(5)

Referenced By

pbuilderrc(5), pdebuild(1).

2016 March Debian