Debianzing a Python program to get a .deb

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I just tested stdeb (see https://pypi.python.org/pypi/stdeb), a Python package for turning any other Python package into a Debian package.

First I installed stdeb:

apt-get install python-stdeb

Then I made a simple script called myscript.py with the following contents:

def main():
    print "Hello world, says myscript!"
    # wait for input from the user
    raw_input()

if __name__ == '__main__':
    main()

Importantly, your directory structure should be:

somewhere/myscript/
    setup.py
    myscript/
        __init__.py
        myscript.py

In the setup.py file, you do something like:

import os
from setuptools import setup
from nvpy import nvpy

setup(
    name = "myscript",
    version = "1.0",
    author = "Charl P. Botha",
    author_email = "cpbotha@vxlabs.com",
    description = "Demo of packaging a Python script as DEB",
    license = "BSD",
    url = "https://github.com/cpbotha/nvpy",
    packages=['myscript'],
    entry_points = {
        'console_scripts' : ['myscript = myscript.myscript:main']
    },
    data_files = [
        ('share/applications/', ['vxlabs-myscript.desktop'])
    ],
    classifiers=[
        "License :: OSI Approved :: BSD License",
    ],
)

The console_scripts directive is important, and it'll create an executable script called my_script, which will be available system-wide after you install the resultant DEB. If your script uses something like tkinter or wxpython and has a graphical user interface, you should use gui_scripts instead of console_scripts.

The data_files directive will install a suitable desktop file into /usr/share/applications, so that you can also start myscript from your desktop environment. vxlabs-myscript.desktop looks like this:

[Desktop Entry]
Version=1.0
Type=Application
Name=myscript
Comment=Minimal stdeb example
# myscript should wait for user input at the end, else the terminal
# window will disappear immediately.
Exec=myscript
Icon=/usr/share/icons/gnome/48x48/apps/file-manager.png
Categories=Utility;
# desktop should run this in a terminal application
Terminal=true
StartupNotify=true
StartupWMClass=myscript

To build the DEB, you do the following in the top-level myscript:

python setup.py --command-packages=stdeb.command bdist_deb

Which will create a .deb in the deb_dist directory.

After having installed the DEB I created like this, I could run myscript from the command-line, and I could also invoke it from my desktop environment.

Here's a GitHub repository with the example code above: https://github.com/cpbotha/stdeb-minimal-example


The right way of building a deb package is using dpkg-buildpackage, but sometimes it is a little bit complicated. Instead you can use dpkg -b <folder> and it will create your Debian package.

These are the basics for creating a Debian package with dpkg -b <folder> with any binary or with any kind of script that runs automatically without needing manual compilation (Python, Bash, Pearl, and Ruby):

  1. Create the files and folders in order to recreate the following structure:
    ProgramName-Version/
    ProgramName-Version/DEBIAN
    ProgramName-Version/DEBIAN/control
    ProgramName-Version/usr/
    ProgramName-Version/usr/bin/
    ProgramName-Version/usr/bin/your_script

The scripts placed at /usr/bin/ are directly called from the terminal. Note that I didn't add an extension to the script.

Also, you can notice that the structure of the deb package will be the structure of the program once it's installed. So if you follow this logic if your program has a single file, you can directly place it under ProgramName-Version/usr/bin/your_script, but if you have multiple files, you should place them under ProgramName-Version/usr/share/ProgramName/all your files and place only one file under /usr/bin/ that will call your scripts from /usr/share/ProgramName/.

  1. Change all the folder permission to root:

    chown root:root -R /path/to/ProgramName-Version
    
  2. Change the script's permissions:

    chmod 0755 /path/to/the/script
    
  3. Finally, you can run: dpkg -b /path/to/the/ProgramName-Version and your deb package will be created! (You can also add the post/pre inst scripts and everything you want; it works like a normal Debian package.)


Here is an example of the control file. You only need to copy-paste it in to an empty file called "control" and put it in the DEBIAN folder.

Package: ProgramName
Version: VERSION
Architecture: all
Maintainer: YOUR NAME <EMAIL>
Depends: python2.7, etc , etc,
Installed-Size: in_kb
Homepage: http://foo.com
Description: Here you can put a one line description. This is the short Description.
 Here you put the long description, indented by 1 space.

If you want to build using dpkg -b <folder> you can use this program that will do everything with one command. If you regularly build packages, it is a pain to do all the stuff that I mentioned!

*The guide was taken from Basics of Debian Packages.


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