DH_MAKE(8) System Manager's Manual DH_MAKE(8)
dh_make - Debianize a regular source archive
dh_make [-nlsmiadh] [-c license] [-e address] [-f file] [-t directory]
[-o directory] [-p name] [--copyright license] [--email address]
[--native] [--file file] [--library] [--single] [--multi] [--kmod]
[--addmissing] [--templates directory] [--defaultless] [--overlay
directory] [--packagename name] [--help] [--version]
dh_make is a tool to convert a regular source code package into one
formatted according to the requirements of the Debian Policy. dh_make
must be invoked within a directory containing the source code, which
must be named <packagename>-<version>. The <packagename> must be all
lowercase, digits and dashes. If the directory name does not conform to
this scheme, you must rename it before using dh_make. Alternatively,
you may be able to use the --packagename option to force the package
Single binary (s)
The package will generate a single binary .deb package. It is
the standard case, so if you don't know what to do, choose this.
Multiple binary (m)
The package will generate multiple binary .deb packages from one
source package. Choose this for larger packages that need to be
The package will generate at least two binaries. One library
package containing just the lib in /usr/lib and another
*-dev_*.deb package containing documentation and C headers.
Kernel module (k)
The package will generate a binary-all kernel module -source
package for use with the make-kpkg command. It also generates a
binary package for additional utilities, daemons, etc. that may
come with the source.
dh_make copies the archive on the higher directory level into <package-
name>-<version>.orig if that directory does not exist. If the -f option
is supplied, the specified file name is taken as the source archive.
The original archive is needed for other Debian tools to generate the
diffs to the original sources required by the Debian packaging format.
Then dh_make proceeds to generate a "debian" subdirectory and the nec-
essary control files in the program source directory. Those control
files are customized with the packagename and version extracted from
the directory name. The username is looked up in the environment vari-
able $DEBFULLNAME if this exists. If not the environment variable
$LOGNAME is used to find a name in the /etc/passwd file, and through
NIS, YP and LDAP. The e-mail address is found in the environment and
/etc/mailname. $EMAIL or $DEBEMAIL is set, or the -e (--email) option
is supplied, then that e-mail address is used for the e-mail address of
the maintainer (instead of looking it up in the environment. An exam-
ple, for bash:
dh_make will also generate example files that are also customized for
the package generated. You can remove all files with *.ex if you wish.
You can also delete the README.Debian file if you don't have anything
to put in it. Renaming the example files to their name without the .ex
at the end (and editing them if necessary) will activate that feature
If the --templates or -o (--overlay) option is used dh_make will apply
a customizing template to the "debian" directory. See the templates
described in the FILES section of this manpage for samples.
-c, --copyright <license>
Use <license> type in copyright file. <license> can be gpl,
lgpl, artistic or bsd. If this field is not specified the copy-
right file has a space to fill in which sort of license is used.
The field is case-insensitive so -c GPL works as well as -c gpl.
-e, --email <address>
Use <address> as the e-mail address in the Maintainer: field of
Create a native Debian packages, i.e. do not generate a .orig
archive, since it will be generated when building with dpkg-
buildpackage. The version number will not have a Debian revi-
sion number (e.g. -1) appended to it.
-f, --file <file>
Use <file> as the original source archive, and skip the copying
of the current program tree to program.orig.
Automatically set the package class to Library, skipping the
Automatically set the package class to Single binary, skipping
Automatically set the package class to Multiple binary, skipping
Automatically set the package class to Kernel module, skipping
Adds missing example and control files on an existing debian
-t, --templates <directory>
Applies the customizing templates in <directory> to the debian
-o, --overlay <directory>
Applies a customization template to an existing debian direc-
-p, --packagename <name>
Force the package name to be <name>, good for packages with
hyphens in their name or other strangeness.
Skips applying the default templates to the target debian direc-
Display the name, version, available options and authors, and
Show the program name and version, and exit successfully.
Directory that contains all the template files, separated in six
directories: debian/ with files for all package classes,
debians/ with files specific to the Single binary class,
debianm/ with files specific to the Multiple binary class,
debianl/ with files specific to the Library class, and finally,
native/ with files specific to the native Debian packages.
licenses/ template files for the more common licenses used in
dpkg(1), dpkg-buildpackage(1), debhelper(1), make-kpkg(1),
You may also want to read the Debian Policy (in /usr/share/doc/debian-
policy) and the New Maintainers' Guide (in /usr/share/doc/maint-guide).
Christoph Lameter <clameterATdebian.org> wrote the original script, in
Craig Small <csmallATdebian.org> made many enhancements to the script,
and later rewrote it in perl.
Bruce Sass <bsassATedmc.net> added support for customization templates.
Debian Project October 2001 DH_MAKE(8)