deb-src-control - Debian source packages' master control file format
Each Debian source package contains the master «control» file,
which contains at least 2 paragraphs, separated by a blank line. The first
paragraph lists all information about the source package in general, while
each following paragraph describes exactly one binary package. Each paragraph
consists of at least one field. A field starts with a fieldname, such as
(case insensitive), followed by a colon, the
body of the field and a newline. Multi-line fields are also allowed, but each
supplementary line, without a fieldname, should start with at least one space.
The content of the multi-line fields is generally joined to a single line by
the tools (except in the case of the Description
field, see below). To
insert empty lines into a multi-line field, insert a dot after the space.
Lines starting with a ‘ #
’ are treated as comments.
- Source: source-package-name (required)
- The value of this field is the name of the source package,
and should match the name of the source package in the debian/changelog
file. A package name must consist only of lower case letters (a-z), digits
(0-9), plus (+) and minus (-) signs, and periods (.). Package names must
be at least two characters long and must start with an alphanumeric
- Maintainer: fullname-email (recommended)
- Should be in the format «Joe Bloggs
<firstname.lastname@example.org>», and references the person who currently
maintains the package, as opposed to the author of the software or the
- Uploaders: fullname-email
- Lists all the names and email addresses of co-maintainers
of the package, in the same format as the Maintainer field.
Multiple co-maintainers should be separated by a comma.
- Standards-Version: version-string
- This documents the most recent version of the distribution
policy standards this package complies with.
- Description short-description
- long-description The format for the source
package description is a short brief summary on the first line (after the
Description field). The following lines should be used as a longer,
more detailed description. Each line of the long description must be
preceded by a space, and blank lines in the long description must contain
a single ‘ .’ following the preceding space.
- Homepage: url
- The upstream project home page URL.
- Bugs: url
- The url of the bug tracking system for this package.
The current used format is bts-type://bts-address,
like debbugs://bugs.debian.org. This field is usually not needed.
- This field is used to indicate whether the
debian/rules file requires (fake)root privileges to run some of its
targets, and if so when.
- The binary targets will not require (fake)root at all.
- The binary targets must always be run under (fake)root.
This value is the default when the field is omitted; adding the field with
an explicit binary-targets while not strictly needed, marks it as
having been analyzed for this requirement.
- This is a space-separated list of keywords which define
when (fake)root is required.
Keywords consist of namespace/cases. The namespace part
cannot contain "/" or whitespace. The cases part cannot
contain whitespace. Furthermore, both parts must consist entirely of
printable ASCII characters.
Each tool/package will define a namespace named after itself and provide a
number of cases where (fake)root is required. (See "Implementation
provided keywords" in rootless-builds.txt).
When the field is set to one of the impl-keywords, the builder will
expose an interface that is used to run a command under (fake)root. (See
"Gain Root API" in rootless-builds.txt.)
- Vcs-Arch: url
- Vcs-Bzr: url Vcs-Cvs: url
Vcs-Darcs: url Vcs-Git: url Vcs-Hg:
url Vcs-Mtn: url Vcs-Svn: url The
url of the Version Control System repository used to maintain this
package. Currently supported are Arch, Bzr (Bazaar),
Cvs, Darcs, Git, Hg (Mercurial), Mtn
(Monotone) and Svn (Subversion). Usually this field points to the
latest version of the package, such as the main branch or the trunk.
- Vcs-Browser: url
- The url of a webinterface to browse the Version
Control System repository.
- Origin: name
- The name of the distribution this package is originating
from. This field is usually not needed.
- Section: section
- This is a general field that gives the package a category
based on the software that it installs. Some common sections are
utils, net, mail, text, x11, etc.
- Priority: priority
- Sets the importance of this package in relation to the
system as a whole. Common priorities are required, standard,
optional, extra, etc.
The Section and Priority fields usually have a defined set of
accepted values based on the specific distribution policy.
- Build-Depends: package-list
- A list of packages that need to be installed and configured
to be able to build from source package. These dependencies need to be
satisfied when building binary architecture dependent or independent
packages and source packages. Including a dependency in this field does
not have the exact same effect as including it in both
Build-Depends-Arch and Build-Depends-Indep, because the
dependency also needs to be satisfied when building the source
- Build-Depends-Arch: package-list
- Same as Build-Depends, but they are only needed when
building the architecture dependent packages. The Build-Depends are
also installed in this case. This field is supported since dpkg 1.16.4; in
order to build with older dpkg versions, Build-Depends should be
- Build-Depends-Indep: package-list
- Same as Build-Depends, but they are only needed when
building the architecture independent packages. The Build-Depends
are also installed in this case.
- Build-Conflicts: package-list
- A list of packages that should not be installed when the
package is built, for example because they interfere with the build system
used. Including a dependency in this list has the same effect as including
it in both Build-Conflicts-Arch and Build-Conflicts-Indep,
with the additional effect of being used for source-only builds.
- Build-Conflicts-Arch: package-list
- Same as Build-Conflicts, but only when building the
architecture dependent packages. This field is supported since dpkg
1.16.4; in order to build with older dpkg versions, Build-Conflicts
should be used instead.
- Build-Conflicts-Indep: package-list
- Same as Build-Conflicts, but only when building the
architecture independent packages.
The syntax of the Build-Depends
fields is a list of groups of alternative packages.
Each group is a list of packages separated by vertical bar (or
“pipe”) symbols, ‘ |
’. The groups are
separated by commas ‘ ,
’, and can end with a trailing
comma that will be eliminated when generating the fields for
(5) (since dpkg 1.10.14). Commas are to be read as
“AND”, and pipes as “OR”, with pipes binding more
tightly. Each package name is optionally followed by an architecture qualifier
appended after a colon ‘ :
’, optionally followed by a
version number specification in parentheses ‘ (
’, an architecture specification in square brackets
’ and ‘]
’, and a restriction
formula consisting of one or more lists of profile names in angle brackets
’ and ‘>
The syntax of the Build-Conflicts
fields is a list of comma-separated package
names, where the comma is read as an “AND”, and where the list
can end with a trailing comma that will be eliminated when generating the
fields for deb-control
(5) (since dpkg 1.10.14). Specifying alternative
packages using a “pipe” is not supported. Each package name is
optionally followed by a version number specification in parentheses, an
architecture specification in square brackets, and a restriction formula
consisting of one or more lists of profile names in angle brackets.
An architecture qualifier name can be a real Debian architecture name (since
dpkg 1.16.5), any
(since dpkg 1.16.2) or native
1.16.5). If omitted, the default for Build-Depends
fields is the
current host architecture, the default for Build-Conflicts
. A real Debian architecture name will match exactly that
architecture for that package name, any
will match any architecture for
that package name if the package is marked with Multi-Arch: allowed
will match the current build architecture if the package is
not marked with Multi-Arch: foreign
A version number may start with a ‘ >>
’, in which
case any later version will match, and may specify or omit the Debian
packaging revision (separated by a hyphen). Accepted version relationships are
’ for greater than, ‘
’ for less than, ‘ >=
greater than or equal to, ‘ <=
’ for less than or equal
to, and ‘ =
’ for equal to.
An architecture specification consists of one or more architecture names,
separated by whitespace. Exclamation marks may be prepended to each of the
names, meaning “NOT”.
A restriction formula consists of one or more restriction lists, separated by
whitespace. Each restriction list is enclosed in angle brackets. Items in the
restriction list are build profile names, separated by whitespace and can be
prefixed with an exclamation mark, meaning “NOT”. A restriction
formula represents a disjunctive normal form expression.
Note that dependencies on packages in the build-essential
set can be
omitted and that declaring build conflicts against them is impossible. A list
of these packages is in the build-essential package.
Note that the Priority
also be in a binary paragraph to override the global value from the source
- Package: binary-package-name (required)
- This field is used to name the binary package name. The
same restrictions as to a source package name apply.
- This field defines the type of the package. udeb is
for size-constrained packages used by the debian installer. deb is
the default value, it is assumed if the field is absent. More types might
be added in the future.
- Architecture: arch|all|any
- The architecture specifies on which type of hardware this
package runs. For packages that run on all architectures, use the
any value. For packages that are architecture independent, such as
shell and Perl scripts or documentation, use the all value. To
restrict the packages to a certain set of architectures, specify the
architecture names, separated by a space. It's also possible to put
architecture wildcards in that list (see dpkg-architecture(1) for
more information about them).
- Build-Profiles: restriction-formula
- This field specifies the conditions for which this binary
package does or does not build. To express that condition, the same
restriction formula syntax from the Build-Depends field is used.
If a binary package paragraph does not contain this field, then it
implicitly means that it builds with all build profiles (including none at
In other words, if a binary package paragraph is annotated with a non-empty
Build-Profiles field, then this binary package is generated if and
only if the condition expressed by the conjunctive normal form expression
evaluates to true.
- Essential: yes|no
- Build-Essential: yes|no
Tag: tag-list Description: short-description
(recommended) These fields are described in the deb-control(5)
manual page, as they are copied literally to the control file of the
- Depends: package-list
- Pre-Depends: package-list
Recommends: package-list Suggests:
package-list Breaks: package-list Enhances:
package-list Replaces: package-list Conflicts:
package-list Provides: package-list
Built-Using: package-list These fields declare relationships
between packages. They are discussed in the deb-control(5) manpage.
When these fields are found in debian/control they can also end
with a trailing comma (since dpkg 1.10.14), have architecture
specifications and restriction formulas which will all get reduced when
generating the fields for deb-control(5).
- Subarchitecture: value
- Kernel-Version: value
Installer-Menu-Item: value These fields are used by the
debian-installer in udebs and are usually not needed. See
/usr/share/doc/debian-installer/devel/modules.txt from the
debian-installer package for more details about them.
It is allowed to add additional user-defined fields to the control file. The
tools will ignore these fields. If you want the fields to be copied over to
the output files, such as the binary packages, you need to use a custom naming
scheme: the fields should start with an X
, followed by zero or more of
the letters SBC
and a hyphen.
- The field will appear in the source package control file,
- The field will appear in the control file in the binary
package, see deb-control(5).
- The field will appear in the upload control (.changes)
file, see deb-changes(5).
Note that the X
prefixes are stripped when the fields
are copied over to the output files. A field XC-Approved-By
in the changes file and will not appear in the binary or
source package control files.
Take into account that these user-defined fields will be using the global
namespace, which might at some point in the future collide with officially
recognized fields. To avoid such potential situation you can prefix those
fields with Private-
, such as XB-Private-New-Field
Maintainer: Dpkg Developers <email@example.com>
# this field is copied to the binary and source packages
Build-Depends: pkg-config, debhelper (>= 4.1.81),
libselinux1-dev (>= 1.28-4) [!linux-any]
# this is a custom field in the binary package
XB-Mentoring-Contact: Raphael Hertzog <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Depends: dpkg (>= 1.14.6), perl5, perl-modules, cpio (>= 2.4.2-2),
bzip2, lzma, patch (>= 2.2-1), make, binutils, libtimedate-perl
Recommends: gcc | c-compiler, build-essential
Suggests: gnupg, debian-keyring
Conflicts: dpkg-cross (<< 2.0.0), devscripts (<< 2.10.26)
Replaces: manpages-pl (<= 20051117-1)
Description: Debian package development tools
This package provides the development tools (including dpkg-source)
required to unpack, build and upload Debian source packages.
Most Debian source packages will require additional tools to build;
for example, most packages need make and the C compiler gcc.