One of the most important projects in the Ubuntu community is MOTU – a project to produce Ubuntu packages for the many and various Linux applications out there. MOTU is not only for producing packages, but is also the place where people actually learn to package, eventually becoming MOTU contributors (people who produce packages for the universe repository) or core-dev (people who produce packages in the main repository).

For a while now I have had an item on my TODO list:

  • learn how to produce Ubuntu packages, and maybe learn to become a MOTU

Well, yesterday evening while trying to sleep I developed a cold, and as the day continued, I felt progressively worse. After meeting up with a mate last night, I tried to sleep and failed. So, instead of laying in bed wishing for sleep (I hate that), I figured I would use the time to learn how to package.

To get started I followed the excellent Ubuntu Packaging Guide. As I worked through it, I made some notes about bits of the guide that need fixing, and posted them to ubuntu-motu where they are planned to be merged in. After I had produced the hello packages with the different techniques, I then tried my hand at packaging something. I decided to try and package the new PiTiVi 0.11.0 release.

This resulted in this package. It works on my system, and is built for gutsy. Give it a shot, but this is my first package, so if it eats your important documents, don’t expect sympathy. :) And as for hardcore packaging nutters, yes, I used CDBS for this package, and used the existing PiTiVi package to learn from, and I am new, so don’t kick me too hard. :)

I do plan on continuing to learn how to produce a package using debhelper and not using CDBS. Thanks to everyone in #ubuntu-motu for their help; you are a fine bunch of people. :)

To be frank, I was a bit worried that packaging would be a bit too hardcore for me, but it was easier than I expected, the the tools available are excellent – from the tools to automate creating the package control files, to the pbuilder which helps build the binary package and ensures it pulls in the right dependencies. Obviously, I am at the start the journey, but has gone much smoother than I expected.

Also, don’t forget the range of sessions at Ubuntu Open Week next week for those of you who want to learn to contribute to Ubuntu as packagers. :)

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