First Steps in Repackaging


In this section we prepare the files that will form a package around the daemon. The purpose of some parts of the code shown here will not become obvious until you read later sections.

That being said... the libraries are there, the binary runs. If there is no quirky use of libssl in the program[6], we should be good to go. Let's package it for Ubuntu Precise.

Procedure 24.  Repackaging the RPM to .deb
  1. apprentice@packager:~/packaging/res-am-agent$ alien --generate --scripts --keep-version --fixperms res-am-agent-6.5-0.89780.x86_64.rpm
    Warning: alien is not running as root!
    Warning: Ownerships of files in the generated packages will probably be wrong.
    Directories res-am-agent-6.5 and res-am-agent-6.5.orig prepared.
    apprentice@packager:~/packaging/res-am-agent$ find res-am-agent-6.5 -type f

    If you don't have alien, you might as well use rpm2cpio as shown in the previous section. Of what alien creates, we 're nog going to leave anything standing but the executable usr/local/bin/resamad.

  2. Putting resamad in /usr/local is not correct behaviour for an Ubuntu package. And we're going to replace /etc/init.d/resamad later on. To do that, we need a Makefile:

    #!/usr/bin/make -f
    # Don't forget this, or dpkg-buildpackage will try to install at build time
            echo DESTDIR $(DESTDIR)
            install -m 755 -d $(DESTDIR)/etc/res
            install -m 755 -t $(DESTDIR)/usr/sbin usr/local/bin/resamad
            install -m 755 -d $(DESTDIR)/usr/share/res-am-agent
            install -m 755 -t $(DESTDIR)/usr/share/res-am-agent init-resamad.exp
            rm -rf $(DESTDIR)/usr/share/res-am-agent $(DESTDIR)/etc/res
            rm -f  $(DESTDIR)/usr/sbin/resamad


    In a more procedural setup, I would add the Makefile using quilt. For now, I put it in the source dir without further ado.

  3. The daemon will not do anything unless it knows which server (a so-called dispatcher) to contact. This can be configured with a file /etc/res/resamad.xml, but I suspect that that file may need altering when the server changes.

    According to the docs, the agent can be started with the name of the server as a parameter. It will then write a configuration file. That is good.

    But when started thusly, the agent is in interactive mode, needing user input:

    sudo resamad -dd192.168.3.4
    Enter value: 1

    In case of unattended installs, that is not so good.

    So to avoid having to type numbers when installing the daemon, we will later use debconf. Right now, we create an expect script. It is only needed later on, but I show it here because we are now still doing what would count as patching the source if we had the actual source. From what autoexpect generates, we create this script, and save it in init-resamad.exp:

    #!/usr/bin/expect -f
    set force_conservative 0  ;# set to 1 to force conservative mode even if
                              ;# script wasn't run conservatively originally
    if {$force_conservative} {
            set send_slow {1 .1}
            proc send {ignore arg} {
                    sleep .1
                    exp_send -s -- $arg
    set timeout -1
    set send_slow {1 .1}
    spawn resamad -dd$env(DISPATCHERS)
    match_max 100000
    expect -exact "Enter value: "
    sleep .1
    send -s -- "1\r"
    expect eof

  4. The package as prepared by alien still lacks manpages, and the pre- and post-install and -rm scripts are not to my liking. Running dh_make quickly provides me with sensible templates. But if you want to skip this step and create them by hand, feel free to do so.

    apprentice@packager:~/packaging/res-am-agent/res-am-agent-6.5$ dh_make -s -a --createorig
    Maintainer name  : Jurjen Bokma
    Email-Address    : 
    Date             : Thu, 29 Mar 2012 16:59:31 +0200
    Package Name     : res-am-agent
    Version          : 6.5
    License          : blank
    Type of Package  : Single
    Hit <enter> to confirm: 
    Currently there is no top level Makefile. This may require additional tuning.
    File changelog exists, skipping.
    File compat exists, skipping.
    File copyright exists, skipping.
    File control exists, skipping.
    File rules already exists, skipping.
    Done. Please edit the files in the debian/ subdirectory now. You should also
    check that the res-am-agent Makefiles install into $DESTDIR and not in / .
    apprentice@packager:~/packaging/res-am-agent/res-am-agent-6.5$ rm -rf debian/{README.*,emacsen*.ex,manpage.sgml.ex,manpage.1.ex,res-am-agent.doc-base.EX,res-am-agent.default.ex,res-am-agent.cron.d.ex,menu.ex,watch.ex,docs}

  5. To create a package beyond what alien gives us, we need a subdirectory debian/ with contents. General packaging for Debian/Ubuntu is well beyond the scope of this example, though. These are the files under debian/:

    ls -1 debian/

    I'll show most of these files, albeit not all in this section...

  6. The file debian/changelog needs to exist, with a rather unforgiving format:

    res-am-agent (6.5-0.89780) experimental; urgency=low
      * Converted from .rpm format to .deb by alien version 8.85
     -- Jurjen Bokma <>  Thu, 29 Mar 2012 16:49:58 +0200



    We manually specify libssl0.9.8 as a dependency. We also depend on expect because it is used when the package is installed, and on debconf. The *xsl* build-dependencies are for generating the manpage from XML. The rest of the library dependencies is resolved by shlibdeps. libssl0.9.8 Is a build-time dependency as well, or the sneaky symlink '' we create in the rules file will point to nothing, leading to a failed 'build'.

    All this is specified in debian/control:

    Source: res-am-agent
    Section: admin
    Priority: extra
    Maintainer: Jurjen Bokma <>
    Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 8.0.0), libssl0.9.8 (>=0.9.8), docbook-xsl, docbook-xml, xsltproc
    Package: res-am-agent
    Architecture: amd64
    Depends: ${shlibs:Depends}, libssl0.9.8, lsb-base (>= 3.0-6), debconf, expect
    Description: RES AM Agent
     RES Automation Manager Agent
     (Converted from a rpm package by alien version 8.85.)
     Allows a remote RES server to manage the machine on which
     this package is installed. (E.g. to run commands on it.)


      Copyright 1998-2012 RES Software
    This package was debianized by the alien program by converting
    a binary .rpm package on Thu, 29 Mar 2012 16:49:58 +0200
    Copyright: Commercial
    Information from the binary package:
    Name        : res-am-agent
    Version     : 6.5
    Release     : 0.89780
    Architecture: x86_64
    Install Date: (not installed)
    Group       : System/Management
    Size        : 486184
    License     : Commercial
    Signature   : (none)
    Source RPM  : res-am-agent-6.5-0.89780.src.rpm
    Build Date  : vr 03 feb 2012 13:00:12 CET
    Build Host  : bld-rh53x64
    Relocations : (not relocatable)
    Vendor      : RES Software
    Summary     : RES AM Agent
    Description :
    RES Automation Manager Agent

    In debian/rules, we need two overrides:

    #!/usr/bin/make -f
            dh $@ 
    # This override needed to get around missing SSL library at 'build' time
            install -d /tmp/fake_ssl
            ln -s /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /tmp/fake_ssl/
            LD_LIBRARY_PATH="$(LD_LIBRARY_PATH):/tmp/fake_ssl" dh_shlibdeps
            rm -rf /tmp/fake_ssl
    # This override needed because we use docbook XML for manpages
            xsltproc --nonet \
            --param make.year.ranges 1 \
            --param make.single.year.ranges 1 \
            --param man.charmap.use.subset 0 \
            -o debian/ \

    These overrides are not enough. Shlibdeps still cannot find symbols for the library when it goes by the soname of So we provide the necessary information in debian/shlibs.local:

    libssl 6 libssl0.9.8

  7. Directories that 'make install' assumes present are listed in debian/dirs:


    In debian/res-am-agent.manpages we list manpages to install. The one listed is generated from xml at package build time.


[6] Or if there is no use of it at all, as will later prove to be likely.