Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial

February 17th, 2011 by lucas

One of the common complains about Debian packaging is that it’s hard to learn because, while there is quite a lot of high-quality documentation, it is often written more as a reference manual than as a tutorial: it’s great if you already know everything and want to check some detail, but not so great if you want to learn everything from scratch.

I have been volunteered (i.e, someone decided I volunteered) for a “Debian packaging” tutorial at work, so I decided to give a try at tackling this issue. I also volunteered (voluntarily this time) for a similar talk at RMLL 2011 to make sure I would be forced to do the work and prepare the actual tutorial. I’m also considering teaching this next year in Licence Pro ASRALL, but I haven’t made up my mind about it yet.

The result is a work in progress (hey, I still have a lot of time), but in the release-early-release-often tradition, I’m making it public now in the hope that someone will pick up the idea and do all the work for me (you never know).

I’ve decided to create a set of slides using Latex Beamer. The current version can be found here. The sources are available in a git repository, and all contributions are welcomed (including plain comments or suggestions). The last slide is the current TODO list.

21 Responses to “Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial”

  1. Tweets that mention Lucas Nussbaum’s Blog » Blog Archive » Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial -- Topsy.com wrote on 02/17/11 at 1:11 am :

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Planet Debian, Tech Drops, Debian Feeds, Devilicus, Ubuntu World Wide and others. Ubuntu World Wide said: #ubuntu #linux Lucas Nussbaum: Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial: One of the common complains about Debi… http://bit.ly/dUUniJ [...]

  2. Paul wrote on 02/17/11 at 3:28 am :

    The background and text color make the slides hard to read.
    Needs more contrast.

  3. Brent wrote on 02/17/11 at 9:10 am :

    This is flippen fantastic.

    Thank you so much. The community can and will really gain from your generosity and work.

  4. Debian Packaging Tutorial | Debmoo wrote on 02/18/11 at 3:35 am :

    [...] Nussbaum writes: “One of the common complains about Debian packaging is that it’s hard to learn because, [...]

  5. Abacus wrote on 02/18/11 at 5:29 am :

    @Paul How about posting something positive with the negative. No need to be a jerk.

    I think it’s great, and had no trouble reading any of it. Good work!

  6. noqqe wrote on 02/18/11 at 2:55 pm :

    Hi Lucas,

    Very nice tutorial! But i think it would be much easier to handle the .tex file if you split each chapter in a separate tex-file. You could include files in LaTeX very easily. Like:

    \include{chapters/intro.tex}
    \include{chapters/about.tex}
    [...]

    :)

  7. Stefano Zacchiroli wrote on 02/18/11 at 5:17 pm :

    Very nice initiative!

    I see lot of value in having this material both for tutorial sessions at FOSS conferences (similar tutorial sessions at FOSS conferences tend to be very very popular) and, why not, as course material in universities which already have geek-ish courses.

    I’ve looked at the current slides and I’ll try to contribute here and there.

    Thanks for the very nice idea and initial material.

  8. Dale's Random Rammblings of Madness and Insanity ;-) » Debian packaging tutorial wrote on 02/18/11 at 6:11 pm :

    [...] http://www.lucas-nussbaum.net/blog/?p=640 Categories: Linux Tags: Debian, Howto, Packaging Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback [...]

  9. ef wrote on 02/18/11 at 8:53 pm :

    @Abacus
    I find “I can’t read it” pretty constructive and absolutely not being a jerk.

    I, as well, eagerly clicked the link only to be disappointed that it’s very hard to read – before I even started.

    Contents seem to provide a good overview, haven’t tried to follow the steps or gauge if a newbie could work with only this info. I’ll be definitely following this, thanks for the effort, I’ve also struggled with packaging a bit in the past :)

    One more thing, I find the “Outline” pages a bit overdone, especially they lack highlighting at what point you are now. (I know, some topics are expanded – but why not just write the topic with 2-3 subtopics without the whole agenda again and again)

  10. Lucas wrote on 02/18/11 at 10:29 pm :

    To whose with problems reading the slides: which PDF viewer are you using?

    I’m wondering whether this could be a viewer problem.

  11. Lucas wrote on 02/18/11 at 10:54 pm :

    Also, a screenshot could be useful to decide if it’s a matter of taste or a viewer problem

  12. Lisandro Damián Nicanor Pérez Meyer wrote on 02/19/11 at 6:58 pm :

    ¡Excellent!

  13. Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial | Debian-News.net - Your one stop for news about Debian wrote on 02/20/11 at 5:48 pm :

    [...] One of the common complains about Debian packaging is that it’s hard to learn because, while there is quite a lot of high-quality documentation, it is often written more as a reference manual than as a tutorial: it’s great if you already know everything and want to check some detail, but not so great if you want to learn everything from scratch. More here [...]

  14. Daniel Andersson wrote on 02/21/11 at 9:48 am :

    Great! Exactly what I was looking for, since I want to get more serious with Debian.

    I love your attitude Lucas. Made me laugh out loud with my morning coffee at the office.

  15. Kevin Mark wrote on 02/22/11 at 4:46 am :

    http://mysite.verizon.net/debian-package.png
    http://mysite.verizon.net/debian-server-3d.svg
    I made those 2 diagrams about debian packaging. they are still a WIP.
    any suggestions welcomed.

  16. Kevin Mark wrote on 02/22/11 at 4:49 am :

    [sorry, the first comment has bad links]
    debian package details overview
    debian package on servers
    I made those 2 diagrams about debian packaging. they are still a WIP.
    any suggestions welcomed.

  17. Lucas wrote on 02/22/11 at 8:33 am :

    @Kevin: quite nice. Maybe we should work on a Debian reference card, too.

  18. ef wrote on 02/22/11 at 10:37 am :

    Yes, of course – sorry for that.

    Here’s a screenshot using Chrome on Windows: http://i.imgur.com/JJKJ3.png

    Looks fine in SumatraPDF Portable on Windows and in evince on Linux.

  19. Lucas wrote on 02/22/11 at 10:44 am :

    Interesting. So it’s clearly a reader problem. Has someone reproduced the problem on Linux? I can’t seem to open the PDF directly in chromium.

  20. ef wrote on 02/24/11 at 12:02 am :

    AFAIk the PDF displa engine of Chrome is in the non-free part and thus not available for chromium.

    Can’t give any further help on this sadly, but might be worth getting someone with Adobe Reader and libpoppler to try them as well. If it’s only Chrome broken, nvm :)

  21. Lucas Nussbaum’s Blog » Blog Archive » Debian Packaging Tutorial update wrote on 05/4/11 at 10:04 am :

    [...] previously announced, I’ve been working on a Debian packaging tutorial. It is composed of about 60 slides [...]