Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial

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 thoughts on “Introducing the Debian packaging tutorial

  1. This is flippen fantastic.

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

  2. @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!

  3. 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:



  4. 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.

  5. @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)

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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 :)

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