Administrator’s Manual


The administrator’s manual covers the package installation, setup and maintenance of a mini-buildd instance.

When mini-buildd runs, it’s basically acts as a web server, with a django web application running on it.

mini-buildd’s configuration consists of related django model instances, and their configuration is done via Django’s ‘admin’ application. On the mini-buildd home page, just hit on admin (left top) to enter.

You will need to log in as Django user admin, with the password you configured when installing the package (if you chose an insecure password on package install time, now is the time to set a proper one via Django’s user management).

All changes you do here finally wind up in the SQL database at ~/config.sqlite; this config not only represents mere configuration, but also state (of ~mini-buildd/, and in case of chroots, even artifacts on the system, see Model statuses below), so this file cannot be simply interchanged or copied.

Some of the models have a status attached to it.

This usually refers to a model’s associated data on the system (which can be managed via actions in the configuration interface):


Associated prepared system data

File location (~ denoting mini-buildd’s home path)


GnuPG Key



Reprepro repository



Chroot data and schroot configuration

  • ~/var/chroots/CODENAME/ARCH/

  • /etc/schroot/chroot.d/mini-buildd-CODENAME-ARCH.conf

  • Some backends (like LVM) may taint other system data

Some other models also use the same status infrastructure, but the associated data is prepared internally in the model’s data (SQL database) only:


Associated prepared data

AptKey, Uploader, Remote

Public GnuPG Key


List of matching archives, selected info from Release file

Status semantics:


Check status



No associated data.


Associated data exists. With no flags, data is checked and in-sync. Special conditions to the data may apply:


Unchecked (-)

Needs a manual check run to set things straight.


Changed (*)

Model was changed, but the date is not yet updated. Needs a manual prepare run to set things straight.


Failed (x)

Check failed.


Failed_Reactivate (A)

Check failed, will be automatically activated again as soon as check succeeds again.


Prepared on the system, checked and activated.

Status actions:

Status actions can be called from a model’s list view in Django’s admin configuration.




Create associated data on the system, or synchronize it with item changes.


Check item and/or associated data.


Activate the item, or set the auto-activate flag.


Deactivate the item, or remove the auto-activate flag.


Remove associated data from system.


In the web configurator, you may use the PCA shortcut (prepare, check and activate).


Debian package ‘mini-buildd’ is available natively in and for Debian.

  • Debian Backports may offer updated packages

  • mini-buildd’s homepage may offer alternate (Debian or Ubuntu) distributions to install on, or bleeding-edge package updates.

To install a mini-buildd instance, just install the Debian package:

apt install mini-buildd


How much disk space do I need to run mini-buildd?

For building, as a rule of thumb, you will need about:

(<CODENAMES> * <ARCHS> * 0.3G) + (<CORES> * 4G)

disk space free for building.

F.e., if you support codename bullseye and buster builds for archs amd64 and i386 on a machine with 4 cores:

(2 * 2 * 0.3G) + (4 * 4G) = 17.2G

Builds would still not run oo space if max default number of parallel builds is running (assuming base chroot size of 0.3G and a (sort of worst case) Debian Source Tree size of 4G).

No rule of thumb when you host repositories. Just make it big.


How to run mini-buildd in a systemd container (nspawn)?

Running the whole kerfuffle in it’s own container may be beneficial:

  • Avoid installing all dependencies on your main system

  • Run a tainted/compatibility system (i.e., with changes you would want to avoid on your main system) – like a builder-only system for urold distributions

  • Run multiple instances on the same host (using different ports)

Example running mini-buildd in a bookworm systemd container as permanent service
debootstrap --include=dbus bookworm /var/lib/machines/mini-buildd
apt install mini-buildd-utils
mkdir -p /etc/systemd/nspawn
ln -s /usr/share/doc/mini-buildd-utils/examples/systemd-container.nspawn /etc/systemd/nspawn/mini-buildd.nspawn
machinectl enable mini-buildd
machinectl start mini-buildd
machinectl shell mini-buildd   # Install mini-buildd
# Now setup mini-buildd, either via web from interface from outside or from shell/mini-buildd-api from inside the container
# Use host's network so we can access from outside

# Needed (at least) for debootstrap/schroot to work properly


Package configuration (via debconf) include the home path of the mini-buildd user, the administrator’s password and extra options for the daemon run.

Usually, you set the admin password on the initial install, and just leave the rest on default values.

Of course, you can change your (debconf) settings anytime (including (re-)setting the admin password and changing mini-buildd’s home path) using:

dpkg-reconfigure mini-buildd

Running encrypted

New in version 1.1.21.

To run HTTPS, you need to adapt the --http-endpoint and possibly --hostname (if your certificate’s host name differs from hostname -f) command line options (see command ‘mini-buildd’):

dpkg-reconfigure mini-buildd  # [--hostname=<CERT_HOSTNAME>] --http-endpoint="ssl:port=8066:privateKey=KEY_PATH:certKey=CERT_PATH"

The SSL private key file must be readable by user or group mini-buildd.


How to enable encrypted uploads (FTPS)?

If you happen to bootstrap via setup from HTTPS, the created Daemon instance per default already uses FTPS.

To enable it later, adapt the FTP setup in the Daemon instance via mini-buildd’s ‘admin’ page.

Self-signed certificates

If you don’t have/want certificates signed by official authorities, self signed certificates will also work – but be sure…

  • certifcate’s CN is the same as your fqdn hostname (or what you set via the --hostname arg).

  • self signed public cert get added to the system’s certificate store for all machines you want to access the installation (see Debian package ca-certificates).

  • self signed public cert get added to web browsers used for mini-buildd

  • [dev only] each instance and cert have a different hostname – in case you run multiple instances on the same host (only makes sense for developer testing).

You may use this tool to maintain such a certificate:

mini-buildd-self-signed-certificate create
dpkg-reconfigure mini-buildd  # [--hostname=<CERT_HOSTNAME>] --http-endpoint=ssl:port=8066:privateKey=/etc/ssl/mini-buildd/private/mini-buildd.key:certKey=/etc/ssl/mini-buildd/certs/mini-buildd.crt


A setup is the configuration (Daemon, Sources, Repositories, etc.) as well as (potentially) their status (f.e., actual chroots or repositories on the system).

You may use the API call ‘setup’ to simplify this task, configure manually via mini-buildd’s ‘admin’ page (or do a mix of both).

Visit mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page to do both via the Web Interface.

API call setup

API call ‘setup’ is a versatile tool that can be used to

  • Inspect current settings for changes against setup’s defaults

  • Extend your current settings

  • Bootstrap a whole instance (except Remote handshaking)

setup’s default is mini-buildd’s internal “database” of known (Debian-based) distributions (see dist). The data varies from APT keys sources need down to special workarounds (older) distribution just need to work.


Explicit configurations only consist of options

identity, ftp_endpoint, archives, sources, distributions, repositories, chroots and remotes.

At all times, there is the automated current explicit configuration that is generated from the actual objects of your setting (see mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page, Current). This may be used to check, or as starting point to extend, your current setting.

Example (Debian preset March 2023):

--identity myid --ftp-endpoint tcp6:port=8067 --archives --sources sid bookworm bullseye --distributions sid:amd64+i386 bookworm:amd64+i386 bullseye:amd64+i386 --repositories test:Default:sid+bookworm+bullseye --chroots sid:amd64+i386 bookworm:amd64+i386 bullseye:amd64+i386 --chroots-backend Dir

Implicit configurations use only (non-explicit) options that provide some magic to compute explicit configurations.

Example (Debian preset):

--from-origins Debian --archives-from-origins --sources-from-origins --distributions-from-sources --repositories-from-distributions test --chroots-from-sources

If implicit and explicit options are mixed, values will be merged.


Just run Current to check your current setup:

  1. Go to mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page:
    1. Run Current, check upcoming results (won’t yet change anything)

    2. In result, check report for potential issues && optionally auto-fix all or individual objects


To extend your configuration, best use implicit options on top of your current configuration. As example, say you want to add all LTS distributions to the default Debian setup:

  1. Go to mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page:
    1. Expand extra options in Extend
      1. --from-origins: ‘Debian:lts’

    2. Run Extend, check upcoming results (won’t yet change anything)

    3. If satisfied, run API call again via ‘update+pca all’ (at bottom of result) – this may take some time

In general, in Extend, you may disable any of the meta options

  1. --distributions-from-sources

  2. --repositories-from-distributions

  3. --chroots-from-sources

to steer what is being extended – for example, disable extending Distributions on a builder-only instance.


Let’s say, after initial install, you want to have a standard Debian setup:

  1. On mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page: Run Debian bootstrap (this may take some time)
    1. Optional: Expand arguments of Debian bootstrap, and customize right now (like adding your custom repository)

  2. From main menu: Run API call ‘start’ to accept incoming

  3. On mini-buildd’s ‘repositories’ page: Run API call ‘keyring_packages’ (this may take some time)

You should end up with a fully functional standalone setup with one test Repository (allowing anonymous uploads).

Manual Setup


Manual Setup Section: Has not been revised since 1.0.x


The Daemon model represents a configured mini-buildd instance. It is limited to have exactly one instance; when activated, it means the internal FTP server is started acting on *.changes.

Don’t confuse this with the mini-buildd Unix daemon, which is always running when the mini-buildd Debian package is installed, and always provides the HTTP server and web application.

The Daemon instance inside of mini-buildd provides the packager and builder engine (triggered by incoming via the FTP server), and can be enabled/disabled inside mini-buildd.

  1. Edit the one Daemon instance. Get the identity and the gnupg template right, changing these later will call for trouble.
    • identity will hereafter be referred to as <ARCHIVE>. Keyring packages will be named <ARCHIVE>-archive-keyring.

    • prepare will generate your instance ID (read: GnuPG key).

      You may need to generate some entropy (install Debian package ‘haveged’ maybe) on the system if this stalls.

  2. PCA the Daemon instance.


This groups all models that determine what APT sources are available, and where to get them.

You will later interface with Source and PrioritySource when dealing with chroots and distributions.

A Source is usually identified sufficiently by Origin and Codename.

When a Source is prepared, it will implicitly update Architectures and Components from the the Release file.

Changed in version 2.0.0: Defaults to “one number scheme” (like ~bpo8, ~bpo11) for mandatory version appendix.

The default ‘codename version’ is now only a single number for Debian distributions wheezy upwards (for example, ‘8’ instead of ‘80’ for jessie), following the updated convention in Debian.

This change does not affect existing Source instances; to follow this recommendation in this case, you need to reconfigure the current resp. Source, save and empty string for ‘Codeversion override’ (Extras), and “PCA” the Source.

Changed in version 2.0.0: Defaults to prefix ‘~’ to rolling (like ~TRIXIE) for mandatory version appendix.

The mandatory version appendix for rolling distributions now defaults to ~CODENAME (i.e., like “~SID” or “~STRETCH”).

Using ‘CODENAME’ alone may call for versioning trouble once you convert the distribution to non-rolling (i.e., like “STRETCH” is bigger for version comparison than “90” or “9”).

This change does not affect existing instances; to follow this recommendation in this case, you need to reconfigure the current resp. rolling Distributions.


How to manually fix a failing check in a Source due to wrong/missing APT key(s)?

Run the failing check on that Source on mini-buildd’s ‘admin’ page, and look for messages like “No accepted signature found”. These lines list the keys the resp. Release file is actually signed with.

Add at least one of these keys as AptKey (if it does not exists already), then add at least one of these to your Source.

A Source must have at least one valid key the Release file is signed with.

Example: Manually list all signatures a release file is signed on the console
gpg --verify /var/lib/apt/lists/PATH_Release.gpg /var/lib/apt/lists/PATH_Release
gpg --verify /var/lib/apt/lists/PATH_InRelease

On the System

The actual repositories are managed via reprepro, and live in ~/repositories – each repository in its own subdir.

You normally don’t need to, but it’s technically perfectly fine to manually do package manipulations (on the shell, as user mini-buildd) using reprepro commands. I this case, of course, it’s in your power to meet or loosen restrictions that otherwise mini-buildd inflicts on the repository.

You must not manually change any repository’s configuration (i.e., on local disk) though, as these are handled/overwritten by mini-buildd.

To be able to cope with multiple versions (reprepro does only allow one package version per dist) each distribution also has several additional *-rollbackN distributions configured.


It’s highly recommended to just stick with one of the default Layouts, as produced by the Defaults wizard.

In case you really need a custom layout, it’s recommended not to change the Default Layouts, but to create a new Layout profile with an appropriate name.

The Default Layout’s semantics are outlined in Default Layout.

The Debian Developers Layout is meant for mimicking a layout like in Debian unstable (no version restriction, upload to meta a distribution names like unstable) to test build packages meant for Debian.

You will interface with Layouts in Repositories, determining what suites (and rollback distributions) are available, which suites are uploadable, and which suites migrate, etc…

Stay In Sync With Default Layout Changes

In general, all the wizards never touch existing objects. This means, on existing systems, there is currently (1.0.x) no way (unfortunately) to stay on or easily upgrade to the defaults as provided by mini-buildd wizards.

For those who deliberately want to upgrade to these (recommended) defaults, here are instructions how to do this manually:

1.0.17: New Hotfix Suite

New in version 1.0.17.

  1. Enter the web application’s configuration section admin and login as superuser admin.

  2. For Layouts Default and Default (no rollbacks)
    1. Enter the editor for that layout.

    2. Add a new Suite Option (note: last entry shown in the list is for that purpose).
      • Rollback: 4

      • Suite: hotfix (note: you may need to add this; look for the green “+” sign below suite name.)

      • Uploadable: yes

      • Experimental: no

      • Migrates to: stable

      • Not Automatic: yes

      • But Automatic Upgrades: yes

  3. Re-index (PCA) all affected repositories.


Meta-Distributions can be set in a Layout’s meta_distribution field.

Meta-Distributions may be seen as workaround to be able to upload (i.e., via debian/changelog) to other distributions than to the generic <codename>-<repoid>-<suite> format.

For example, the built-in “Debian Developers” Layout has mappings for unstable and experimental by default.

Note that these mappings are per Layout (and then, eventually, per Repository), but the final overall mapping must still be unique for the whole mini-buildd instance (as we only have one incoming, and the incoming change’s distribution must be unambiguous).

So, when using this feature, this usually means:

  • Make sure only one repository uses a Layout with Meta-Distributions configured (recommended).

  • Make any meta mapping key appear only once in each used Layout.

Changed in version 1.0.25: Ambiguity of the global meta distribution map is now checked for (on repository checks and implicitly on package builds).


Distributions determines how and for what architectures a base distribution is to be build:

  • What base distribution? (sid, wheezy, lenny, …)

  • With what extra sources? (Debian Backports, …)

  • What components to support? (main, contrib, non-free, …)

  • With what generic build options? (resolver, lintian, ccache, eatmydata, …)

  • For what architectures? (i386, amd64, armel, …)

New in version 2.0.0: Sbuild Config Blocks and Sbuild Setup Blocks: Both sbuildrc config snippets as well as script snippets are now available as internal blocks to choose from – See Model Distribution, command ‘mini-buildd-internals’


A repository represents one apt repository managed via reprepro:

  • What repository identity? (“codename-identity-suite”)

  • What mini-buildd Layout? (“codename-identity-suite”, supported suites and their semantics)

  • What mini-buildd Distributions? (”codename-identity-suite”)

  • What misc configuration to use? (reprepro, static GPG auth, notify, …)


Uploader instances are created automatically to each user profile. The administrator may activate GPG keys a user has uploaded, and decide what repositories he is allowed to upload.


Adding (active) chroots to your mini-buildd instance implicitly makes it a builder.

Preparing a chroots will both bootstrap it, and create configuration on the system so it can be used via schroot.

You can chose amongst a number of schroot backends; to be able to be supported by mini-buildd, the backend must support snapshots (compare man 5 schroot.conf).

At the time (Oct 2016) of this writing, mini-buildd supports these backends:



Build size limit


Extra fs

Extra dependencies


aufs, overlayfs, unionfs, overlay




Kernel support (aufs <= jessie, overlay >= stretch)









loop, given LVM setup




LVM tools, Kernel support (dm, in Debian standard kernel)






btrfs host file system, btrfs-progs

In short, we recommend directory based chroots via aufs using 3.2.35 =< Debian Linux Kernel < 3.18 (jessie-) and recommend directory based chroots via overlay with kernels > 3.18 (stretch+) as best compromise. It offers acceptable speed, and no limits.

File chroots are also fine, they will just always work; you may think about configuring schroot to use a tmpfs for its snapshots (if you have enough RAM), and use no compression to speed it up.

If you are in for speed, or just already have a LVM setup on your system, LVM chroots are good alternative, too.

Preparing chroots may take a while; if you cancel the HTTP request in your browser, preparation will continue anyway.


What’s eatmydata and ccache?

You may configure Distributions with generic build options that may also affect the backend (like pre-installing eatmydata) or build (like configuring ccache to be used) speed. See Distributions and Repositories.


My chroot creation fails due to missing arch in archive (partial mirror)?

This might occur, for example, if you use a (local) partial mirror (with debmirror or the like) as mini-buildd archive that does not mirror the arch in question.

At the moment, all archives you add must provide all architectures you are going to support to avoid problems.


sudo fails with “sudo: no tty present and no askpass program specified”?

Make sure /etc/sudoers has this line:

#includedir /etc/sudoers.d

(This is sudo’s Debian package’s default, but the administrator might have changed it at some point.)


Remotes can interconnect a mini-buildd instance with another in a peer-to-peer fashion, i.e., you need to add a respective remote instance on both two peers. When interconnected, these two instances automatically share their build chroots.

To interconnect two mini-buildd instances

  1. Add remote on instance0 for instance1; prepare, check, and activate it. Activation will initially fail, but it will be put on auto-reactivate (A).

  2. Add remote on instance1 for instance0; prepare, check, and activate it. Activation will work as instance0 already knows us, and is on auto-reactivate.

  3. Run Activate remote on instance0.

New in version 2.0.0: There is now working a wake support (for suspending hosts).

Custom dput config snippet

Just put your custom snippet in ~mini-buildd/etc/ If that file exists, it will be added to the output of API call ‘dput_conf’.

Custom Event Hooks

New in version 2.0.0.

Optional custom event hooks may be defined in ~/etc/event-hooks.

Any executable files matching [!_.]*[!~] glob pattern will be considered.

They will always be called with exactly one argument: The absolute file name of the saved (json) event file.

All scripts found will run in alphabetical sort order, in the context of mini-buildd (i.e., as user mini-buildd).

mini-buildd is agnostic to whether these hooks do succeed, rather merely logs results to daemon.log.

Layout example:


Access via SSH

Please see command ‘mini-buildd-ssh-setup’ for an help on an extra setup (outside mini-buildd) to provide access (to uploads and API calls with staff or admin authorization).


Build Keyring Packages

Once you are satisfied with your setup, you should finish up by building keyring packages for your archive via the API call ‘keyring_packages’.

This is usually a one-timer, unless of course

  • You changed/renewed your archive key.

  • You added new distributions.

  • You know there is an update of some sort to the internal (mini-buildd-internal) keyring package generator you are inclined to use.

In this case, just repeat the API call…

Handling of ongoing events (PACKAGING and BUILDING)

New in version 2.0.0.

When a changes is uploaded, it triggers an ongoing PACKAGING event until all buildresults have been received (then resulting in either INSTALLED or FAILED).

When a buildrequest is uploaded, it triggers an ongoing BUILDING event (as soon as a build slot is available) until the build is finished (resulting in BUILT). Sub-sequentially, the buildresult is uploaded to the requesting instance.

Failing buildresult uploads are retried indefinitely (see mini-buildd’s ‘crontab’ page), even when mini-buildd is restarted.

When mini-buildd is restarted (either the service or via API call ‘stop’):

  • ongoing PACKAGING events and subsequent potential buildresult uploads will be dismissed

  • ongoing BUILDING events are being cancelled (resulting in a BUILT event and a (cancelled) buildresult scheduled for upload)

In case disaster strikes and some ongoing PACKAGING event turns orphan anyway, just restarting (at some appropriate time) should do the trick.

Building on urold distributions

There are various reason why a seasoned distribution can no longer build – Release files may become outdated, their APT keys may expire, incompatibilities with the system mini-buildd is running on and many more.

See sbuild setup blocks (command ‘mini-buildd-internals’ or configuration of Distribution model) for what mini-buildd has in store to maybe still get it to work.


squeeze (as of April 2023) does have a ‘working workarounds setup’ – but needs sbuild < 0.84 to work.

In such a case, I’d suggest you set up one ‘dirty’ builder-only instance with sbuild pinned to that version:

# sbuild < 0.84 is needed to build for squeeze
# This pinning may be used in conjunction with an (extra) bullseye APT line
# Use this in a dedciated, builder-only urold compat host (see Manual)
Package: src:sbuild
Pin: release n=bullseye
Pin-Priority: 1001

Archiving urold distributions

Seasoned repository instances might host “urold” distributions that are no longer actively used. These distributions might eat up valuable space on that instance, or slow down accessing the repository.

In case you want to get rid of these, this might be a reasonable workflow:

  1. Preliminary: Data gathering && inform users
    • List of to-be-archived codenames (no builds possible in future)

    • New replacement archived URL

    • Date for this concerted action

    • [Optional] You might want to install a patched debmirror from Hellfield (to mirror Contents files for experimental suites, see Debian Bug #819925)

  2. API call ‘stop’: Enter maintenance mode

  3. API call ‘debmirror’: Mirror all to-be-archived codenames. Keep all values on default except
    • codenames=<to-be-archived codenames>

    • rollbacks=-1 (to get all rollbacks)

  4. Move partial mirror ~mini-buildd/debmirror/ away to the previously designated archived URL location

  5. mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page: Edit all Repositories and move all now-archived distributions from Chosen to Available
    • [Optional] mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page: Remove (object action, not object deletion) now-maybe-unneeded Chroots (do this before deleting resp. Sources, else associated file data may not be removed when the object is deleted implicitly)

    • [Optional] mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page: Delete now-maybe-unneeded Sources (this will in turn also delete resp. PrioritySources, Chroots and Distributions)

  6. mini-buildd’s ‘setup’ page: PCA all Repositories again (does repository re-index, i.e. actually removes the codenames from the repository)

  7. API call ‘start’: Open up again

Internal Crontab

New in version 2.0.0.

Periodic task are now handled internally, see mini-buildd’s ‘crontab’ page to monitor runs or potentially debug problems.

I.e., there are no more ‘system-cronned’ service restart workaround that could cause problems in the past.

mini-buildd’s File Layout

mini-buildd relies on having a user called mini-buildd; the Unix home of this user is the home of your mini-buildd instance, and the Unix daemon runs with its user id.

In mini-buildd’s home, you will find this top level layout; i.e., these are handled by mini-buildd itself, and should not be touched manually (unless you really know what you are doing, of course):

config.sqlite       mini-buildd's configuration.
incoming/           Directory served by the ftpd.
var/                Variable data: chroots, logs, temp directories, build directories.
repositories/       Your valuable repositories.
.gnupg/             The instance's GnuPG key ring.
.django_secret_key  Some django shit we need.

When you remove the mini-buildd package without purging, it will remove system artifacts (see --remove-system-artifacts option, this currently affects chroots only) that can only be properly removed with mini-buildd installed. Otherwise, mini-buildd’s home (and, of course, the repositories) stay intact.

When you purge the mini-buildd package, all traces will be removed from the system, including your repositories.

Cruft Files

With newer versions, mini-buildd changed (internal) file paths several times – and it can’t be bothered to clean up fully automatically after itself.

However, there is a little helper command ‘mini-buildd-cruft’ if you want to do it semi-automatic.

Logging and Debugging


Can I manually instantiate a build chroot to repeat/debug a failed build?

Yes, see command ‘mini-buildd-debug-build’ – you need to be administrator, though.

Per default, mini-buildd logs

  • to mini-buildd’s log file ~/var/log/daemon.log.

  • to stderr (which usually ends up in systemd’s journal).

The former is handled by mini-buildd itself, including rotating and access to it via API calls.

The latter is the same place where sbuild and friends put their logs by default.

You may control the log level via the --log-level, and extra debug options via the --debug command line flag. The latter allows you to keep temporary files, enable python exception traces or to enable debug options for specific software components used by mini-buildd. See command ‘mini-buildd’ for full documentation.

New in version 1.0.19: Debug option sbuild.

Just use dpkg-reconfigure mini-buildd or edit /etc/default/mini-buildd to set any of these options permanently.

Debug run in the console

This example gives you a full treat of logs to the console (you may vary with the arguments to suit your needs):

systemctl stop mini-buildd
PYTHONWARNINGS="default" /usr/sbin/mini-buildd --log-level DEBUG --debug=exception,http,webapp

HTTP access log

Mini-buildd also keeps a standard HTTP access log in ~/var/log/access.log.

django: Avoid downgrades (does not start after downgrade)

mini-buildd usually is compatible with several django main versions (see control file). This, package-wise, allows for downgrading django (maybe you want to go back from backports to stable for some reason).

This, however, will mostly always cause problems as the SQL database scheme of your app has already been updated.

In case this already has happened, you can only upgrade django again (or somehow try to manually downgrade mini-buildd’s SQL (~/config.sqlite) if you dare).

Import a foreign archive key to an existing mini-buildd instance

  1. Stop the mini-buildd service.

  2. Become the mini-buildd user.

  3. Manipulate the user’s GPG keyring
    • Be sure it contains exactly one key (pub+sec) when done.

  4. (Re)start the mini-buildd service.
    • Check that the Daemon key has actually changed (f.e., on the web home, right bottom).

  5. Make a pseudo change to all repository instances.
    • Just enter the repo editor, don’t actually change anything, but do “save”.

    • This fixes the status to “Prepared (Changed)” (matching the external manipulation).

  6. “PCA” ((re)prepare, check, create) all repositories.
    • This should bring the new key to the reprepro indices.

  7. Re-create keyring packages.

Possible problems fetching keys from key servers (gpg 2.1, 2.2)

Since gpg 2.1.22, ‘use-tor’ option is default. Afaiu, there is some magic in dirmgr now trying to autodetect if tor is available, and then uses this (safer) option.

In practice, we have seen that receiving from keyserver has become unreliable, sometimes failing with:

gpg: keyserver receive failed: Connection closed in DNS

and sometimes with:

gpg: WARNING: Tor is not properly configured
gpg: keyserver receive failed: Permission denied

and occasionally working fine.

Changed in version 1.0.34,1.1.9: mini-buildd’s internal importer now first tries to utilize keys from installed Debian or Ubuntu archive key packages (and add ‘Suggests:’ for them) before reverting to ‘recv’ from the configured keyserver. Also, the keyserver import is now being retried.

Ulimately, the GPG’s defaults should be used, and dirmngr should be more reliable. If this bugs you however, you might try the following options to mitigate the problem:

  • Update tor; on a stretch system, updating from -> seems to improve the success rate.

  • Remove tor from the system.

  • Use no-use-tor in dirmngr.conf. This might eventually be an option when there is a systemwide default config for user-context dirmngr instances. Currently, that’s not the case, and also no command line option to tunnel that through.