Developer’s Manual


This manual is aimed at all folks actually developing Debian packages. Please read the Consumer’s Manual first.

The core functionalities of mini-buildd are, 1st the arch-multiplexed clean building, and 2nd providing a repository. You don’t need to worry about 1st, mini-buildd just does it for you.

The 2nd however, the repository, goes public and hits “global Debian namespace”; so, as a big picture, it’s important first to understand how mini-buildd’s (default) setup tries to deal with this.

First of all, each instance has it’s own identity string, which will be used in the name of the keyring package, and will also appear in the apt repository in the Origin field.

Second, each instance may have N repositories, which each have their own identity string, determining the actual distribution names (CODENAME-ID-SUITE) to be used for uploads or in apt lines.

Both identities should be “globally unique” to avoid any confusion or conflicts with other existing repositories. Only exceptions are the generic Sandbox and Developer repositories, with the de-facto standard names test and debdev; these should never be used publicly or for anything but testing.

Third, when people are mixing repositories together, we want to avoid package clashes, like same PACKAGE-VERSION from two different repositories. Also, we want guaranteed upgradeability between two different base distributions, and from experimental to non-experimental suites. Hence, at least in the recommended Default Layout, we also have a version restriction, which resembles that of Debian Backports.


(Some variant of) dput will be needed to upload packages. Debian package ‘dput-ng’ is recommended, as it also has support for ftps (which mini-buildd might be setup for) since 1.32, see Debian Bug #980735

apt install dput-ng

Traditional Debian package ‘dput’ will also work fine when not using ftps (see Debian Bug #980468).

Additionally, there is command ‘mini-buildd-dput’ which should always work, has some custom mini-buildd support but otherwise is only a minimal subset of dput.



You can retrieve a config snippet for dput via the API call ‘dput_conf’ – just add that to your ~/

For example, from the shell:

mini-buildd-api dput_conf <ENDPOINT> >>~/


Do mini-buildd commands support bash autocompletion?

Yes, all commands written in python have full autocompletion support.

You will get endpoint or dput target autocompletion after ~/ has been set up (see dput).

User upload authorization

This assumes you already have a user account as detailed in User.

  1. Upload your GnuPG key via the user’s profile.

  2. Get your administrator(s) to verify and approve your key ((re)activates your user’s Uploader instance) and to allow

    upload to specific repositories by changing the user’s Uploader instance.

You don’t need per user authorization:

  • In case the repository you upload for has authorization disabled completely (like in the sandbox repository test).

  • In case your key is included in the per-repository predefined GnuPG keyrings (by the administrator(s)).

  • If a different authorization theme is place for your site, for example via Access via SSH.


Uploading packages

Just like always, via dput. For the default configuration you get via API call ‘dput_conf’ it’s something like:

dput mini-buildd-ARCHIVE FOO.changes


Is package building parallel? (a.k.a. Where is the ‘sbuild_jobs’ settings?)

The ‘sbuild_jobs’ setting (formerly in Daemon) is no longer used because:

  • The --jobs option of sbuild (resp. dpkg-buildpackage) forces builds to be parallel (if N > 1), possible leading to unfixable build problems.

  • The --jobs option of sbuild (resp. dpkg-buildpackage) forces builds to be non-parallel (if N = 1, the default). This is not what you want for most packages.

  • For some time now, DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS is set to parallel=<CPUS> by default by dpkg tools. Packages may act on this, and build parallel. Practically, most packages will also just do so by default, when using build tools like debhelper.

I.e., we go completely with the defaults now. Use like dh --no-parallel in your rules if your package does not support parallel building.

In case your really need or want to manipulate this, you can still set DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS via Upload Options.

Upload Options

An Upload Option is some value induced to mini-buildd via special entries in the changelog of an upload. Thus, an upload may overwrite some defaults, or request special handling.

Changelog entries denoting such an upload option need to be of the form:

* MINI_BUILDD_OPTION: <key>[[<arch>]]=<value>

These options generally override resp. values (if any) in mini-buildd’s configurations (for this one package build).

Please check docs of options argument in API call ‘port’ or API call ‘port_ext’ for a complete list of known Upload Options.

New in version 1.0.26.


Consider an upload with this debian/changelog:

mini-buildd (1.0.25~test11+1) bullseye-test-unstable; urgency=medium

  * Adds this.
  * Adds that.
  * Fixes something else.
  * MINI_BUILDD_OPTION: lintian-mode=ignore
  * MINI_BUILDD_OPTION: lintian-mode[armel]=disabled
  * MINI_BUILDD_OPTION: deb-build-options=nocheck
  * MINI_BUILDD_OPTION: auto-ports=buster-test-unstable

This would

  • ignore lintian errors for this upload,

  • not run lintian at all for builds on arch armel

  • not run any checks (via DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS=nocheck, see dpkg-buildpackage).

  • and finally (after successful install) do an automated port to buster.


Is there support for emacs?

Yes, there is some (in mini-buildd-utils package):

  • mini-buildd-changelog-mode.el: A Debian changelog mode addon to help with Upload Options (thanks to Gerhard Dittes for pimping this up)

  • mini-buildd-web-mode.el: (Developers) Recommended adjustments when editing *.html templates

For example, to enable changelog mode support, add like this to your setup:

(setq mbd_archives '(myrepoid0 myrepoid1 test))
(load "mini-buildd-changelog-mode.el")
Deprecated Notations

Deprecated since version 1.99.16:

  • ignore-lintian=True: Use lintian-mode.

  • run-lintian=False: Use lintian-mode.

Deprecated since version 1.0.26:

  • BACKPORT_MODE: Use {lintian|piuparts|autopkgtest}-mode.

  • AUTO_BACKPORTS: Use auto-ports.

Control your package build results


Can I access built packages that have not been installed into the repository?

Yes, via mini-buildd’s ‘builds-dir’ page.

Since 2.0, older build directories are cleared periodically via internal cron, see mini-buildd’s ‘crontab’ page, not immediately after the build process.

Managing packages

You can view a source package overview via the API call ‘ls’.

You will find more options to manage packages like API call ‘migrate’, API call ‘remove’, API call ‘port’ in this web page overview.

Porting packages (“automatic no-changes ports”)

You can automatically port packages already in the repository (API call ‘port’) as well as arbitrary external source packages (API call ‘port_ext’).

On the web interface, you find convenience support to trigger internal ports from API call ‘ls’, external ports on mini-buildd’s ‘repositories’ page.

Internal ports may also be triggered automatically on uploads via Upload Options (see Uploading packages).