Provided by: dgit_9.16_all bug


       dgit - tutorial for package maintainers, using a workflow centered around git-debrebase(1)


       This document describes elements of a workflow for maintaining a non-native Debian package
       using dgit.  We maintain the Debian delta as a series of git commits on our master branch.
       We use git-debrebase(1) to shuffle our branch such that this series of git commits appears
       at the end of the branch.  All the public git history is fast-forwarding, i.e., we do not
       rewrite and force-push.

       Some advantages of this workflow:

       •   Manipulate the delta queue using the full power of git-rebase(1), instead of relying
           on quilt(1), and without having to switch back and forth between patches-applied and
           patches-unapplied branches when committing changes and trying to build, as with

       •   If you are using 3.0 (quilt), provide your delta queue as a properly separated series
           of quilt patches in the source package that you upload to the archive (unlike with

       •   Avoid the git tree being dirtied by the application or unapplication of patches, as
           they are always applied.

       •   Benefit from dgit's safety catches.  In particular, ensure that your upload always
           matches exactly your git HEAD.

       •   Provide your full git history in a standard format on dgit-repos, where it can benefit
           downstream dgit users, such as people using dgit to do an NMU (see dgit-nmu-simple(7)
           and dgit-user(7)).

       •   Minimise the amount you need to know about 3.0 (quilt) in order to maintain Debian
           source packages which use that format.

       This workflow is appropriate for packages where the Debian delta contains multiple pieces
       which interact, or which you don't expect to be able to upstream soon.  For packages with
       simple and/or short-lived Debian deltas, use of git-debrebase(1) introduces unneeded
       complexity.  For such packages, consider the workflow described in dgit-maint-merge(7).


       This section explains how to start using this workflow with a new package.  It should be
       skipped when converting an existing package to this workflow.

   When upstream tags releases in git
       Suppose that the latest stable upstream release is 1.2.2, and this has been tagged '1.2.2'
       by upstream.

           % git clone -oupstream https://some.upstream/foo.git
           % cd foo
           % git verify-tag 1.2.2
           % git reset --hard 1.2.2
           % git branch --unset-upstream

       The final command detaches your master branch from the upstream remote, so that git
       doesn't try to push anything there, or merge unreleased upstream commits.  To maintain a
       copy of your packaging branch on in addition to dgit-repos, you can do
       something like this:

           % git remote add -f origin
           % git push --follow-tags -u origin master

       Now go ahead and Debianise your package.  Make commits on the master branch, adding things
       in the debian/ directory, or patching the upstream source.  For technical reasons, it is
       essential that your first commit introduces the debian/ directory containing at least one
       file, and does nothing else. In other words, make a commit introducing debian/ before
       patching the upstream source.

       Finally, you need an orig tarball:

           % git deborig

       See git-deborig(1) if this fails.

       This tarball is ephemeral and easily regenerated, so we don't commit it anywhere (e.g.
       with tools like pristine-tar(1)).

       Comparing upstream's tarball releases

           The above assumes that you know how to build the package from git and that doing so is

           If, as a user of the upstream source, you usually build from upstream tarball
           releases, rather than upstream git tags, you will sometimes find that the git tree
           doesn't contain everything that is in the tarball.

           Additional build steps may be needed.  For example, you may need your debian/rules to
           run autotools.

           You can compare the upstream tarball release, and upstream git tag, within git, by
           importing the tarball into git as described in the next section, using a different
           value for 'upstream-tag', and then using git-diff(1) to compare the imported tarball
           to the release tag.

       Using untagged upstream commits

           Sometimes upstream does not tag their releases, or you want to package an unreleased
           git snapshot.  In such a case you can create your own upstream release tag, of the
           form upstream/ver, where ver is the upstream version you plan to put in
           debian/changelog.  The upstream/ prefix ensures that your tag will not clash with any
           tags upstream later creates.

           For example, suppose that the latest upstream release is 1.2.2 and you want to package
           git commit ab34c21 which was made on 2013-12-11.  A common convention is to use the
           upstream version number 1.2.2+git20131211.ab34c21 and so you could use

               % git tag -s upstream/1.2.2+git20131211.ab34c21 ab34c21

           to obtain a release tag, and then proceed as above.

   When upstream releases only tarballs
       Because we want to work in git, we need a virtual upstream branch with virtual release
       tags.  gbp-import-orig(1) can manage this for us.  To begin

           % mkdir foo
           % cd foo
           % git init
           % git checkout -b upstream
           % gbp import-orig \
               --upstream-branch=upstream --debian-branch=master \
               --upstream-tag='upstream/%(version)s' \
               --sign-tags --no-pristine-tar \
           % git branch -f upstream

       This should leave you on the master branch.  Next, our upstream branch cannot be pushed to
       dgit-repos, but since we will need it whenever we import a new upstream version, we must
       push it somewhere.  The usual choice is

           % git remote add -f origin
           % git push --follow-tags -u origin master upstream

       You are now ready to proceed as above, making commits to the debian/ directory and to the
       upstream source.  As above, for technical reasons, it is essential that your first commit
       introduces the debian/ directory containing at least one file, and does nothing else.  In
       other words, make a commit introducing debian/ before patching the upstream source.

       A convenient way to ensure this requirement is satisfied is to start by creating

           upstream-branch = upstream
           debian-branch = master
           upstream-tag = upstream/%(version)s

           sign-tags = True
           pristine-tar = False
           pristine-tar-commit = False

           merge = False

       and commit that:

           % git add debian/gbp.conf && git commit -m "create gbp.conf"

       Note that we couldn't create debian/gbp.conf before now for the same technical reasons
       which require our first commit to introduce debian/ without patching the upstream source.
       That's why we had to pass a lot of options to our first call to gbp-import-orig(1).


       This section explains how to convert an existing Debian package to this workflow.  It
       should be skipped when debianising a new package.

       If you have an existing git history that you have pushed to an ordinary git server like, we start with that.  If you don't already have it locally, you'll need
       to clone it, and obtain the corresponding orig.tar from the archive:

           % git clone
           % cd foo
           % dgit setup-new-tree
           % origtargz

       If you don't have any existing git history, or you have history only on the special dgit-
       repos server, we start with dgit clone:

           % dgit clone foo
           % cd foo

       Then we make new upstream tags available:

           % git remote add -f upstream https://some.upstream/foo.git

       We now use a git debrebase convert-from-* command to convert your existing history to the
       git-debrebase(5) data model.  Which command you should use depends on some facts about
       your repository:

       (A) There is no delta queue.
           If there do not exist any Debian patches, use

               % git debrebase convert-from-gbp

       (B) There is a delta queue, and patches are unapplied.
           This is the standard git-buildpackage(1) workflow: there are Debian patches, but the
           upstream source is committed to git without those patches applied.  Use

               % git debrebase convert-from-gbp

           If you were not previously using dgit to upload your package (i.e. you were not using
           the workflow described in dgit-maint-gbp(7)), and you happen to have run dgit fetch
           sid in this clone of the repository, you will need to pass --fdiverged to this

       (C) There is a delta queue, and patches are applied.

               % git debrebase convert-from-dgit-view

       Finally, you need to ensure that your git HEAD is dgit-compatible, i.e., it is exactly
       what you would get if you deleted .git, invoked dpkg-buildpackage -S, and then unpacked
       the resultant source package.

       To achieve this, you might need to delete debian/source/local-options.  One way to have
       dgit check your progress is to run dgit build-source.


       git-debrebase(1) does not yet support using git merge to merge divergent branches of
       development (see "OTHER MERGES" in git-debrebase(5)).  You should configure git such that
       git pull does not try to merge:

           % git config --local pull.rebase true

       Now when you pull work from other Debian contributors, git will rebase your work on top of

       If you use this clone for upstream development in addition to Debian packaging work, you
       may not want to set this global setting.  Instead, see the branch.autoSetupRebase and
       branch.<name>.rebase settings in git-config(5).


       There are two steps: obtaining git refs that correspond to the new release, and importing
       that release using git-debrebase(1).

   Obtaining the release
       When upstream tags releases in git

           % git fetch --tags upstream

       If you want to package an untagged upstream commit (because upstream does not tag releases
       or because you want to package an upstream development snapshot), see "Using untagged
       upstream commits" above.

       When upstream releases only tarballs

       You will need the debian/gbp.conf from "When upstream releases only tarballs", above.  You
       will also need your upstream branch.  Above, we pushed this to  You will
       need to clone or fetch from there, instead of relying on dgit clone/dgit fetch alone.

       Then, either

           % gbp import-orig ../foo_1.2.3.orig.tar.xz

       or if you have a working watch file

           % gbp import-orig --uscan

   Importing the release
           % git debrebase new-upstream 1.2.3

       This invocation of git-debrebase(1) involves a git rebase.  You may need to resolve
       conflicts if the Debian delta queue does not apply cleanly to the new upstream source.

       If all went well, you can now review the merge of the new upstream release:

           git diff debian/1.2.2-1..HEAD -- . ':!debian'

       Also, diff with --name-status and --diff-filter=ADR to see just the list of added or
       removed files, which is useful to determine whether there are any new or deleted files
       that may need accounting for in your copyright file.

       If you obtained a tarball from upstream, you are ready to try a build.  If you merged a
       git tag from upstream, you will first need to generate a tarball:

           % git deborig


       Just make commits on master that change the contents of debian/.


   Adding new patches
       Adding new patches is straightforward: just make commits touching only files outside of
       the debian/ directory.  You can also use tools like git-revert(1), git-am(1) and

   Editing patches: starting a debrebase
       git-debrebase(1) is a wrapper around git-rebase(1) which allows us to edit, re-order and
       delete patches.  Run

           % git debrebase -i

       to start an interactive rebase.  You can edit, re-order and delete commits just as you
       would during git rebase -i.

   Editing patches: finishing a debrebase
       After completing the git rebase, your branch will not be a fast-forward of the git HEAD
       you had before the rebase.  This means that we cannot push the branch anywhere.  If you
       are ready to upload, dgit push or dgit push-source will take care of fixing this up for

       If you are not yet ready to upload, and want to push your branch to a git remote such as,

           % git debrebase conclude

       Note that each time you conclude a debrebase you introduce a pseudomerge into your git
       history, which may make it harder to read.  Try to do all of the editing of the delta
       queue that you think will be needed for this editing session in a single debrebase, so
       that there is a single debrebase stitch.


       You can use dpkg-buildpackage(1) for test builds.  When you are ready to build for an
       upload, use dgit sbuild, dgit pbuilder or dgit cowbuilder.

       Upload with dgit push or dgit push-source.  Remember to pass --new if the package is new
       in the target suite.

       In some cases where you used git debrebase convert-from-gbp since the last upload, it is
       not possible for dgit to make your history fast-forwarding from the history on dgit-repos.
       In such cases you will have to pass --overwrite to dgit.  git-debrebase will normally tell
       you if this will be needed.

       If you want to upload with git-debpush(1), for the first upload you should pass the
       --quilt=linear quilt mode option (see git-debpush(1)).

       Right before uploading, if you did not just already do so, you might want to have
       git-debrebase(1) shuffle your branch such that the Debian delta queue appears right at the
       tip of the branch you will push:

           % git debrebase
           % dgit push-source

       Note that this will introduce a new pseudomerge.

       After dgit pushing, be sure to git push to, if you're using that.


   Illegal material
       Here we explain how to handle material that is merely DFSG-non-free.  Material which is
       legally dangerous (for example, files which are actually illegal) cannot be handled this

       If you encounter possibly-legally-dangerous material in the upstream source code you
       should seek advice.  It is often best not to make a fuss on a public mailing list (at
       least, not at first).  Instead, email your archive administrators.  For Debian that is

   DFSG-non-free: When upstream tags releases in git
       Our approach is to maintain a DFSG-clean upstream branch, and create tags on this branch
       for each release that we want to import.  We then import those tags per "Importing the
       release", above.  In the case of a new package, we base our initial Debianisation on our
       first DFSG-clean tag.

       For the first upstream release that requires DFSG filtering:

           % git checkout -b upstream-dfsg 1.2.3
           % git rm evil.bin
           % git commit -m "upstream version 1.2.3 DFSG-cleaned"
           % git tag -s 1.2.3+dfsg
           % git checkout master

       Now either proceed with "Importing the release" on the 1.2.3+dfsg tag, or in the case of a
       new package,

           % git branch --unset-upstream
           % git reset --hard 1.2.3+dfsg

       and proceed with "INITIAL DEBIANISATION".

       For subsequent releases (whether or not they require additional filtering):

           % git checkout upstream-dfsg
           % git merge 1.2.4
           % git rm further-evil.bin # if needed
           % git commit -m "upstream version 1.2.4 DFSG-cleaned" # if needed
           % git tag -s 1.2.4+dfsg
           % git checkout master
           % # proceed with "Importing the release" on 1.2.4+dfsg tag

       Our upstream-dfsg branch cannot be pushed to dgit-repos, but since we will need it
       whenever we import a new upstream version, we must push it somewhere.  Assuming that you
       have already set up an origin remote per the above,

           % git push --follow-tags -u origin master upstream-dfsg

   DFSG-non-free: When upstream releases only tarballs
       The easiest way to handle this is to add a Files-Excluded field to debian/copyright, and a
       uversionmangle setting in debian/watch.  See uscan(1).  Alternatively, see the --filter
       option detailed in gbp-import-orig(1).


       In the simplest case,

           % dgit fetch
           % git merge --ff-only dgit/dgit/sid

       If that fails, because your branch and the NMUers' work represent divergent branches of
       development, you have a number of options.  Here we describe the two simplest.

       Note that you should not try to resolve the divergent branches by editing files in
       debian/patches.  Changes there would either cause trouble, or be overwritten by

   Rebasing your work onto the NMU
           % git rebase dgit/dgit/sid

       If the NMUer added new commits modifying the upstream source, you will probably want to
       debrebase before your next upload to tidy those up.

       For example, the NMUer might have used git-revert(1) to unapply one of your patches.  A
       debrebase can be used to strip both the patch and the reversion from the delta queue.

   Manually applying the debdiff
       If you cannot rebase because you have already pushed to, say, you can
       manually apply the NMU debdiff, commit and debrebase.  The next dgit push will require


   Minimising pseudomerges
       Above we noted that each time you conclude a debrebase, you introduce a pseudomerge into
       your git history, which may make it harder to read.

       A simple convention you can use to minimise the number of pseudomerges is to git debrebase
       conclude only right before you upload or push to

       It is possible, though much less convenient, to reduce the number of pseudomerges yet
       further.  We debrebase only (i) when importing a new release, and (ii) right before
       uploading.  Instead of editing the existing delta queue, you append fixup commits (and
       reversions of commits) that alter the upstream source to the required state.  You can push
       and pull to and from during this.  Just before uploading, you debrebase,
       once, to tidy everything up.

   The debian/patches directory
       In this workflow, debian/patches is purely an output of git-debrebase(1).  You should not
       make changes there.  They will either cause trouble, or be ignored and overwritten by

       debian/patches will often be out-of-date because git-debrebase(1) will only regenerate it
       when it needs to.  So you should not rely on the information in that directory.  When
       preparing patches to forward upstream, you should use git-format-patch(1) on git commits,
       rather than sending files from debian/patches.

   Upstream branches
       In this workflow, we specify upstream tags rather than any branches.

       Except when (i) upstream releases only tarballs, (ii) we require DFSG filtering, or (iii)
       you also happen to be involved in upstream development, we do not maintain any local
       branch corresponding to upstream, except temporary branches used to prepare patches for
       forwarding, and the like.

       The idea here is that from Debian's point of view, upstream releases are immutable points
       in history.  We want to make sure that we are basing our Debian package on a properly
       identified upstream version, rather than some arbitrary commit on some branch.  Tags are
       more useful for this.

       Upstream's branches remain available as the git remote tracking branches for your upstream
       remote, e.g. remotes/upstream/master.

   The first ever dgit push
       If this is the first ever dgit push of the package, consider passing
       --deliberately-not-fast-forward instead of --overwrite.  This avoids introducing a new
       origin commit into your git history.  (This origin commit would represent the most recent
       non-dgit upload of the package, but this should already be represented in your git

   Inspecting the history
       The git history made by git-debrebase can seem complicated.  Here are some suggestions for
       helpful invocations of gitk and git.  They can be adapted for other tools like tig(1),
       git-log(1), magit, etc.

       History of package in Debian, disregarding history from upstream:

           % gitk --first-parent

           In a laundered branch, the delta queue is at the top.

       History of the packaging, excluding the delta queue:

           % gitk :/debian :!/debian/patches

       Just the delta queue (i.e. Debian's changes to upstream):

           % gitk --first-parent -- :/ :!/debian

       Full history including old versions of the delta queue:

           % gitk --date-order

           The "Declare fast forward" commits you see have an older history (usually, an older
           delta queue) as one parent, and a newer history as the other.  --date-order makes gitk
           show the delta queues in the right order.

       Complete diff since the last upload:

           % git diff dgit/dgit/sid..HEAD -- :/ :!/debian/patches

           This includes changes to upstream files.

       Interdiff of delta queue since last upload, if you really want it:

           % git debrebase make-patches
           % git diff dgit/dgit/sid..HEAD -- debian/patches

       And of course there is:

           % git debrebase status

   Alternative ways to start a debrebase
       Above we started an interactive debrebase by invoking git-debrebase(1) like this:

           % git debrebase -i

       It is also possible to perform a non-interactive rebase, like this:

           % git debrebase -- [git-rebase options...]

       A third alternative is to have git-debrebase(1) shuffle all the Debian changes to the end
       of your branch, and then manipulate them yourself using git-rebase(1) directly.  For

           % git debrebase
           % git rebase -i HEAD~5      # there are 4 Debian patches

       If you take this approach, you should be very careful not to start the rebase too early,
       including before the most recent pseudomerge.  git-rebase without a base argument will
       often start the rebase too early, and should be avoided.  Run git-debrebase instead.  See
       also "ILLEGAL OPERATIONS" in git-debrebase(5).


       dgit(1), dgit(7), git-debrebase(1), git-debrebase(5)


       This tutorial was written and is maintained by Sean Whitton <>.
       It contains contributions from other dgit contributors too - see the dgit copyright file.