backport-dsc(1) backport Debian source packages


backport-dsc [,OPTIONS/] ,<dsc-file>/


Helper to aid backporting a Debian source package to an arbitrary distribution release.

backport-dsc aids backporting by appropriately mangling the source package version, adjusting the maintainer of a package and compiling an informative changelog entry. Moreover, it supports distribution specific patches (plain, or for format 3.0 (quilt) source packages) and allow modification of debian/control via arbitrary 'sed' expressions.

Backport relevant patches can be embedded in source packages for use with backport-dsc. The distribution name (see --target-distribution) serves as an identifier to search for patches in the source package that shall be applied for a particular distribution. For packages using format the 3.0 (quilt), backport-dsc will look for debian/patches/series-<distname> and append it to the main patch series. Moreover, backport-dsc will also look for patches matching /debian/patches/<distname>-dsc-patch* and apply them to the source package. The latter patches, unlike the former quilt series, can also be used to modify the debian/ directory itself.


-d <distname>, --target-distribution <distname>
Arbitrary distribution name (e.g. squeeze-backports). This will be the target distribution used for the backport changelog entry. The distribution name also serves as an identifier to search for backport patches in the source package.

-h, --help

Print short description, usage summary and option list.

--maint-email <email>

Specify the backport maintainer's email address. Alternatively, backport-dsc will use the DEBEMAIL environment setting.

--maint-name <name>

Specify the backport maintainer's real name. Alternatively, backport-dsc will use the DEBFULLNAME environment setting.

--mod-control <expression>

sed expression to modify debian/control. The option can be given multiple times and all expressions will be passed to sed in the order of appearance. This can be used to, e.g. change build or runtime dependencies.


If set, potentially existing backport patches will not be applied/activated.


If set, backport-dsc won't colorize its status and error messages.


If set, the orginal maintainer is preserved in the backported source package. This should only be done if original maintainer and backporter are identical. Otherwise the porter should take responsibility for the source package backport and identify herself as the maintainer.

-s <string>, --version-suffix <string>

Version suffix that will be appended to the original source package version, ideally indicating the backport target distribution. The resulting package version will follow this schema:
e.g.: 1.2.3-4~bpo60+1 with default <prefix>=~

-p <string>, --version-prefix <string>

Version prefix that will be prepended to the backport version.
By default it
is ~ but want to be changed (e.g. to +) for forward-porting to next releases.


Enable additional status messages.


Print all available help.


Print version information and exit.


backport-dsc acknowledges the common environment variables DEBFULLNAME and DEBEMAIL to specify the maintainer.


backport-dsc reads configuration from two files: system-wide from ,/etc/backports-dsc/ and per user settings from $HOME/.backport-dsc (in that order). Both files have to be valid bash scripts that will be sourced by backport-dsc. The following variables (each shown with an example setting) can be used to pre-configure backport-dsc:


Backport target distribution (see --backport-distribution)


Version prefix (see --version-prefix)


Version suffix (see --version-suffix)

bp_maintainer_name="Unknown fellow"

Name of the backport maintainer (see --maint-name)

bp_maintainer_email="[email protected]"

Email address of backport maintainer (see --maint-email)


Whether or not to apply backport patches found in a source package. (see --no-backport-patches)


Enable or disable colored status output (see --no-color)


Enable verbose status output (see --verbose)

bp_mod_control="--mod-control 's/^Depends:.*$/&, mypackage/'"

sed expressions to modify debian/control, for example to add dependencies (see --mod-control)


Whether or not to replace the original maintainer in the backported source package (see --no-maintainer-update)


backport-dsc examplepkg_1.2.3-4.dsc
Create backport suitable for

backport-dsc -d myown-backports -v mo2010 examplepkg_1.2.3-4.dsc

Create backport for some custom distribution with custom version suffix.

backport-dsc -d ubuntu-lucid -v myppa --mod-control "-e 's/iceweasel/firefox/g'" examplepkg_1.2.3-4.dsc

Create a backport for a fake Ubuntu PPA repository, replacing all occurrences of iceweasel in debian/control with firefox.


Written by Michael Hanke for the NeuroDebian project.


Report bugs to <[email protected]>.


Copyright © 2010-2012 Michael Hanke <[email protected]>

Licensed under GNU Public License version 2 or later.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.