Creation, maintenance and integration of Debian packages

Creation of Debian packages

Creating a Debian package for a software requires adding some files to a debian sub-directory in the sources of the application. Those files describe the commands to execute in order to create the Debian packages.

The time required to complete a Debian package depends on the complexity and the requirements of the software. Here are some situations increasing the complexity of the work:

  • presence of dynamic libraries;
  • debconf usage to automatically configure the software;
  • non-compliance with the File Hierarchy Standard (FHS);
  • use of unusual build systems (that are different from autotools and makefiles).

Once this work has been completed, Freexian may be able to integrate the package in the main Debian archive provided that the software is open source and that a maintenance contract has been subscribed. Indeed, an official Debian package can't exist without a maintainer that takes care of it.

Maintenance of Debian packages

Once the initial packaging work has been completed, the Debian package must evolve to follow the changes made to the software itself but also to its environment (in particular when it's integrated in the Debian archive).

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the tasks that Freexian will handle as part of a Debian package maintenance contract:

  • update the package to conform to the latest version of the Debian Policy;
  • handle the bugs reported on the Debian bug tracking system in active collaboration with the software's authors;
  • integrate any new stable version of the software in the "unstable" distribution of Debian
  • follow its migration into "testing" to ensure it gets included in the next stable release of Debian.

The amount of work is more important for a popular software that regularly receives bug reports. A high-quality software that is both stable and portable will not cost much to maintain. We can help you choose the pack that best fits your needs.

Assistance to integrate a package in Debian

Integrating a new package in the Debian archive requires this package to be verified and uploaded by a Debian developer. The same goes for any further update until the maintainer is granted an official status that allows him/her to perform these operations by him/herself (this status is Debian Maintainer).

Freexian may conduct preliminary reviews of your packages to ensure their compliance with the usual norms of the Debian project. This will increase your chances to find an official Debian developer willing to integrate your packages in Debian. This iterative review process will strengthen your knowledge of the Debian packaging and of the Debian processes.

Freexian can also assist you in finding Debian developers that are willing to "sponsor" your Debian packages ("sponsored upload" is the term used to describe the upload of a Debian package prepared by someone else).


  • Initial packaging
    • Flat fee of 600 EUR + VAT for a small software without specific problems;
    • For other software, a quote will be prepared: a quick analysis of the software and its documentation will be done to provide an estimate.
  • Maintenance and assistance to integrate a package in Debian
    • 1 hour pack: 120 EUR + VAT
    • 2 hours pack: 240 EUR + VAT (120 EUR/hour)
    • 5 hours pack: 600 EUR + VAT (120 EUR/hour)
    • 10 hours pack: 1150 EUR + VAT (115 EUR/hour)
    • 20 hours pack: 2300 EUR + VAT (115 EUR/hour)
    • 50 hours pack: 5500 EUR + VAT (110 EUR/hour)
    The time spent is calculated in slots of 10 minutes and the packs are valid for one year from date of purchase. The time required for an initial package review evidently depends on its size and its complexity, but it usually requires at least 45 minutes.

If your package is not integrated in Debian, the maintenance contract is not required, and you can simply ask for a package update whenever you want. Hourly rate: 120 EUR + VAT.

Discounted rates are available for individuals and non-profit associations. If you are in this position, contact us.