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DEBOCKER(8) debocker DEBOCKER(8)


debocker - build Debian packages with docker




Debocker builds Debian packages inside docker. The build process is contained in docker images and (almost) no other tools are needed to develop Debian packages on the main system. Moreover, docker´s image cache reuses the same system state whenever possible. In particular, when a package is built for the second time, its dependecies and buildchain are not downloaded nor installed again.

Debocker is also able to create a self-contained bundle with everything necessary to build a package with docker only.

You do not have to be root to run debocker, but you have to be able to use docker(1) command. In Debian, it means that you must be a member of the docker group.

The build process consists of 5 steps:

uprade - the base image is updated to the most recent packages (with apt-get)
install-utils - the Debian toolchain is installed
install-deps - the build dependencies of the package are installed
extract-source - the source package is extracted
build - the proper build is executed


Each command accepts --help option that shows its basic CLI usage.

bundle [OPTS] [PATH]: Create a tarball file containing sources of a package in the current directory, and a series of scripts to build it using docker. The resulting bundle is stored in the parent directory as a tarball. If the package is non-native, the original tarball must be present in the parent directory. However, if the original tarball is not present, debocker will try to extract it using pristine-tar(1).
The bundle is independent from debocker and can be used with docker only (see EXAMPLES).
PATH: optional path to the package; defaults to the current directory
-o FILE, --output FILE: store bundle in FILE; the file is a traditional tarball with a Debian source package, a Dockerfile, and some utils
-f FLAGS, --flags FLAGS: define builds flags that bundle will use; these are passed to dpkg-buildpackage
--from STEP: invalidate STEP causing docker to restart from this step, even if previous cache exists; possible values are: build, extract-source, install-deps, install-utils, upgrade
--image IMAGE: define the base docker image to use; defaults to debian:unstable
build-bundle [OPTS] BUNDLE: Build a tarball file created with bundle by running the process in docker and extracting the final files to the current directory. This multi-step process takes advantage of docker´s cache whenever possible, saving space and making successive builds very fast.
BUNDLE: the location of a bundle to build
-o DIRECTORY, --output DIRECTORY: store the built files in DIRECTORY
-s, --sign: sign the results of the build; this requires installed debsign (see devscripts(1))
--no-cache: do not use docker´s image cache (passed directly to docker build); this effectively restarts the whole build from the start
--pull: pull the newest base image if available (passed directly to docker build)
build [OPTS] [PATH]: Create a temporary bundle with bundle and build it with build-bundle. The respective options are passed unchanged to the subcommands (e.g., -s can be used to sign packages).


Make debocker´s output verbose.
Show summary of CLI usage.

Global options must be given before the name of the command.


There are no config files.


Assuming that you are in a directory with a Debian source package:

$ debocker build

will build the package in Debian unstable (the built files will be stored in the parent directory). If the build was successful, every subsequent run should use cache instead. You may force rebuild at any stage by using --from option. To rebuild the package, you may use:

$ debocker build --from=build

The build command is equivalent, save for the undeleted, intermediary file, with:

$ debocker bundle --output /tmp/bundle.tar
$ debocker build-bundle /tmp/bundle.tar --output ..

You may pass custom flags to your build:

$ debocker build --flags=´-j4´

To create a (pseudo)-reproducible, compressed bundle with your package and to build it using docker:

$ debocker bundle --output /tmp/bundle.tar
$ docker run - < /tmp/bundle.tar


Debocker does not clean after itself. If you are not careful, docker images may consume a lot of space.

And probably many more.


Initial idea and coding has been done by Tomasz Buchert

Initial packaging, many ideas and a lot of support by Dariusz Dwornikowski.

The semi-official homepage is


pbuiler(8), docker(1), devscripts(1), pristine-tar(1)

July 2015 Debian