Scroll to navigation

DEBI(1) General Commands Manual DEBI(1)


debi - install current version of generated Debian package


debi [options] [changes file] [package ...]


debi figures out the current version of a package and installs it. If a .changes file is specified on the command line, the filename must end with .changes, as this is how the program distinguishes it from package names. If not, then debi has to be called from within the source code directory tree. In this case, it will look for the .changes file corresponding to the current package version (by determining the name and version number from the changelog, and the architecture in the same way as dpkg-buildpackage(1) does). It then runs debpkg -i on every .deb archive listed in the .changes file to install them, assuming that all of the .deb archives live in the same directory as the .changes file. Note that you probably don't want to run this program on a .changes file relating to a different architecture after cross-compiling the package!

If a list of packages is given on the command line, then only those debs with names in this list of packages will be installed.

Since installing a package requires root privileges, debi calls debpkg rather than dpkg directly. Thus debi will only be useful if it is either being run as root or debpkg can be run as root. See debpkg(1) for more details.

Directory name checking

In common with several other scripts in the devscripts package, debi will climb the directory tree until it finds a debian/changelog file. As a safeguard against stray files causing potential problems, it will examine the name of the parent directory once it finds the debian/changelog file, and check that the directory name corresponds to the package name. Precisely how it does this is controlled by two configuration file variables DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_LEVEL and DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_REGEX, and their corresponding command-line options --check-dirname-level and --check-dirname-regex.

DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_LEVEL can take the following values:

Never check the directory name.
Only check the directory name if we have had to change directory in our search for debian/changelog. This is the default behaviour.
Always check the directory name.

The directory name is checked by testing whether the current directory name (as determined by pwd(1)) matches the regex given by the configuration file option DEVSCRIPTS_CHECK_DIRNAME_REGEX or by the command line option --check-dirname-regex regex. Here regex is a Perl regex (see perlre(3perl)), which will be anchored at the beginning and the end. If regex contains a '/', then it must match the full directory path. If not, then it must match the full directory name. If regex contains the string ´PACKAGE', this will be replaced by the source package name, as determined from the changelog. The default value for the regex is: ´PACKAGE(-.+)?', thus matching directory names such as PACKAGE and PACKAGE-version.


See dpkg-architecture(1) for a description of these options. They affect the search for the .changes file. They are provided to mimic the behaviour of dpkg-buildpackage when determining the name of the .changes file.
Look for the .changes and .deb files in directory instead of the parent of the source directory. This should either be an absolute path or relative to the top of the source directory.
Search for a multiarch .changes file, as created by dpkg-cross.
Only upgrade packages already installed on the system, rather than installing all packages listed in the .changes file. Useful for multi-binary packages when you don't want to have all the binaries installed at once.
See the above section Directory name checking for an explanation of this option.
See the above section Directory name checking for an explanation of this option.
Attempt to satisfy the Depends of a package when installing it.
Use the specified tool for installing the dependencies of the package(s) to be installed. By default, apt-get is used.
Do not read any configuration files. This can only be used as the first option given on the command-line.
Show help message and version information respectively.


The two configuration files /etc/devscripts.conf and ~/.devscripts are sourced in that order to set configuration variables. Command line options can be used to override configuration file settings. Environment variable settings are ignored for this purpose. The currently recognised variables are:

This specifies the directory in which to look for the .changes and .deb files, and is either an absolute path or relative to the top of the source tree. This corresponds to the --debs-dir command line option. This directive could be used, for example, if you always use pbuilder or svn-buildpackage to build your packages. Note that it also affects debrelease(1) in the same way, hence the strange name of the option.
See the above section Directory name checking for an explanation of these variables. Note that these are package-wide configuration variables, and will therefore affect all devscripts scripts which check their value, as described in their respective manpages and in devscripts.conf(5).


debpkg(1), devscripts.conf(5)


debi was originally written by Christoph Lameter <>. The now-defunct script debit was originally written by James R. Van Zandt <>. They have been moulded into one script together with debc(1) and parts extensively modified by Julian Gilbey <>.

Debian Utilities DEBIAN