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lintian(1) Debian Package Checker lintian(1)

NAME

lintian - Static analysis tool for Debian packages

SYNOPSIS

lintian [action] [options] [packages] ...

DESCRIPTION

Lintian dissects Debian packages and reports bugs and policy violations. It contains automated checks for many aspects of Debian policy as well as some checks for common errors.

There are two ways to specify binary, udeb or source packages for Lintian to process: by file name (the .deb file for a binary package or the .dsc file for a source package), or by naming a .changes file.

If you specify a .changes file, Lintian will process all packages listed in that file. This is convenient when checking a new package before uploading it.

If you specify packages to be checked or use the option --packages-from-file, the packages requested will be processed. Otherwise, if debian/changelog exists, it is parsed to determine the name of the .changes file to look for in the parent directory. See "CHECKING LAST BUILD" for more information.

OPTIONS

Actions of the lintian command: (Only one action can be specified per invocation)
-c, --check
Run all checks over the specified packages. This is the default action.
-C chk1,chk2,..., --check-part chk1,chk2,...
Run only the specified checks. You can either specify the name of the check script or the abbreviation. For details, see the "CHECKS" section below.
-F, --ftp-master-rejects
Run only the checks that issue tags that result in automatic rejects from the Debian upload queue. The list of such tags is refreshed with each Lintian release, so may be slightly out of date if it has changed recently.

This is implemented via a profile and thus this option cannot be used together with --profile.

-T tag1,tag2,..., --tags tag1,tag2,...
Run only the checks that issue the requested tags. The tests for other tags within the check scripts will be run but the tags will not be issued.

With this options all tags listed will be displayed regardless of the display settings.

--tags-from-file filename
Same functionality as --tags, but read the list of tags from a file. Blank lines and lines beginning with # are ignored. All other lines are taken to be tag names or comma-separated lists of tag names to (potentially) issue.

With this options all tags listed will be displayed regardless of the display settings.

-X chk1,chk2,..., --dont-check-part chk1,chk2,...
Run all but the specified checks. You can either specify the name of the check script or the abbreviation. For details, see the "CHECKS" section below.

General options:

-h, --help
Display usage information and exit.
-q, --quiet
Suppress all informational messages including override comments (normally shown with --show-overrides).

This option is silently ignored if --debug is given. Otherwise, if both --verbose and --quiet is used, the last of these two options take effect.

This option overrides the verbose and the quiet variable in the configuration file. In the configuration file, this option is enabled by using quiet variable. The verbose and quiet variables may not both appear in the config file.

-v, --verbose
Display verbose messages.

If --debug is used this option is always enabled. Otherwise, if both --verbose and --quiet is used (and --debug is not used), the last of these two options take effect.

This option overrides the quiet variable in the configuration file. In the configuration file, this option is enabled by using verbose variable. The verbose and quiet variables may not both appear in the config file.

-V, --version
Display lintian version number and exit.
--print-version
Print unadorned version number and exit.

Behavior options for lintian.

--color (never|always|auto|html)
Whether to colorize tags in lintian output based on their visibility. The default is "never", which never uses color. "always" will always use color, "auto" will use color only if the output is going to a terminal, and "html" will use HTML <span> tags with a color style attribute (instead of ANSI color escape sequences).

This option overrides the color variable in the configuration file.

--hyperlinks (on|off)
Shows text-based hyperlinks to tag descriptions on lintian.debian.org on terminals that support it. The default is on for terminals that support it, unless the user selected '--color never'. This currently only works in GNOME Terminal.

This option overrides the color variable in the configuration file.

--default-display-level
Reset the current display level to the default. Basically, this option behaves exactly like passing the following options to lintian:

-L ">=warning"

The primary use for this is to ensure that lintian's display level has been reset to the built-in default values. Notably, this can be used to override display settings earlier on the command-line or in the lintian configuration file.

Further changes to the display level can be done after this option. Example: --default-display-level --display-info gives you the default display level plus informational ("I:") tags.

--display-source X
Only display tags from the source X (e.g. the Policy Manual or the Developer Reference). This option can be used multiple times to add additional sources. Example sources are "policy" or "devref" being the Policy Manual and the Developer Reference (respectively).

The entire list of sources can be found in $LINTIAN_ROOT/data/output/manual-references

-E, --display-experimental, --no-display-experimental
Control whether to display experimental ("X:") tags. They are normally suppressed.

If a tag is marked experimental, this means that the code that generates this message is not as well tested as the rest of Lintian, and might still give surprising results. Feel free to ignore Experimental messages that do not seem to make sense, though of course bug reports are always welcome (particularly if they include fixes).

These options overrides the display-experimental variable in the configuration file.

--fail-on {error | warning | info | pedantic | experimental | override}
Causes lintian to exit with a program status of 2 for the given conditions. This option can be a comma-separated list, or it may be specified multiple times.

THERE IS NO DEFAULT, which is different from the way lintian used to work. Also, 'warning' does not imply 'error'. Please specify both if you want both.

This option overrides the fail-on variable in the configuration file.

-i, --info
Print explanatory information about each problem discovered in addition to the lintian error tags. To print a long tag description without running lintian, see lintian-info(1).

This option overrides info variable in the configuration file.

-I, --display-info
Display informational ("I:") tags as well. They are normally suppressed. (This is equivalent to -L ">=info").

This option overrides the display-info variable in the configuration file.

Note: display-level and display-info may not both appear in the configuration file.

-L [+|-|=][>=|>|=|<|<=][S|C|S/C], --display-level [+|-|=][>=|>|=|<|<=][S|C|S/C]
Fine-grained selection of tags to be displayed. It is possible to add, remove or set the levels to display, specifying a visibility (error, warning, info, pedantic, or classification. The default settings are equivalent to -L ">=warning".

The value consists of 3 parts, where two of them are optional. The parts are:

modifier operator
How to affect the current display level. Can be one of add to ("+"), remove from ("-") or set to ("=") the display level(s) denoted by the following selection.

The default value is "=" (i.e. set the display level).

set operator
The visibility to be selected. The operator can be one of ">=", ">", "=", "<" or "<=". As an example, this can be used to select all info (and more serious) tags via ">=info".

The default value is "=", which means "exactly" the given visibility.

This option overrides the display-level variable in the configuration file. The value of the display-level in configuration file should be space separated entries in the same format as passed via command-line.

Note: display-level may not be used with display-info or pedantic in the configuration file.

-o, --no-override
Ignore all overrides provided by the package. This option will overrule --show-overrides.

This option overrides the override variable in the configuration file.

--pedantic
Display pedantic ("P:") tags as well. They are normally suppressed. (This is equivalent to -L "+=pedantic").

Pedantic tags are Lintian at its most pickiest and include checks for particular Debian packaging styles and checks that many people disagree with. Expect false positives and Lintian tags that you don't consider useful if you use this option. Adding overrides for pedantic tags is probably not worth the effort.

This option overrides the pedantic variable in the configuration file.

Note: pedantic and display-level may not both appear in the configuration file.

--profile vendor[/prof]
Use the profile from vendor (or the profile with that name). If the profile name does not contain a slash, the default profile for than vendor is chosen.

As an example, if you are on Ubuntu and want to use Lintian's Debian checks, you can use:

  --profile debian
    

Likewise, on a Debian machine you can use this to request the Ubuntu checks.

If the token {VENDOR} appears in the profile name, lintian will substitute the token with a vendor name to find the profile. lintian uses Dpkg::Vendor to determine the best vendor to use (the closer to the current vendor, the better). This is mostly useful for people implementing their own checks on top of Lintian.

If not specified, the default value is {VENDOR}/main.

Please Refer to the Lintian User Manual for the full documentation of profiles.

--show-overrides, --hide-overrides
Controls whether tags that have been overridden should be shown.

The --show-overrides differs from --no-overrides in that shown overridden tags will still be marked as overridden (using an "O" code).

If the overridden tags are shown, the related override comments will also be displayed (unless --quiet is used). Please refer to the Lintian User Manual for the documentation on how lintian relates comments to a given override.

These options override the show-overrides variable in the configuration file.

--suppress-tags tag1,tag2,...
Suppress the listed tags. They will not be reported if they occur and will not affect the exit status of Lintian. This option can be given multiple times and can be mixed with --suppress-tags-from-file.

This option can be used together with --dont-check-part ("Not those checks nor these tags") and --check-part ("Only those checks, but not these tags (from those checks)") to further reduce the selection of tags.

When used with --tags, this option is mostly ignored.

--suppress-tags-from-file file
Suppress all tags listed in the given file. Blank lines and lines beginning with # are ignored. All other lines are taken to be tag names or comma-separated lists of tag names to suppress. The suppressed tags will not be reported if they occur and will not affect the exit status of Lintian.

Tags parsed from the file will be handled as if they had been given to the --suppress-tags option (e.g. ignored if --tags is used).

--tag-display-limit[=X]
By default, lintian limits itself to emitting at most 4 instances of each tag per processable when STDOUT is a TTY. This option specified that limit. See also --no-tag-display-limit.
--no-tag-display-limit
By default, lintian limits itself to emitting at most 4 instances of each tag per processable when STDOUT is a TTY. This option disables that limit.

When STDOUT is not a TTY, lintian has no limit. See also --tag-display-limit.

Configuration options:

--cfg configfile
Read the configuration from configfile rather than the default locations. This option overrides the LINTIAN_CFG environment variable.
--no-cfg
Do not read any configuration file. This option overrides the --cfg above.
--ignore-lintian-env
Ignore all environment variables starting with LINTIAN_.

This option is mostly useful for applications running lintian for checking packages and do not want the invoking user to affect the result (by setting LINTIAN_PROFILE etc.).

Note it does not cause lintian to ignore the entire environment like TMPDIR or DEB_VENDOR. The latter can affect the default profile (or "{VENDOR}" token for --profile).

Should usually be combined with --no-user-dirs (or unsetting $HOME and all XDG_ variables).

--include-dir dir
Use dir as an additional "LINTIAN_ROOT". The directory is expected have a similar layout to the LINTIAN_ROOT (if it exists), but does not need to be a full self-contained root.

lintian will check this directory for (additional) profiles, data files, support libraries and checks. The latter two imply that Lintian may attempt to load and execute code from this directory.

This option may appear more than once; each time adding an additional directory. Directories are searched in the order they appear on the command line.

The additional directories will be checked after the user directories (though see --no-user-dirs) and before the core LINTIAN_ROOT.

Note: This option should be the very first if given.

-j X, --jobs=X
Set the limit for how many jobs Lintian will run in parallel. This option overrides the jobs variable in the configuration file.

By default Lintian will use nproc to determine a reasonable default (or 2, if the nproc fails).

--user-dirs, --no-user-dirs
By default, lintian will check $HOME and /etc for files supplied by the user or the local sysadmin (e.g. config files and profiles). This default can be disabled (and re-enabled) by using --no-user-dirs (and --user-dirs, respectively).

These options will not affect the inclusion of LINTIAN_ROOT, which is always included.

These option can appear multiple times, in which case the last of them to appear determines the result.

Note that if the intention is only to disable the user's $HOME, then unsetting $HOME and XDG_*_HOME may suffice. Alternatively, /etc can be "re-added" by using --include-dir (caveat: /etc/lintianrc will be ignored by this).

If the intention is to avoid (unintentional) side-effects from the calling user, then this option could be combined with --ignore-lintian-env.

If for some reason --no-user-dirs cannot be used, then consider unsetting $HOME and all the $XDG_* variables (not just the $XDG_*_HOME ones).

Note: This option should be the very first if given.

Developer/Special usage options:

--allow-root
Override lintian's warning when it is run with superuser privileges.
--keep-lab
By default, temporary labs will be removed after lintian is finished. Specifying this options will leave the lab behind, which might be useful for debugging purposes. You can find out where the temporary lab is located by running lintian with the --verbose option.
--packages-from-file X
The line is read as the path to a file to process (all whitespace is included!).

If X is "-", Lintian will read the packages from STDIN.

--perf-debug
Enable performance related debug logging.

The data logged and the format used is subject to change with every release.

Note that some of the information may also be available (possibly in a different format) with the --debug option.

--perf-output OUTPUT
Write performance related debug information to the specified file or file descriptor. If OUTPUT starts with a '&' or '+', Lintian will handle OUTPUT specially. Otherwise, Lintian will open the file denoted by OUTPUT for writing (truncating if it exists, creating it if it does not exist).

If the first character of OUTPUT is a & and the rest of argument is a number N, then lintian attempts to write it to the file descriptor with the number N. Said file descriptor must be open for writing. E.g &2 makes Lintian write the performance logging to STDERR.

If the first character of OUTPUT is a +, Lintian will append to the file rather than truncating it. In this case, the file name is OUTPUT with initial "+" character removed. E.g. +my-file makes Lintian append to my-file

If Lintian should write the output to a file starting with a literal '&' or '+', then simply prefix it with "./" (e.g. "+my-file" becomes "./+my-file").

If this option omitted, Lintian will default to using STDOUT.

CHECKS

COLLECTION

@COLLECTION@

FILES

Lintian looks for its configuration file in the following locations:
  • The argument given to --cfg
  • $LINTIAN_CFG
  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/lintian/lintianrc
  • $HOME/.lintianrc

    Deprecated in Lintian/2.5.12 and newer (use the XDG based variant above)

  • XDG_DIR/lintian/lintianrc

    Where XDG_DIR is a directories listed in $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS (or /etc/xdg if $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS is unset).

  • /etc/lintianrc

    Deprecated in Lintian/2.5.12 and newer (use the XDG based variant above)

Lintian uses the following directories:

/tmp
Lintian defaults to creating a temporary lab directory in /tmp. To change the directory used, set the TMPDIR environment variable to a suitable directory. TMPDIR can be set in the configuration file.
/usr/share/lintian/checks
Scripts that check aspects of a package.
/usr/share/lintian/collection
Scripts that collect information about a package and store it for use by the check scripts.
/usr/share/lintian/data
Supporting data used by Lintian checks and for output formatting.
/usr/share/lintian/lib
Utility scripts used by the other lintian scripts.

For binary packages, Lintian looks for overrides in a file named usr/share/lintian/overrides/<package> inside the binary package, where <package> is the name of the binary package. For source packages, Lintian looks for overrides in debian/source/lintian-overrides and then in debian/source.lintian-overrides if the first file is not found. The first path is preferred. See the Lintian User's Manual for the syntax of overrides.

CONFIGURATION FILE

The configuration file can be used to specify default values for some options. The general format is:

 option = value

All whitespace adjacent to the "=" sign as well as leading and trailing whitespace is ignored. However whitespace within the value is respected, as demonstrated by this example:

 # Parsed as "opt1" with value "val1"
    opt1    =   val1
 # Parsed as "opt2" with value "val2.1  val2.2     val2.3"
 opt2 = val2.1  val2.2     val2.3

Unless otherwise specified, no option may appear more than once. Lintian will ignore empty lines or lines starting with the #-character.

Generally options will be the long form of the command-line option without the leading dashes. There some exceptions (such as --profile), where Lintian uses the same name as the environment variable.

Lintian only allows a subset of the options specified in the configuration file; please refer to the individual options in "OPTIONS".

In the configuration file, all options listed must have a value, even if they do not accept a value on command line (e.g. --pedantic). The values "yes", "y", "1", or "true" will enable such an option and "no", "n", "0" or "false" will disable it. Prior to the 2.5.2 release, these values were case sensitive.

For other options, they generally take the same values as they do on the command line. Though some options allow a slightly different format (e.g. --display-level). These exceptions are explained for the relevant options in "OPTIONS".

Beyond command line options, it is also allowed to specify the environment variable "TMPDIR" in the configuration file.

A sample configuration file could look like:

 # Sample configuration file for lintian
 #
 # Set the default profile (--profile)
 LINTIAN_PROFILE = debian

 # Set the default TMPDIR for lintian to /var/tmp/lintian
 # - useful if /tmp is tmpfs with "limited" size.
 TMPDIR = /var/tmp/lintian/

 # Show info (I:) tags by default (--display-info)
 #  NB: this cannot be used with display-level
 display-info=yes

 # Ignore all overrides (--no-override)
 #  NB: called "override" in the config file
 #      and has inverted value!
 override = no

 # Automatically determine if color should be used
 color = auto

EXIT STATUS

0
Normal operation.
1
Lintian run-time error. An error message is sent to stderr.
2
Detected a condition specified via the --fail-on option. This can be used to trigger a non-zero exit value in case of policy violations.

CHECKING LAST BUILD

When run in an unpacked package dir (with no package selection arguments), Lintian will use debian/changelog to determine the source and version of the package. Lintian will then attempt to find a matching .changes file for this source and version combination.

Lintian will (in order) search the following directories:

..
Used by dpkg-buildpackage(1).
../build-area
Used by svn-buildpackage(1).
/var/cache/pbuilder/result
Used by pbuilder(1) and cowbuilder(1).

In each directory, Lintian will attempt to find a .changes file using the following values as architecture (in order):

$DEB_BUILD_ARCH (or dpkg --print-architecture)
The environment variable DEB_BUILD_ARCH (if not set, "dpkg --print-architecture" will be used instead)
$DEB_HOST_ARCH
The environment variable DEB_HOST_ARCH.
dpkg --print-foreign-architectures
If dpkg(1) appears to support multi-arch, then any architecture listed by "dpkg --print-foreign-architectures" will be used (in the order returned by dpkg).
multi
Pseudo architecture used by mergechanges(1).
all
Used when building architecture indep packages only (e.g. dpkg-buildpackage -A).
source
Used for "source only" builds (e.g. dpkg-buildpackage -S).

If a .changes file matches any combination above exists, Lintian will process the first match as if you had passed it per command line. If no .changes file can be found, Lintian will print a list of attempted locations on STDERR and exit 0.

EXAMPLES

$ lintian foo.changes
Check the changes file itself and any (binary, udeb or source) package listed in it.
$ lintian foo.deb
Check binary package foo given by foo.deb.
$ lintian foo.dsc
Check source package foo given by foo.dsc.
$ lintian foo.dsc -L +info
Check source package foo given by foo.dsc, including info tags.
$ lintian -i foo.changes
Check the changes file and, if listed, the source and binary package of the upload. The output will contain detailed information about the reported tags.
$ lintian
Assuming debian/changelog exists, look for a changes file for the source in the parent dir. Otherwise, print usage information and exit.

BUGS

Lintian does not have any locking mechanisms yet. (Running several Lintian processes on the same laboratory simultaneously is likely to fail or corrupt the laboratory.)

If you discover any other bugs in lintian, please contact the authors.

SEE ALSO

lintian-info(1), Lintian User Manual (/usr/share/doc/lintian/lintian.html)

Packaging tools: debhelper(7), dh_make(8), dpkg-buildpackage(1).

AUTHORS

Niels Thykier <niels@thykier.net>

Richard Braakman <dark@xs4all.nl>

Christian Schwarz <schwarz@monet.m.isar.de>

Please use the email address <lintian-maint@debian.org> for Lintian related comments.

2020-06-03 Lintian v2.79.0~bpo10+1