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gem2deb - converts Rubygems' .gem file into Debian package


gem2deb [OPTIONS] GEMNAME (to download the gem with gem fetch)

gem2deb [OPTIONS] GEMFILE (to use a local .gem file)


gem2deb converts the gem into a Debian source package, and then will attempt to build it. The process is made of several steps.

First, gem2deb converts the gem file to a tar.gz archive containing a metadata.yml file with the Gem specification. This is equivalent to what gem2tgz does.

Then, gem2deb unpacks the tar.gz archive and prepares a Debian source package, guess many of the defaults from the files included in the archive, or the Gem specification. This is equivalent to what dh-make-ruby does. gem2deb cannot determine all parameters for obvious reasons. It is recommended to search for the "FIXME" string in the debian/ directory. The generated Debian source package uses dh_ruby to build the package.

Finally, gem2deb tries to build the source and binary packages using dpkg-buildpackage.


Stop after creating the tar.gz archive.
Stop after preparing the Debian source package directory (do not attempt to build the package).
Only build a Debian source package (do not build binary packages).
Do not check build dependencies when building the package. Equivalent to the options with the same in dpkg-buildpackage(1).
Specify package name (default: ruby-*). Passed to dh-make-ruby. See dh-make-ruby(1).
Import the resulting source package, if any, to a git repository under the current directory. The git repository will be named after the source package (i.e. it is influenced by --package).

Note that --only-tarball or --only-source-dir will prevent this, since they make gem2deb stop early.

The import uses gbp import-dsc --pristine-tar (see gbp-import-dsc(1)), and thus git-buildpackage and pristine-tar need to be installed for this to work.

After building the package, remove all files files that were produced by gem2deb. This includes source tarballs, Debian package artifacts (.dsc, .deb, .changes etc), and even the source directory. This is useful for example when used in conjunction with --git.
Ruby versions to build the package for (default: all). Passed to dh-make-ruby. See dh-make-ruby(1).
Prevents dh-make-ruby to check wnpp reports to get the number of a possible ITP (intend to package) bug report. By default, dh-make-ruby does check these reports, which requires an Internet access.
Prevents dh-make-ruby from accessing the internet at all.
Displays gem2deb usage information.
Displays gem2deb version information.


A gem named mygem-0.1.0.gem is converted in a tarball with (approximately) the following steps:

  mkdir mygem-0.1.0
  cd mygem-0.1.0
  tar xfm /absolute/path/to/mygem-0.1.0.gem
  tar xzfm data.tar.gz
  zcat metadata.gz > metadata.yml
  rm -f data.tar.gz metadata.gz
  cd ..
  tar czf mygem-0.1.0.tar.gz mygem-0.1.0
  rm -rf mygem-0.1.0

The generated tarball has the following properties:

It contains all the files the gem contains.
It contains the gem metadata in a file named ``metadata.yml`` inside the mygem-0.1.0 directory.




Copyright (c) 2011, Lucas Nussbaum <>

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.