Building Debian Packages for Task

A week or so ago, I espoused the virtues of Task, a great little command line application that has replaced the venerable todo.txt system for managing my projects and To-Do list at work. In that post, I described how to build Task within Cygwin for those of us who use Cygwin to get our Linux fix inside a Windows environment.

Since then, I also successfully created a deb package for the Task source and Paul Beckingham (the creator of Task) is hosting it over on the Task website – Thanks Paul!. Of course it will come as no surprise to anyone that I took the lazyman’s route to deb file creation, namely using the CheckInstall utility to create a deb file.

But while this creates a working deb file, it is not the ‘proper’ way to create Debian packages. Since Paul was going to put these on his site for people to actually use, I decided I’d better figure out the ‘right’ way of doing it instead of the ‘easy’ way.

A quick note to Dave Yates resulted in him pointing me to the Debian Maintainer’s Guide. A cursory reading of that guide made me gulp a little bit and seriously question whether this was a good idea or not. But thanks to this wonderful posting on the ubuntuforums, I found a more digestible description on how to do this properly.

Following the steps very carefully, it took me about 20 minutes to create a proper deb file of the package. It wasn’t hard, but it’s not completely intuitive either. I have new respect and understanding for what package maintainers do.

While Paul hasn’t yet posted the deb file for 1.2.0. on his site, when he does, I’d appreciate anyone with a knowledge of deb files or Debian packaging to give it a once over and let me know if I’ve done anything glaringly wrong.

Incidentally, following the steps in that tutorial, of course I end up with a package named perfectly for an Ubuntu install. But what about those using Debian or some other Debian-based distro? Will the naming somehow eff things up for them?

One Response to “Building Debian Packages for Task”

  1. Chris Irwin says:

    Hi, I’d like to have a look at your packaging for ‘task’, but I could not find the applicable source. The website has the i386 .deb, but no .diff.gz, and the upstream git repository does not seem to have a “Debian” directory.

    Is this available somewhere?

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