HOW TO GET A CPAN MODULE INTO DEBIAN.

This guide gives an overview of filing an RFP bug to get a CPAN module into debian.

This is a work in progress. Please send any comments or ideas to <jeremiah@jeremiahfoster.com>.

0. Check the PTS

Perhaps the first thing to do when you want a specific perl module brought to debian is to file a bug. There are at least two types of bugs you can file but the most likely one is the RFP bug; Request For Packaging. You may want to check that the software is not already in debian by looking the at the PTS; Package Tracking System. After a quick check of the PTS determines that the module you want packaged is not being worked on or already in debian, go ahead and file the RFP bug.

The RFP bug is easily filed and here is an example of what one looks like as an email, which is often the easiest way of interacting with debian BTS (Bug Tracking Service.) Debian has a tool to help you with this called `reportbug` so if you are on a debian system you can use reportbug to create the RFP bug for your module. Here I'll go through the steps of reporting a bug and describe the finished bug report.

1. reportbug

The first step is to install `reportbug` if you are on a debian system, use aptitude to install if you do not have reportbug availble. Once it is installed we'll call it like this:

reportbug --email you@your-email.com wnpp

Using reportbug this way automatically tells the BTS that we are reporting a bug on wnpp (Work-Needing and Prospective Packages). wnpp is a "pseudo package" which we use because we cannot report a bug against software that is not yet in debian. Obviously you would replace the fake email address with your own.

reportbug runs and then presents you with a dialog asking you to specify the type of bug. We are filing an RFP bug and that is number 5. (Note that this menu of choices only comes up if you are filing a bug against wnpp, if you are filing a bug against something else, your menu will differ.)

2. Picking a name

After you hit 5 and enter, reportbug will prompt you to enter a name for the proposed software, this will be the name of the CPAN module that debian uses internally. The perl packaging policy is fairly explicit on the naming convention debian uses. Following this policy is a good idea because once you get used to it you can find a perl module on debian simply by knowing its CPAN name. The policy can be paraphrased as prepending the prefix 'lib' to the module name, replacing "::" with "-" wherever it occures in the name, and adding "-perl" to the end and making sure the entire name is lowercase. So a CPAN module with the name of Test::Dependencies would become libtest-dependecies-perl.

Once you have entered a name for the CPAN module, reportbug asks for a short description. reportbug then queries the BTS to find other bugs which may be related to this bug. If you see your package already listed as a bug that may mean that someone else asked for it to be packaged or that someone is working on it. In either case, you probably do not need to submit another report. If you see nothing relevant to your package simply continue with your bug report.

3. Finished bug report

Finally an RFP bug report will come up in an editor where you can fill in necessary details so that the CPAN module can be package for debian. If you want you can CC the debian-perl group who maintain CPAN modules for debian with this line somewhere in the header of the email:

X-Debbugs-CC: debian-perl@lists.debian.org

Once your RFP bug is filed, you will get an acknowledgement of your bug report to the email address you submitted and a bug number will be assigned with which you can track the progress of the module as it makes its way into debian. Once the finished package is complete that bug should get automatically closed and you should get a report saying so.


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License and Copyright

Copyright (c) 2007-2008 by the individual authors and contributors noted above. All rights reserved. This document is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself

Perl is distributed under your choice of the GNU General Public License or the Artistic License. On Debian GNU/Linux systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License can be found in `/usr/share/common-licenses/GPL' and the Artistic License in `/usr/share/common-licenses/Artistic'.