Managing the Breezy PPA

See also: Breezy Developer Document Catalog.


We build Ubuntu .deb packages for Breezy as an important part of the release process. These packages are hosted in a few Personal Package Archives (PPA) on Launchpad.

As of January 2011, there are the following PPAs:


Final released versions and updates. Most users who want updates to bzr should add this.


Proposed uploads to move into ~bzr/ppa, awaiting testing.


A preserved copy of the final version of packages from ~bzr/ppa for obsolete Ubuntu series.


Beta releases.


A preserved copy of the final version of packages from ~bzr/beta for obsolete Ubuntu series.


Automatic nightly builds from trunk.

We build a distinct package for each distrorelease. If you upload a release-specific version, you should add a suffix to the package version, e.g. 1.3-1~bazaar1~dapper1.

Dapper uses the python-support framework and later distributions use python-central. This has little effect on everyday packaging but does mean that some of the control files are quite different.

Beta releases of bzr and plugins are uploaded into the beta PPA.

Final release versions are first uploaded into the proposed PPA, which serves as a staging area to allow for new packages to be tested, and also so that a complete set of Breezy core and plugin updated versions can be prepared together, when negotiating an API version transition.

Once ready, packages can be copied from the proposed PPA to the main PPA using the lp-promote-ppa script found within the hydrazine project. This procedure reduces the risk of broken packages or dependencies between packages in the main PPA from which many people get bzr updates.

The packaging information is kept in branches of bzr on Launchpad, named like <>. or <lp:~bzr/ubuntu/hardy/bzr/bzr-ppa>. These branches are intended to be used with the brz-debian plugin.

Supported releases

We build packages for every supported Ubuntu release <>. Packages need no longer be updated when the release passes end-of-life because all users should have upgraded by then.

As of August 2010, the following releases are supported:

  • Maverick

  • Lucid LTS

  • Karmic

  • Jaunty (support ends October 2010)

  • Hardy LTS

  • Dapper LTS (supported but no longer updated for new releases)

The rmadison bzr command will gives you an up-to-date summary of which bzr releases are current in each Ubuntu release.


  • You must have a Launchpad account and be a member of the team that owns these PPAs (~bzr).

  • You must have a GPG key registered to your Launchpad account.

On reasonably recent versions of Ubuntu you no longer need special dput configuration, because you can just say

dput ppa:bzr/proposed source.changes

However, you may still want to add these lines to ~/ prevent inadvertently attempting to upload into Ubuntu or Debian, which will give a somewhat unclear error:

default_host_main = notspecified
  • You need a Ubuntu (or probably Debian) machine, and

    sudo apt-get install build-essential devscripts dput quilt patch libcrypt-ssleay-perl debhelper cdbs python-docutils

    Please update this document if you encounter unmet dependencies or find a shorter way to express them.

  • You will also want to have the bzr-builddeb plugin installed.

Packaging Breezy

Overview of packaging with builddeb

  • First update the oldest supported branch, using bzr merge-upstream.

  • Run bzr builddeb -S -- -sa to build a source package, then put that into the ppa.

    (-S says to make a source-only upload, which is required for Launchpad’s builders. -sa says to include the .orig.tgz even if this doesn’t seem to be the first upload for an upstream release: this is often needed when rebuilding something that’s previously been uploaded to Debian or Ubuntu or into a different PPA.)

  • Now merge across that change into each supported branch with a simple bzr merge.

Locally testing using pbuilder

It may be useful to locally test builds inside pbuilder. You may want to use the script from <> to wrap it, and to give it sensible defaults for your local machine.

Update all packages in proposed before copying to the main ppa

If one updates bzr, and there are plugins that are not compatible with the new version of bzr, this can cause pain for users using the ppa. In order to avoid this, we first get all packages up to date in the proposed ppa, and then copy them to the main ppa.

Short form

For people who have already set up everything they need, building the release packages is as simple as:

cd ~/dev/bzr/releases/packaging
export VERSION="1.17~rc1-1~bazaar1"
export PACKAGE="bzr"
export UBUNTU_RELEASES="dapper hardy intrepid jaunty karmic"
* Optionaly merge debian unstable.
~/dev/bzr/ 1.16 1.17 1.18
dput ppa:bzr/proposed ${PACKAGE}_$VERSION*.changes

Rinse and repeat for all the plugins by changing VERSION and PACKAGE.

Long Form

  1. You will end up checking out a separate directory for each supported release. Such as ~/dev/bzr/releases/packaging/hardy. In each of these branches, you will produce the package for the release.

    The scripts will also create the branches and produce packages for bzr-svn.

  2. Decide on the final version number. It should be of this form:


    Note: There are three hyphen-separated parts: the package name, the upstream version, and the packaging version.

    Caution: Upstream betas or release candidates must insert a tilde to make them sort before the final release, like this: bzr-1.17~rc1-1~bazaar1~hardy1.

    Final releases will use a release string of the form: bzr-1.17-1~bazaar1~hardy1

    Set this base of this up as a usable environment variable:

    export VERSION="1.17~rc1-1~bazaar1"
  3. Export the distroreleases that you will be packaging for:

    export UBUNTU_RELEASES="dapper hardy intrepid jaunty karmic"
  4. Export the program you are packaging:

    export PACKAGE="bzr"
  5. Checkout (or update) the packaging branch for each supported release:

    bzr co lp:~bzr/ubuntu/hardy/bzr/bzr-ppa

    There is a script available to help:

  6. Optionaly, merge the Debian unstable branch into each of the packaging branches. You can find the Debian unstable branch here:

  7. The bzr-builddeb step will download the original tarball if you do not already have it, putting it into a tarballs directory.

  8. For Breezy plugins, change the debian/control file to express a dependency on the correct version of bzr.

    For bzrtools this is typically:

    Build-Depends-Indep: bzr (>= 1.17~), rsync
    Depends: ${python:Depends}, bzr (>= 1.17~), bzr (<< 1.18~), patch

    There is a helper script which will update the control file and commit it for all of your $UBUNTU_RELEASES. It is available as:


    You must supply the versions as arguments as follows OLD_VERSION CURRENT_VERSION NEXT_VERSION, such as:

    tools/packaging/ 1.16 1.17 1.18
  9. Make a new debian/changelog entry for the new release, either by using dch or just editing the file:

    dch -v '1.17~rc1-1~bazaar1~hardy1' -D hardy

    dch will default to the distro you’re working in and this isn’t checked against the version number (which is just our convention), so make sure to specify it.

    Make sure you have the correct email address for yourself (you may need export DEBEMAIL=`bzr whoami` if it isn’t already set), version number, and distribution. It should look something like this:

    bzr (1.17~rc1-1~bazaar1~hardy1) hardy; urgency=low
     * New upstream release.
    -- John Sample <>  Mon, 31 Mar 2008 12:36:27 +1100

    If you need to upload the package again to fix a problem, normally you should increment the last number in the version number, following the distro name. Make sure not to omit the initial -1, and make sure that the distro name in the version is consistent with the target name outside the parenthesis.

    You will also want to commit these changes into the packaging branch.

    There is a helper script which will build all the packages for all of your $UBUNTU_RELEASES. It is available as:

  10. Build the source packages:

    cd bzr-$DISTRO; bzr builddeb -S

    This will create a .changes file. If you didn’t configure builddeb to automatically sign them, you can use

    debsign -m$UID *.changes

    where $UID is the gpg key you want to use to sign the changes.

    There is a helper script which will build the package for all of your $UBUNTU_RELEASES. It is available as:

  11. Upload into the PPA for each release:

    dput dput ppa:bzr/proposed bzr*1.17-1*.changes
  12. You should soon get an “upload accepted” mail from Launchpad, which means that your package is waiting to be built. You can then track its progress in <> and <>.

Packaging bzr-svn

bzr-svn uses a packaging branch that contains both the source (including any changes against upstream) and the debian/ directory.

To build bzr-svn:

  1. Get a checkout of lp:~bzr/bzr-svn/hardy-ppa/

  2. Merge from

    This should bring in both upstream and packaging changes for the new release, and it’s updated as part of the bzr-svn release process.

    It’s quite possible you will need to resolve some conflicts.

  3. Run dch -v 0.4.15-1~bazaar1-hardy1 -D hardy or similar

  4. Run bzr builddeb --source

    bzr-builddeb will automatically check out the appropriate tag from the main branch of bzr-svn, build, and package it.

  5. dput ppa:bzr/proposed ../bzr-svn_0.4.15-1~bazaar1~hardy1_source.changes

Monitoring the contents of PPAs

If you add all the bzr PPAs to your sources.list then you can see a summary of current package versions with:

apt-cache madison bzr

Testing the contents of the PPA

A somewhat crude but useful way to test the contents of the PPA is to install the relevant packages into an schroot:

schroot -c hardy-test -u root -- \
  apt-get install -o 'APT::Install-Suggests="true"' \
  -o 'APT::Install-Recommends="true"' \

This should make sure everything can be installed; it won’t guarantee that

Packaging dependencies

Some of our updates to bzr in previous releases require backports of our dependencies. Specific branches holding these backports:

  • lp:~bzr/ubuntu/dapper/configobj/dapper-backport

  • lp:~bzr/ubuntu/hardy/python-central-debhelper-sequence-addon/bzr-ppa