dh_python2 Man page



dh_python2 – calculates Python dependencies, adds maintainer scripts to
byte compile files, etc.


dh_python2 -p PACKAGE [-V [X.Y][-][A.B]] DIR_OR_FILE [-X REGEXPR]


· if necessary, describe supported Python versions via X-Python-Ver‐
sion field in debian/control,

· build-depend on python or python-all or python-all-dev (>=

· build module/application using its standard build system, remember
to build extensions for all supported Python versions (loop over
pyversions -vr),

· install files to the standard locations, add –install-layout=deb
to setup.py’s install command if your package is using distutils,

· add python2 to dh’s –with option, or:

· include /usr/share/cdbs/1/class/python-distutils.mk in
debian/rules and depend on cdbs (>= 0.4.90), or:

· call dh_python2 in the binary-* target,

· add ${python:Depends} to Depends

In order to support more than one Python version in the same binary
package, dh_python2 (unlike dh_pycentral and dh_pysupport) creates sym‐
links to all supported Python versions at build time. It means binNMU
(or sourceful upload in case of architecture independent packages) is
required once a list of supported Python version is changed. It’s
faster and more robust than its competitors, though.

dh_python2 tries to translate Python dependencies from requires.txt
file to Debian dependencies. Use debian/pydist-overrides or –no-guess‐
ing-deps option to override it if the guess is incorrect. If you want
dh_python2 to generate more strict dependencies (f.e. to avoid ABI
problems) create debian/python-foo.pydist file. See
/usr/share/doc/python-doc/README.PyDist (provided by python-doc pack‐
age) for more information. If the pydist file contains PEP386 flag or
set of (uscan like) rules, dh_python2 will make the depedency versioned
(version requirements are ignored by default).

namespace feature
dh_python2 parses Egg’s namespace_packages.txt files (in addition to
–namespace command line argument(s)) and drops empty __init__.py files
from binary package. pycompile will regenerate them at install time and
pyclean will remove them at uninstall time (if they’re no longer used
in installed packages). It’s still a good idea to provide __init__.py
file in one of binary packages (even if all other packages use this

private dirs
/usr/share/foo, /usr/share/games/foo, /usr/lib/foo and
/usr/lib/games/foo private directories are scanned for Python files by
default (where foo is binary package name). If your package is shipping
Python files in some other directory, add another dh_python2 call in
debian/rules with directory name as an argument – you can use different
set of options in this call. If you need to change options (f.e. a list
of supported Python versions) for a private directory that is checked
by default, invoke dh_python2 with –skip-private option and add
another call with a path to this directory and new options.

debug packages
In binary packages which name ends with -dbg, all files in
/usr/lib/python2.X/{site,dist}-packages/ directory that have extensions
different than so or h are removed by default. Use –no-dbg-cleaning
option to disable this feature.

pyinstall files
Files listed in debian/pkg.pyinstall file will be installed as public
modules for all requested Python versions (dh_install doesn’t know
about python’s site- vs. dist-packages issue).

Syntax: path/to/file [VERSION_RANGE] [NAMESPACE]

debian directory is automatically removed from the path, so you can
place your files in debian/ directory and install them from this loca‐
tion (if you want to install them in “debian” namespace, set NAMESPACE
to debian). If NAMESPACE is set, all listed files will be installed in
…/dist-packages/NAMESPACE/ directory.


· foo.py installs …/dist-packages/foo.py for all supported
Python versions

· foo/bar.py 2.6- installs …/dist-packages/foo/bar.py for ver‐
sions >= 2.6

· foo/bar.py spam installs …/dist-packages/spam/bar.py

· debian/*.py spam.egg 2.5 installs …/python2.5/site-pack‐
ages/spam/egg/*.py files

pyremove files
If you want to remove some files installed by build system (from all
supported Python versions or only from a subset of these versions), add
them to debian/pkg.pyremove file.


· *.pth removes .pth files from …/dist-packages/

· bar/baz.py 2.5 removes …/python2.5/site-packages/bar/baz.py

overriding supported / default Python versions
If you want to override system’s list of supported Python versions or
the default one (f.e. to build a package that includes symlinks for
older version of Python or compile .py files only for given interpreter
version), you can do that via DEBPYTHON_SUPPORTED and/or
DEBPYTHON_DEFAULT env. variables.

Example: 2.5,2.7 limits the list of supported Python versions to Python
2.5 and Python 2.7.


show program’s version number and exit

-h, –help
show help message and exit

disable guessing other supported Python versions

disable guessing dependencies

do not remove any files from debug packages

do not rewrite shebangs

don’t check private directories

-v, –verbose
turn verbose mode on

-i, –indep
act on architecture independent packages

-a, –arch
act on architecture dependent packages

-q, –quiet
be quiet

-p PACKAGE, –package=PACKAGE
act on the package named PACKAGE

do not act on the specified package

specify list of supported Python versions. See pycompile for

exclude items that match given REGEXPR. You may use this option
multiple times to build up a list of things to exclude.

compile all files from given private directory in postinst/rtup‐
date not just the ones provided by the package (i.e. do not pass
the –package parameter to pycompile/pyclean)

translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add
them to ${python:Depends}. Use it for missing items in

translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add
them to ${python:Recommends}

translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add
them to ${python:Suggests}

use this option (multiple time if necessary) if namespace_pack‐
ages.txt is not complete

ignore Egg’s namespace declaration and –namespace option. This
option will disable removing (and recreating at install time)
empty __init__.py files. Removing namespace_packages.txt from
egg-info directory has the same effect.

generate maintainer script that will remove byte code generated
by python-central helper

use given command as shebang in scripts

do not translate shebangs into Debian dependencies


· /usr/share/doc/python/python-policy.txt.gz

· /usr/share/doc/python-doc/README.PyDist (python-doc package)

· pycompile, pyclean

· dh_python3, py3compile, py3clean

· Wiki page about converting package to dh_python2:


Piotr Ożarowski, 2012-2013