dh_python3 Man page



dh_python3 – calculates Python dependencies, adds maintainer scripts to
byte compile files, etc.


dh_python3 -p PACKAGE [-V [X.Y][-][A.B]] DIR [-X REGEXPR]


· if necessary, describe supported Python 3 versions via
X-Python3-Version field in debian/control,

· build depends on dh-python

· build-depend on python3 or python3-all or python3-all-dev,

· build module/application using its standard build system, remember
to build extensions for all supported Python 3 versions (loop over
py3versions -vr),

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

· add python3 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_python3 in the binary-* target,

· add ${python3:Depends} to Depends

dh_python3 tries to translate Python dependencies from the requires.txt
file to Debian dependencies. In many cases, this works without any
additional configuration because dh_python3 comes with a build-in map‐
ping of Python module names to Debian packages that is periodically
regenerated from the Debian archive. By default, the version informa‐
tion in the Python dependencies is discarded. If you want dh_python3 to
generate more strict dependencies (e.g. to avoid ABI problems), or if
the automatic mapping does not work correctly for your package, you
have to provide dh_python3 with additional rules for the translation of
Python module to Debian package dependencies.

For a package python3-foo that depends on a package python3-bar, there
are two files that may provide such rules:

1. If the python3-foo source package ships with a debian/py3dist-over‐
rides file, this file is used by dh_python3 during the build of

2. If the python3-bar source package ships with a
debian/python3-bar.pydist file (and uses dh_python3), this file will
be included in the binary package as
/usr/share/dh-python/dist/cpython3/python3-bar. During the build of
python3-foo, dh_python3 will then find and use the file.

Both files have the same format described in
/usr/share/doc/dh-python/README.PyDist. If all you want is to generate
versioned dependencies (and assuming that the python3-bar package pro‐
vides the pybar Python module), in most cases it will be sufficient to
put the line pybar python3-bar; PEP386 into either of the above files.

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_python3 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 3 versions) for a private directory that is checked
by default, invoke dh_python3 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/python3/dist-packages/ directory that have extensions differ‐
ent 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 (i.e. into …/dist-packages/ directory) for all requested
Python versions.

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 3.3- installs …/dist-packages/foo/bar.py for ver‐
sions >= 3.3

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

· debian/*.py spam.egg 3.2 installs …/python3.2/dist-pack‐
ages/spam/egg/*.py files

pyremove files
If you want to remove some public modules (i.e. files in …/dist-pack‐
ages/ directory) 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 3.2 removes …/python3.2/dist-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 DEBPYTHON3_SUPPORTED and/or
DEBPYTHON3_DEFAULT env. variables.

Example: 3.2,3.3 limits the list of supported Python versions to Python
3.2 and Python 3.3.


show program’s version number and exit

-h, –help
show help message and exit

disable guessing dependencies

do not remove any files from debug packages

–no-ext-rename do not add magic tags nor multiarch tuples to extension
file names

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 3 versions. See py3compile
for examples

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 py3compile/py3clean)

translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add
them to ${python3:Depends}. Use it for missing items in

translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add
them to ${python3:Recommends}

translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add
them to ${python3:Suggests}



translate requirements from given file(s) into Debian dependen‐
cies and add them to ${python3:Depends}

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/dh-python/README.PyDist

· pybuild

· py3compile, py3clean

· dh_python2, pycompile, pyclean

· http://deb.li/dhp3 – most recent version of this document


Piotr Ożarowski, 2012-2013