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apkg package templates

In order to maintain packages for families of distros using same packaging style with minimal redundancy, apkg supports templating through jinja templating engine.

Individual directories in templates directory distro/pkg/ are considered package templates each using a particular packaging style which is determined automatically by apkg based on files present in a template.


See minimal example of apkg templating features:

You can also refer to apkg templates:

template files

By default, files in a package template are rendered using jinja into output directory while preserving file names, attributes and directory structure.

template.ignore_files can be used to ignore/skip selected files during render. Hidden files are ignored by default:

ignore_files = ['.*']

template.plain_copy_files can be used to copy selected files without jinja templating. This is useful for files that can contain jinja control strings or non-unicode characters. This option defaults to:

plain_copy_files = ['*.patch']

Use -L verbose or -L debug to log how apkg handles individual files during render.

template syntax

apkg uses jinja the great python templating engine.

You can use default template variables such as version and distro, or define custom template variables to serve your needs. See template variables.

Example Debian changelog:

apkg-example-templates ({{ version }}-{{ release }}~{{ distro.tiny }}) unstable; urgency=medium

  * new upstream version {{ version }}
  * distro: {{ distro }} / {{ distro.idver }} / {{ distro.tiny }}
  * include: {% include 'distro/common/shared.txt' %}
  * raw include: {% include_raw 'distro/common/shared.txt' %}
{%- if distro.match('debian >= 12', 'ubuntu > 21.04') %}
  * new Debian-based
{%- elif distro.match('deb-zzz') %}
  * ancient Debian-based (distro alias)
{%- elif distro.match('deb-old') %}
  * old Debian-based (distro alias)
{%- elif distro.match('linuxmint') %}
  * only on Linux Mint
{%- else %}
  * other Debian-based
{%- endif %}

 -- Jakub Ružička <>  {{ now }}

See distro in templates to learn how to use the magical distro object in templates.

reusing code in templates

Jinja include tag can be used to include file content with templating:

{% include 'distro/common/foo.txt' %}

Custom include_raw tag is also provided to include file content without templating:

{% include_raw 'distro/common/foo.txt' %}

This is especially useful when including files which might contain jinja control sequences but no templating is needed in them.

Both include and include_raw expect file path relative to project root.

template selection

apkg selects package template (from distro/pkg/) to use based on target distro.

To cover simple use cases without configuration but still allow full control when needed, apkg provides 3 types of template selection mechanisms (described below) which can be combined as needed.

Use apkg status to list available package templates ordered by priority.

You can also supply apkg status with --distro argument to check which template gets selected on a particular distro:

$> apkg status --distro debian-10
package templates:
    arch: arch pkgstyle default: arch
    deb: deb pkgstyle default: ubuntu | debian | linuxmint | raspbian

target distro: debian 10
    package style: deb
    package template: distro/pkg/deb

pkgstyle default template

The simplest and most general type of template that is used for any distro supported by selected packaging style.

Simply name the template directory in distro/pkg/ the same as the desired packaging style such as deb, rpm, or arch and it will be used as a default for all distros supported by that style.

It's recommended to start with pkgstyle default templates and cover special cases using other template types as needed.

Many simple projects will do just fine with pkgstyle default templates only.

distro-specific template

Templates in distro/pkg/ which aren't named as an existing packaging style are considered to be distro-specific. They are selected by apkg based on their name.

In simplest case, distro-specific template is only selected when target distro matches its name:

  • debian: any Debian version (but not clones)
  • ubuntu: any Ubuntu version
  • fedora: any Fedora version

Additionally, specific distro version can be requested using - (dash) separator:

  • debian-12: Debian 12
  • ubuntu-22.04: Ubuntu 22.04
  • fedora-38: Fedora 38

Only numeric versions are supported, codenames such as buster or Focal Fosa won't work.

distro alias template

Distro alias templates provide full control over their selection based on distro aliases defined in config.

When a package template name matches a defined distro alias, its distro rules are used to select the template.

For example to use deb-old distro alias defined as follows:

name = "deb-old"
distro = ["debian < 9", "ubuntu < 20.04"]

simply create distro/pkg/deb-old template and apkg will select it based on supplied distro rule - on Debian versions older than 9 and on Ubuntu versions older than 20.04.

import existing packaging

To import existing packaging sources as apkg templates simply copy them into a new template dir in distro/pkg/ (see templates selection) and replace all occurrences of:

  • package version string with {{ version }}
  • package release string with {{ release }} (optional)
  • changelog date with {{ now }} (optional for pkgstyles with changelogs like deb and rpm)

import debian-based packaging

cp -r ~/debian/foo/debian distro/pkg/deb
edit distro/pkg/deb/changelog
# replace VERSION-RELEASE string with {{ version }}-{{ release }}
# replace date with {{ now }}


import rpm packaging

cp -r ~/fedora/foo distro/pkg/rpm
edit distro/pkg/rpm/foo.spec
# replace Version string to {{ version }}
# replace Release string to {{ release }} (leave %{?dist} at the end if present)
# replace changelog date with {{ now }}