debian mentors/ glossary/ Native Package

Native Package

A Debian native package is a package of a program written specifically for Debian, where there is no upstream development. In most of these cases the program will not be packaged by other distributions. Examples of such packages are dpkg and apt tools.

Two things make a native package

It is easy to build a native package by mistake, for instance if the .orig.tar.gz cannot be found by dpkg-buildpackage when building. See NativePackage for instructions on how to aviod this.

You are discouraged from building a native package for non-Debian specific software.

Imagine you make a mistake in the Debian packaging, if the package is Debian native then you have to upload a whole new release. If the package is not a native package then you just have to upload the Debian specific changes (the .diff.gz).

Some people like to make a Debian native package if they are the upstream author of the software, so that they can manage the debian/ directory in the same ?VCS as the package itself. There is split opinion on this, but I still believe it is a bad idea.