dgit(7)                              dgit                              dgit(7)

       dgit - principles of operation

       dgit treats the Debian archive as a version control system, and
       bidirectionally gateways between the archive and git.  The git view of
       the package can contain the usual upstream git history, and will be
       augmented by commits representing uploads done by other developers not
       using dgit.  This git history is stored in a canonical location known
       as dgit-repos which lives on a dedicated git server.

       git branches suitable for use with dgit can be edited directly in git,
       and used directly for building binary packages.  They can be shared
       using all conventional means for sharing git branches.  It is not
       necessary to use dgit to work with dgitish git branches.  However, dgit
       is (usually) needed in order to convert to or from Debian-format source

              Reference manual and documentation catalogue.

              Tutorials and workflow guides.  See dgit(1) for a list.

       You may use any suitable git workflow with dgit, provided you satisfy
       dgit's requirements:

       dgit maintains a pseudo-remote called dgit, with one branch per suite.
       This remote cannot be used with plain git.

       The dgit-repos repository for each package contains one ref per suite
       named refs/dgit/suite.  These should be pushed to only by dgit.  They
       are fast forwarding.  Each push on this branch corresponds to an upload
       (or attempted upload).

       However, it is perfectly fine to have other branches in dgit-repos;
       normally the dgit-repos repo for the package will be accessible via the
       remote name `origin'.

       dgit push will also make signed tags called archive/debian/version
       (with version encoded a la DEP-14) and push them to dgit-repos.  These
       are used at the server to authenticate pushes.

       Uploads made by dgit contain an additional field Dgit in the source
       package .dsc.  (This is added by dgit push.)  This specifies: a commit
       (an ancestor of the dgit/suite branch) whose tree is identical to the
       unpacked source upload; the distro to which the upload was made; a tag
       name which can be used to fetch the git commits; and a url to use as a
       hint for the dgit git server for that distro.

       Uploads not made by dgit are represented in git by commits which are
       synthesised by dgit.  The tree of each such commit corresponds to the
       unpacked source; there is a commit with the contents, and a pseudo-
       merge from last known upload - that is, from the contents of the
       dgit/suite branch.  Depending on the source package format, the
       contents commit may have a more complex structure, but ultimately it
       will be a convergence of stubby branches from origin commits
       representing the components of the source package.

       dgit expects trees that it works with to have a dgit (pseudo) remote.
       This refers to the dgit-created git view of the corresponding archive.

       The dgit archive tracking view is synthesised locally, on demand, by
       each copy of dgit.  The tracking view is always a descendant of the
       dgit-repos suite branch (if one exists), but may be ahead of it if
       uploads have been done without dgit.  The archive tracking view is
       always fast forwarding within each suite.

       dgit push can operate on any commit which is a descendant of the suite
       tracking branch.

       dgit does not make a systematic record of its imports of orig
       tarball(s).  So it does not work by finding git tags or branches
       referring to orig tarball(s).  The orig tarballs are downloaded (by
       dgit clone) into the parent directory, as with a traditional (non-
       gitish) dpkg-source workflow.  You need to retain these tarballs in the
       parent directory for dgit build and dgit push.  (They are not needed
       for purely-git-based workflows.)

       dgit repositories could be cloned with standard (git) methods.
       However, the dgit repositories do not contain uploads not made with
       dgit.  And for sourceful builds / uploads the orig tarball(s) will need
       to be present in the parent directory.

       To a user looking at the archive, changes pushed in a simple NMU using
       dgit look like reasonable changes made in an NMU: in a `3.0 (quilt)'
       package the delta from the previous upload is recorded in new patch(es)
       constructed by dpkg-source.

       dgit can synthesize a combined view of several underlying suites.  This
       is requested by specifying, for suite, a comma-separated list:


       This facility is available with dgit clone, fetch and pull, only.

       dgit will fetch the same package from each specified underlying suite,
       separately (as if with dgit fetch).  dgit will then generate a
       pseudomerge commit on the tracking branch remotes/dgit/dgit/suite which
       has the tip of each of the underlying suites as an ancestor, and which
       contains the same as the suite which has the highest version of the

       The package must exist in mainsuite, but need not exist in the

       If a specified subsuite starts with - then mainsuite is prepended.

       So, for example, stable,-security means to look for the package in
       stable, and stable-security, taking whichever is newer.  If stable is
       currently jessie, dgit clone would leave you on the branch

       Combined suites are not supported by the dgit build operations.  This
       is because those options are intended for building for uploading source
       packages, and look in the changelog to find the relevant suite.  It
       does not make sense to name a dgit-synthesised combined suite in a
       changelog, or to try to upload to it.

       When using this facility, it is important to always specify the same
       suites in the same order: dgit will not make a coherent fast-forwarding
       history view otherwise.

       The history generated by this feature is not normally suitable for
       merging back into upstreams, as it necessarily contains unattractive

       Because the synthesis of the suite tracking branches is done locally
       based only on the current archive state, it will not necessarily see
       every upload not done with dgit.  Also, different versions of dgit (or
       the software it calls) might import the same .dscs differently
       (although we try to minimise this).  As a consequence, the dgit
       tracking views of the same suite, made by different instances of dgit,
       may vary.  They will have the same contents, but may have different

       There is no uniform linkage between the tracking branches for different
       suites.  The Debian infrastructure does not do any automatic import of
       uploads made without dgit.  It would be possible for a distro's
       infrastructure to do this; in that case, different dgit client
       instances would see exactly the same history.

       There has been no bulk import of historical uploads into Debian's dgit
       infrastructure.  To do this it would be necessary to decide whether to
       import existing vcs history (which might not be faithful to dgit's
       invariants) or previous non-Dgit uploads (which would not provide a
       very rich history).

       git represents only file executability.  git does not represent empty
       directories, or any leaf objects other than plain files and symlinks.
       The behaviour of Debian source package formats on objects with unusual
       permissions is complicated.  Some pathological Debian source packages
       will no longer build if empty directories are pruned (or if other
       things not reproduced by git are changed).  Such sources cannot be
       worked with properly in git, and therefore not with dgit either.

       Distros which do not maintain a set of dgit history git repositories
       can still be used in a read-only mode with dgit.  Currently Ubuntu is
       configured this way.

       git has features which can automatically transform files as they are
       being copied between the working tree and the git history.  The
       attributes can be specified in the source tree itself, in
       .gitattributes.  See gitattributes(5).

       These transformations are context-sensitive and not, in general,
       reversible, so dgit operates on the principle that the dgit git history
       contains the actual contents of the package.  (When dgit is
       manipulating a .dsc, it does so in a private area, where the
       transforming gitattributes are defused, to achieve this.)

       If transforming gitattributes are used, they can cause trouble, because
       the working tree files can differ from the git revision history (and
       therefore from the source packages).  dgit warns if it finds a
       .gitattributes file (in a package being fetched or imported), unless
       the transforming gitattributes have been defused.

       dgit clone and dgit setup-new-tree disable transforming gitattributes
       by default, by creating a suitable .git/info/attributes.  See dgit
       setup-new-tree and dgit setup-gitattributes in dgit(1).

       Note that dgit does not disable gitattributes unless they would
       actually interfere with your work on dgit branches.  In particular,
       gitattributes which affect git archive are not disabled, so .origs you
       generate by hand can be wrong.  You should consider using git-deborig
       (1) which gets this right, suppressing the attributes.

       If you are not the maintainer, you do not need to worry about the
       source format of the package.  You can just make changes as you like in
       git.  If the package is a `3.0 (quilt)' package, the patch stack will
       usually not be represented in the git history.

       Debian source package formats do not always faithfully reproduce
       changes to executability.  But dgit insists that the result of dgit
       clone is identical (as far as git can represent - see Limitations,
       above) to the result of dpkg-source -x.

       So files that are executable in your git tree must be executable in the
       result of dpkg-source -x (but often aren't).  If a package has such
       troublesome files, they have to be non-executable in dgit-compatible
       git branches.

       For a format `3.0 (quilt)' source package, dgit may have to make a
       commit on your current branch to contain metadata used by quilt and

       This is because `3.0 (quilt)' source format represents the patch stack
       as files in debian/patches/ actually inside the source tree.  This
       means that, taking the whole tree (as seen by git or ls) (i) dpkg-
       source cannot represent certain trees, and (ii) packing up a tree in
       `3.0 (quilt)' and then unpacking it does not always yield the same

       dgit will automatically work around this for you when building and
       pushing.  The only thing you need to know is that dgit build, sbuild,
       etc., may make new commits on your HEAD.  If you're not a quilt user
       this commit won't contain any changes to files you care about.

       Simply committing to source files (whether in debian/ or not, but not
       to patches) will result in a branch that dgit quilt-fixup can
       linearise.  Other kinds of changes, including editing patches or
       merging, cannot be handled this way.

       You can explicitly request that dgit do just this fixup, by running
       dgit quilt-fixup.

       If you are a quilt user you need to know that dgit's git trees are
       `patches applied packaging branches' and do not contain the .pc
       directory (which is used by quilt to record which patches are applied).
       If you want to manipulate the patch stack you probably want to be
       looking at tools like git-debrebase, gbp pq, or git-dpm.

   quilt fixup error messages
       When dgit's quilt fixup fails, it prints messages like this:

       dgit: base trees orig=5531f03d8456b702eab6 o+d/p=135338e9cc253cc85f84
       dgit: quilt differences: src:  == orig ##     gitignores:  == orig ##
       dgit: quilt differences:      HEAD ## o+d/p               HEAD ## o+d/p
       starting quiltify (multiple patches, linear mode)

       dgit: error: quilt fixup cannot be linear.  Stopped at:
       dgit:  696c9bd5..84ae8f96: changed debian/patches/test-gitignore

       orig   is an import of the .orig tarballs dgit found, with the debian/
              directory from your HEAD substituted.  This is a git tree
              object, not a commit: you can pass its hash to git-diff but not

       o+d/p  is another tree object, which is the same as orig but with the
              patches from debian/patches applied.

       HEAD   is of course your own git HEAD.

       quilt differences
              shows whether each of the these trees differs from the others
              (i) in upstream files excluding .gitignore files; (ii) in
              upstream .gitignore files.  == indicates equality; ## indicates

       dgit quilt-fixup --quilt=linear walks commits backwards from your HEAD
       trying to construct a linear set of additional patches, starting at the
       end.  It hopes to eventually find an ancestor whose tree is identical
       to o+d/p in all upstream files.

       In the error message, 696c9bd5..84ae8f96 is the first commit child-
       parent edge which cannot sensibly be either ignored, or turned into a
       patch in debian/patches.  In this example, this is because it itself
       changes files in debian/patches, indicating that something unusual is
       going on and that continuing is not safe.  But you might also see other
       kinds of troublesome commit or edge.

       Your appropriate response depends on the cause and the context.  If you
       have been freely merging your git branch and do not need need a pretty
       linear patch queue, you can use --quilt=smash (or use the 1.0 or
       single-debian-patch source formats; see dpkg-source(1).)  If you want a
       pretty linear series, and this message is unexpected, it can mean that
       you have unwittingly committed changes that are not representable by
       dpkg-source (such as some mode changes).  Or maybe you just forgot a
       necessary --quilt= option.

       Finally, this problem can occur if you have provided Debian git tooling
       such as git-debrebase, git-dpm or git-buildpackage with upstream git
       commit(s) or tag(s) which are not 100% identical to your orig

       When working with git branches intended for use with the `3.0 (quilt)'
       source format dgit can automatically convert a suitable maintainer-
       provided git branch (in one of a variety of formats) into a dgit

       When a splitting quilt mode is selected dgit build commands and dgit
       push will, on each invocation, convert the user's HEAD into the dgit
       view, so that it can be built and/or uploaded.

       Split view mode can also be enabled explicitly with the --split-view
       command line option and the .split-view access configuration key.

       When split view is in operation, regardless of the quilt mode, any
       dgit-generated pseudomerges and any quilt fixup commits will appear
       only in the dgit view.  dgit push will push the dgit view to the dgit
       git server.  The dgit view is always a descendant of the maintainer
       view.  dgit push will also make a maintainer view tag according to
       DEP-14 and push that to the dgit git server.

       Splitting quilt modes must be enabled explicitly (by the use of the
       applicable command line options, subcommands, or configuration).  This
       is because it is not possible to reliably tell (for example) whether a
       git tree for a dpkg-source `3.0 (quilt)' package is a patches-applied
       or patches-unapplied tree.

       Split view conversions are cached in the ref dgit-intern/quilt-cache.
       This should not be manipulated directly.

       This section is mainly of interest to maintainers who want to use dgit
       with their existing git history for the Debian package.

       Some developers like to have an extra-clean git tree which lacks files
       which are normally found in source tarballs and therefore in Debian
       source packages.  For example, it is conventional to ship ./configure
       in the source tarball, but some people prefer not to have it present in
       the git view of their project.

       dgit requires that the source package unpacks to exactly the same files
       as are in the git commit on which dgit push operates.  So if you just
       try to dgit push directly from one of these extra-clean git branches,
       it will fail.

       As the maintainer you therefore have the following options:

       •      Delete the files from your git branches, and your Debian source
              packages, and carry the deletion as a delta from upstream.
              (With `3.0 (quilt)' this means representing the deletions as
              patches.  You may need to pass --include-removal to dpkg-source
              --commit, or pass corresponding options to other tools.)  This
              can make the Debian source package less useful for people
              without Debian build infrastructure.

       •      Persuade upstream that the source code in their git history and
              the source they ship as tarballs should be identical.  Of course
              simply removing the files from the tarball may make the tarball
              hard for people to use.

              One answer is to commit the (maybe autogenerated) files, perhaps
              with some simple automation to deal with conflicts and spurious
              changes.  This has the advantage that someone who clones the git
              repository finds the program just as easy to build as someone
              who uses the tarball.

       Of course it may also be that the differences are due to build system
       bugs, which cause unintended files to end up in the source package.
       dgit will notice this and complain.  You may have to fix these bugs
       before you can unify your existing git history with dgit's.

       Some upstream tarballs contain build artifacts which upstream expects
       some users not to want to rebuild (or indeed to find hard to rebuild),
       but which in Debian we always rebuild.

       Examples sometimes include crossbuild firmware binaries and
       documentation.  To avoid problems when building updated source packages
       (in particular, to avoid trying to represent as changes in the source
       package uninteresting or perhaps unrepresentable changes to such files)
       many maintainers arrange for the package clean target to delete these

       dpkg-source does not (with any of the commonly used source formats)
       represent deletion of binaries (outside debian/) present in upstream.
       Thus deleting such files in a dpkg-source working tree does not
       actually result in them being deleted from the source package.  Thus
       deleting the files in rules clean sweeps this problem under the rug.

       However, git does always properly record file deletion.  Since dgit's
       principle is that the dgit git tree is the same of dpkg-source -x, that
       means that a dgit-compatible git tree always contains these files.

       For the non-maintainer, this can be observed in the following
       suboptimal occurrences:

       •      The package clean target often deletes these files, making the
              git tree dirty trying to build the source package, etc.  This
              can be fixed by using dgit -wg aka --clean=git, so that the
              package clean target is never run.

       •      The package build modifies these files, so that builds make the
              git tree dirty.  This can be worked around by using `git reset
              --hard' after each build (or at least before each commit or

       From the maintainer's point of view, the main consequence is that to
       make a dgit-compatible git branch it is necessary to commit these files
       to git.  The maintainer has a few additional options for mitigation:
       for example, it may be possible for the rules file to arrange to do the
       build in a temporary area, which avoids updating the troublesome files;
       they can then be left in the git tree without seeing trouble.

       A related problem is other unexpected behaviour by a package's clean
       target.  If a package's rules modify files which are distributed in the
       package, or simply forget to remove certain files, dgit will complain
       that the tree is dirty.

       Again, the solution is to use dgit -wg aka --clean=git, which instructs
       dgit to use git clean instead of the package's build target, along with
       perhaps git reset --hard before each build.

       This is 100% reliable, but has the downside that if you forget to git
       add or to commit, and then use dgit -wg or git reset --hard, your
       changes may be lost.

Debian Project                                                         dgit(7)