Creating an independant XiVO Debian GNU/Linux repository from scratch (part 4/4)

A previous attempt was interrupted because packaging-farm did not support the generation of binary kernel modules packages using module-assistant. A new release implementing this feature, together with support for reprepro was published today (version 1.2.31). The resulting repository should be useable instead of the official lenny-xivo-gallifrey-dev.

Kernel modules support

In Debian GNU/Linux kernel modules are packaged as a modulename-source package which contains the source of the kernel module. When someone needs a given kernel module, it is customary to invoque the module-assistant utility to compile the module from sources so that it matches the currently running kernel and install it on the fly. However, this operation requires the installation of a full fledged development environment and this is resource consuming. For this reason, XiVO chose to distribute binary packages for the most common kernel flavors : 2.6.26-2-486, 2.6.26-2-686-bigmem and 2.6.26-2-686.
This logic does not match the existing package types (named ROLES) already implemented in packaging-farm (packages and meta-packages) and a new one was introduced : kernel-module. Here is a sample Makefile snippet used for dahdi-linux:


The default ROLE is overriden to specify that module-assistant should be used against the designated MODULE (i.e. dahdi-linux-source which is a package created from the dahdi-linux source package). It will create a binary kernel module packages for the i386/lenny combination:

KVERS_i386_lenny=2.6.26-2-486 2.6.26-2-686-bigmem 2.6.26-2-686

The list is hardcoded in packaging-farm. The resulting packages can be found in their respective repositories for misdn-kernel, dahdi-linux and sangoma-wanpipe.

reprepro support

Each package created with packaging-farm has its own standalone repository with indices created by dpkg-scanpackage. They are conveniently used when packages depend on each other (see the implementation of package dependencies in a previous post) to ensure that the latest version is used. However, they fail to provide the automatic architecture multiplexing provided by dak repositories. On i386 the following line is valid

deb ./

but it needs to be changed to (note the x86_64)

deb ./

if the architecture is different. The reprepro utility has been added as a new way to index the packages when building a meta-package. It creates a repository that is located higher in the packaging-farm directory hierachy (immediatly above the architecture/distribut/src part) and that could be used as follows:

deb gallifrey-lenny main


This repository should now be a viable replacement for the official lenny-xivo-gallifrey-dev. This concludes the series on building an independant repository for XiVO. The resulting tools and the repository itself certainly need to be polished but the serious issues (requiring more than a few hours to overcome) have been addressed.