Debian PPA Utility

September 4, 2014

Debian remains to be my favorite distribution, however there’s one thing that’s missing, that thing is called PPA.

There were numerous discussions on this topic inside of Debian, but AFAIK without any visible movement. Thus, I decided to publish a utility I’ve been using for some time now.


Since its introduction, PPA’s are exclusively connected to Ubuntu and its derivatives (Mint, Elementary, etc …). But over time, a number of interesting projects appeared whose whole development is happening inside of PPA’s. To name few, I’m talking about TLP, Geary, Oracle Java Installer, Elementary OS and etc … Some of these projects are in WNPP without much happening for a long time, i.e: TLP

One option was to repackage these packages and then have them uploaded to Debian, or just go rogue and install them directly from its PPA’s. Title of this post might hint which path I took.

In theory, adding Ubuntu packages on your Debian system is a bad idea, and adding its PPA’s is probably even worse. But, I’ve been using couple (TLP, Geary, couple of custom icon sets) of these PPA’s on my personal/work boxes, and to be honest, never had a single problem. Also, setting Pinning priority to low for the PPA you added is never a bad idea.

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Taking control over Debian and its package repositories

October 29, 2013

When we talk about Debian we must talk in the superlative. One of the reasons why Google and International Space Station are choosing Debian as their default Linux distribution is because it has (by far) the biggest package collection. At the time of writing this document, there are 61801 packages in Debian Sid (Unstable/Development distribution).

But as with many things in life, your greatest asset can be also your biggest liability—unless you take things under control. As an example, people usually complain how package versions in Debian “Stable” are too old, and they are spot on right ignorant. The author of this document has never used Debian “Stable” outside of production and has solely relied on some of the ingenious mechanisms provided by Debian, which when properly configured can provide you with unlimited possibilities.

APT Pinning

Pinning allows you to install and run package versions from other (Testing/Unstable/Experimental) Debian branches without having to upgrade the whole distribution to that particular branch.

Example 1:

You are running Debian 7.2 (Wheezy), and you want latest “libjmagick6-java” version (i.e: 6.6.9), however you only see the version which is present in Stable repository (6.2.6). When you look for the package on Debian packages, you can see that the version you want is present in Testing/Unstable.

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Automating Debian package creation and management with Maven/Ant

October 2, 2013


This document was composed in aim to briefly reflect on Debian packaging system (dpkg) and provide information on how Debian packages are automatically created and managed (uploaded) using Maven/Ant. Scope of the document implies that the reader already has basic knowledge of Debian/dpkg and/or Maven/Ant. Even though there are concise theoretical explanation, author tried the “teach by examples” approach, thus you’ll be able to find plethora of code examples.Debian packet creation is more then just a simple hack which consists of putting right files into right directories, there’s also lot of parts of packing process which weren’t explained in depth. I highly advise you read the official Debian New Maintainers’ Guide to get a full understanding on what was tried to be said here.

Since intention of this document is to be as straightforward as possible, for your assistance some parts have been marked as:

  • “Technical²”, providing additional technical insight, isn’t absolutely necessary and can even be skipped: Technical²
  • “Additional info.”, additional notes regarding particular step, should pay attention: Additional information

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Enable global menu and HUD support in Eclipse IDE

January 13, 2013

As I couldn’t retain my curiosity for Ubuntu’s “Raring Ringtail” release, I ended up having a dual boot with Ubuntu 13.04 and Debian Sid.

Even thought at the moment 13.04 is only 24% complete, it’s already a pretty promising release. However, one thing that heavily annoyed me is that global menu and HUD (still) don’t work out of box with Eclipse IDE.

Being part of Debian Java team (working on Eclipse) I had to do something about it. To make it as simple as possible for you, I made a package which enables mentioned features.

Package is made for/tested and working on 32/64 bit architectures on 12.04/12.10/13.04 Ubuntu.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fooctrl/eclipse
    sudo apt-get update & sudo apt-get install eclipse-enable.appmenu

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android-sdk-installer for Linux (Debian/Ubuntu)

July 19, 2012

This post is also available on/was written for OMG! Ubuntu

I’m fan of automation, as well as simplicity and as much as I tend to complicate my own life I generally enjoy making life easier for others. I’m of a belief that if you’re a Android developer who’s new to Linux and is using it as his development platform, you’ll have pretty hard time installing and setting up all the necessary tools.

Some people use Linux to make their life easier, not because they like to fiddle with Linux internals, for some time now I’m looking how Android SDK, Eclipse ADT plugin, hardware drivers as well as MTP support are installed as almost completely different components. And in order to install/configure some of these components you will need to role up your sleeves and dive into Terminal, something that almost every new or even experienced user will try to avoid.

That’s why I started thinking of ways how to make this process as simply as possible, and fast as possible. The solution I came up is called “android-sdk-installer“. Not very original name, I know, but this is a utility oriented to Linux (currently Debian and Ubuntu) which aims to automatically install and configures Android SDK, Eclipse ADT Plugin, adds hardware support for devices and enable full MTP support.

I did this project as part of my University Capstone project “Implementation of Android SDK into Debian Linux” where I explained everything down to the smallest detail as well as included the very first version of installer’s code. My intentions with this projects are to make current script fully working, after which I’m planning to package it into a Debian package as I’m the owner of Android SDK Debian ITP. Among many plans for the future one of the most important ones is to add a GUI as right now it’s represented in text mode.

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