GiftWrap helps you create .debs

GiftWrap helps you create .debs

How do I create a .deb ?

If you’ve ever tried to write some sample application with Visual Studio you surely already know that creating an installer for you Window application is pretty trivial. You follow the wizard, click here and there, et-voila ! You have a nice installer ready to be shipped wherever you want.

Linux makes not that easier, though. Debian packaging, although tremendously powerful and flexible, has never had any GUI tool to help with packaging.

As far as I know, there has been 2 attempts, but neither really took off.

When Vadim told me he was working on a packaging tool, that made pretty happy as well as wondering about if and when I could see anything working.

Introducing GiftWrap 0.1

GiftWrap is a GTK based tool that helps you creating Debian packages from scratch, born as a fork of the dead Deb Creator project. Don’t expect too much right now, as we’re just at the 0.1 version, but still, it seems to be able to accomplish basic tasks yet.

GiftWrap wizard: package metadata

Look at the video below to get a better idea about how it works:


If you want to try it yourself download it your best bet is using the official Launchpad PPA:

For standalone packages and source, look here: download it from this page.

Further resources:

About the author of GiftWrap

Vadim Peretokin is co-creator of Shutter and also the mantainer of the Gnote PPA. Should you want to know more about him, check out his blog.

Thoughts ?

Feel free to express them in the comments. Look, I know perfectly the hype or the concerns such a tool will raise. Please be constructive ;-)

As for what I think, I’m all for it !

This seems like a great time to subscribe my RSS !

10 responses to “GiftWrap helps you create .debs”

  1. Parry

    This is great, dude. How do you stay so up to date in the Linux world? Nice post.
    Can you recommend me the place to start if I want to develop a GTK application using some IDE that offers me a kind of Visual Studio like solution?


  2. Stefano Forenza

    @Parry: I know the author of the program :-) .

    As for the developing question usually people use a combination of two programs:
    - a text editor or ide for the language of choice (for python there’s Eric, Gedit, Eclipse, Wing Ide, Aptana and so on)
    - glade for the interface design. If I ain’t wrong sudo apt-get install glade-3 should install it.

  3. Vadim

    @Parry: I was actually thinking of writing an article about that to get new developers started.

  4. DeadFishMan

    So it does basically what checkinstall does, right? I’ve been using it since forever in order to not leave files from manually compiled software packages scattered all over my hard drive as ‘make uninstall’ does not always work reliably (or at all, in some cases). GiftWrap looks like a nice wrapper for checkinstall, though.

    I noticed that there was a missing dependency in the video and that the package managed to build successfully after the missing dependency was fixed but – unless I missed something – I did not see anywhere a way to specify dependencies for the created package (checkinstall has such feature) so it would be nice to have an additional field where one could enter them – manually or otherwise.

    However, for a 0.1 release you went quite a length with your app. Congratulations! If you ever find the time/incentive to do a Qt version, you can count me in as I’d be glad to provide constructive feedback/beta testing, if needed.

  5. Vadim

    No, it’s not a checkinstall wrapper – checkinstall generates rather poor quality. GiftWrap aims at helping you create the highest quality package (I should have clarified that).

    You can specify dependencies in the ‘Options’ section – for the sake of a simple package, I skipped it. But it’s there.

    I’ve worked with Qt (still do) and all I got was a dis-incentive to use it, sorry. Really horrible continued experience with the thing and Qt Designer made me leave it open for others to do.

    Thanks though!

  6. DeepDayze

    Nice application, and will this app be able to produce packages that are high enough quality to upload to Debian and be accepted, if you wanted to submit a package to include in Debian?

  7. James

    Nice app by the looks, I noticed its in ubuntu form. As I use lenny and sid, will this be packaged so debian users can use? I find some ubuntu packages dont work in debian, gwibber for one, as I have to use source for it to work nicely. I don’t mind compiling but…
    Thanks for progressing with this, I’m sure there will be many grateful people out there.

  8. Vadim

    It will be able to, but it doesn’t atm.

  9. Gzorg

    I create .deb on computer A with Jaunty. Can someone else use that .deb on computer B with Hardy?

  10. Vadim

    @Gzorg: Depends if the software doesn’t use something that is missing in Hardy.

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