Comparisons to Other Tools
The sections below outline some major differences makedeb has with other tools, which may aid in helping you decide if makedeb is the tool that’s right for you or your team.
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This includes tools like
dpkg-deb; these are the tools that are commonly used to build packages for Debian and Ubuntu based distributions.
The normal Debian packaging tools are known for not being the most user-friendly towards new users - they’re the reason makedeb exists in the first place. Notably, the standard way of creating a Debian package involves creating a source package consisting of a
debian/ directory, which contains multiple files that describe how to build a package. This is quite verbose (as makedeb demonstrates), with makedeb commonly only requiring a single file in order to build a package.
rules file used in Debian packaging also uses Makefile syntax, which isn’t the nicest to work with, especially as project complexity starts to increase.
PKGBUILD syntax alleviates both of these issues, with it putting most packaging information into a single file, whilst also being simple to write and look at.
Due to packaging requirements, you should avoid makedeb if you’re wanting to get your application into the mainline Debian/Ubuntu repositories, as makedeb is unable to build the source packages required for such. If you plan on distributing packages on your own APT repository though (which also has other benefits such as allowing your package’s updates to be distributed to end users immediately), makedeb will work just fine.
Pacstall is a package manager that function as an AUR-like platform for Ubuntu systems.
Both Pacstall and makedeb use a Bash-like syntax to set up their build files. Pacstall uses a more custom format for their build files though, while makedeb uses a format that’s heavily based on that of PKGBUILDs from Arch Linux, meaning there’s less to learn and get accustomed to if you’re already used to those.
Pacstall has both the build tool and package repository management in a single program, making it easier to install packages from remote locations out of the box. makedeb functions solely as the build tool though, meaning installing makedeb packages from a repository must be done elsewhere. makedeb solves this issue though with the MPR and MPR helpers, though these tools must be set up manually after installing makedeb.
makedeb also has the Prebuilt-MPR, which provides a repository of popular MPR packages installable directly via
apt without makedeb even being installed, providing a way for users to install extra packages without having to learn another package management system.
makedeb’s main package repository (the aformetioned MPR) includes more packages than Pacstall’s main package repository , meaning there’s a better chance software you want will be available with makedeb than with Pacstall.