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lintian is the Debian package checker. It describes itself as:

Lintian dissects Debian packages and reports bugs and policy violations. It contains automated checks for many aspects of Debian policy as well as some checks for common errors. This package is useful for all people who want to check Debian packages for compliance with Debian policy. Every Debian maintainer should check packages with this tool before uploading them to the archive.

Debian packaging can sometimes be not trivial especially because the Debian Policy is a complex document which evolves over time. lintian is a great tool to help us up to date with best packaging practices.

Because Apertis is a Debian derivative but has its own identity, we create an Apertis profile for lintian teaching lintian the Apertis’ specificities. For now, this profile avoids lintian to report tags that are not issues in Apertis. But, it could in the future add new checks for Apertis.

Most of the packages in Apertis come from Debian without any modification, thus checking them doesn’t have much interest. But, some packages are specific to Apertis and checking them automatically allow to improve their quality and technical debt.

How to enable lintian job for a specific package

To enable the lintian job for a specific package, we only have to create a file debian/apertis/lintian file in the package repository.

touch debian/apertis/lintian
git add debian/apertis/lintian
git commmit -m "Add debian/apertis/lintian to enable lintian for my package"

The ci-package-builder pipeline will check the presence of this file and will add the lintian job if this file is present. If lintian emits any warning or error tag then the job will fail.

Add lintian overrides

Occasionally, lintian wrongly emits tags which can be false positives or a lintian bug. In this case, it is possible to teach lintian not to report them by adding lintian overrides in the source package. Please refer to the lintian documentation (available at /usr/share/doc/lintian/lintian.html after having installed lintian) or to the Debian Maintainers’ Guide.

Behind the scene

The ci-package-builder will build a source package on GitLab, then this source package will be sent to OBS where binary packages will be built. Once, binary packages are built, GitLab will retrieve them and will run lintian on *.deb and *.dsc files like:

lintian --verbose --info --color always --fail-on error,warning --profile apertis --allow-root *.deb