Debian / Ubuntu packaging: Zorba XQuery

Today I uploaded Ubuntu source and binary (Gutsy and Hardy) packages for Zorba, the new C++ streaming XQuery processor. The Ubuntu PPA system (Personal Package Archives) is a great service; without it, you'd need to host an APT repository in order to conveniently distribute packages that are not (yet) part of Debian or Ubuntu (especially since a Debian source package is actually three files).

In fact, my source package works in Debian unstable too; as there is no custom Debian Sid APT repository (Ubuntu PPA only serves Ubuntu distros), here's what you need to do to build and install it:

  • dget the .dsc file (which pulls the original tarball and a .diff.gz as well)
  • run pbuilder zorbaxquery_0.9.1-3.dsc (apt-get install and set up pbuilder if you don't have it)
  • retrieve the .deb's from /var/cache/pbuilder/results/

It would be really nice if someone set up a PPA-like service for Debian, at least for repositories of source packages. I realize that setting up a cluster of build boxes is possible only with someone like Canonical behind. But the required storage for source packages could be quite small: if the *.orig.tar.gz "link" would dynamically retrieve an archive hosted elsewhere (a webapp could do this, trading space for bandwidth), such repositories could be quite compact (the .dsc and .diff.gz files are usually tiny). Alternatively, this scheme might work with a modified apt that could recognize HTTP redirects.