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#35 in Cargo plugins

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Rust crates to Debian packages

debcargo is the official tool for packaging Rust crates to be part of the Debian system.

It creates a Debian source package (*.dsc) from a Rust crate that follows Debian's general packaging policy as well as the Debian Rust team's crate packaging policy.


  • Easy to customize, using config files and overlay directories. This includes patching or otherwise fixing Rust crates to adhere to Debian policy.
  • Guess copyright information from crate metadata and source code, used to suggest appropriate values for debian/copyright.
  • Put FIXME (hint) strings where it can't detect full information, so user can provide an override/overlay or manually fix it.
  • Resulting packages automatically support general functionality available to all policy-conforming Debian packages, such as:
    • binaries for 10+ architectures are made available directly to users, via apt-get
    • debugging symbols are placed in a separate binary package, integrating with the standard Debian distribution system for debugging symbols
    • full system integration with non-Rust software, including cross-language dependency resolution
    • cross-compilation support, including automatic resolution and installation of non-Rust cross-dependencies, via Debian build tools such as sbuild.
  • Determine a crate's full dependency tree (i.e. build order), from both Debian packaging and QA perspectives.


On Debian systems, debcargo can be installed the usual way:

$ apt-get install debcargo

To build locally for development:

$ apt-get build-dep debcargo
$ cargo build debcargo

On non-Debian systems, you can try simply:

$ cargo build debcargo

and fix any build errors that come up, e.g. by installing missing libraries. Probably, this will include OpenSSL as a dependency of cargo.


To download and unpack the latest clap crate and prepare the source package:

$ debcargo package clap

To download and unpack version 2.25.0 of clap crate and prepare the source package:

$ debcargo package clap =2.25.0

To provide additional packaging-specific config for downloading and packaging latest clap crate from crates.io:

$ debcargo package --config clap-2/debian/debcargo.toml clap

See debcargo.toml.example for a sample TOML file.

Long-term package maintenance

The Debian Rust team uses this tool together with the configs and overlays in https://salsa.debian.org/rust-team/debcargo-conf/. If you are interested in contributing, please see that repository for further information and instructions on how to collaborate with us.

Building unofficial Debian packages

Debian packaging policy is quite detailed. If you just want to create Debian binary packages (*.deb) without worrying about these policies, you may want to use other tools instead that ignore and bypass these policies. For example, cargo-deb.

The trade-off is that the resulting packages integrate less well with a Debian system, and do not integrate at all with the Debian build system, which means you lose the features described earlier. Furthermore, you will be responsible for hosting and distributing those packages yourself, outside of the official Debian distribution infrastructure.


Debcargo is licensed under MIT/Apache-2.0. It is written by Josh Triplett and Ximin Luo, and improved by members of Debian Rust Maintainers team


~1M SLoC