Monthly Archives: April 2015

Slackware & Debian packaging

As announced on the Linux User Group of Mauritius mailing list, today there was a meetup about Slackware & Debian Packaging. I attended the same. I’m usually lazy on Saturdays and no wonder I reached the University of Mauritius late, where the meetup was scheduled.

Good enough for me though the presentation by Pritvi got delayed too. Technically, I didn’t miss a lot. Pritvi brought his O-Droid running Xubuntu and ran his slides on the same. Oh… His prez was on Slackware packaging. In our little group of geeks I think Pritvi is the only human being having survived a Slackware experience :-)


He explained the need of a couple of utils necessary during packaging; mktemp, chown/chmod, make, tar etc. He went into meticulous details during the compilation and the need for a temporary directory. By the end of his slides one could understand that Slackware packages are tarballs built with a specific structure that could be then deployed using the pkgtool. Some commands to retain when installing/removing Slackware packages are:

# installpkg option package_name

-m	Performs a makepkg operation on the current directory.
-warn	Shows what would happen if you installed the specified package. This is useful for production systems so you can see exactly what would happen before installing something.
-r	Recursively install all packages in the current directory and down. The package name can use wildcards, which would be used as the search mask when recursively installing.

# removepkg option package_name

-copy	The package is copied to the preserved packages directory. This creates a tree of the original package without removing it.
-keep	Saves temporary files created during the removal. Really only useful for debugging purposes.
-preserve	The package is removed, but copied to the preserved packages directory at the same time.
-warn	Shows what would happen if you removed the package.

# upgradepkg package_name

Next, Cyril talked about Debian packaging. He introduced himself and gave an overview about the Debian distribution and its package management. He had emacs opened and showed us the directory structure of the source files, files that need to be created etc. To create a .deb file from the downloaded source code, one needs a minimum set of 5 files under a “debian” directory in the source folder. The files are:

– changelog
– compat
– control
– copyright
– rules

Cyril went through the contents of each file and explained why they are important during the build procedure. His slides can be found on his website under : Debian packaging talk


For our better understanding, Cyril created a .deb package after downloading the source code for pbzip2. He explained us each step all while editing the required files.

Cyril Bouthors is a Debian Maintainer since around 2000 and has been maintaining several packages and Python modules. He explained us the procedure of package verification once the same is uploaded on the Debian infra before it goes public on the repository.

We had a short Q&A session and he gladly answered our queries.


Me, with my freedom-support laptop :-)

We finished around 15h00. Some of us dropped to Bagatelle Foodcourt for munching, drinking and chatting.

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How to take a screenshot with GIMP?

During the past week a developer friend and I were talking about blogs and all. We discussed about the simplicity of posts and I realized he was right, that sometimes simple things that we write are actually highly sought. That same day another friend asked me how to take a screenshot on the modified Debian desktop he was using as he could not achieve it using the Print Screen (PrtSc) button. Using GIMP one can achieve the trick across all operating systems the same way.

How to take a screenshot with GIMP?

Open GIMP, navigate to File > Create > Screenshot, as displayed in the image below.


A dialog box will appear with several options that you can use to customize the way to capture the screen. You can capture only a specific window (with or without the window border decoration), you can capture fullscreen (with or without the mouse pointer) and you can specify a delay before taking the capture.


The delay part becomes handy as it allows one to prepare the window that needs to be captured. However, even if you have captured a whole screen but you need only part of it, it’s pretty easy in GIMP to select and edit. From the left toolbox, click on the Rectangle Select Tool, then select a portion of the captured screen.



Select the portion needed

Right-click on the image and do Edit > Copy.


Then, right-click and do Edit > Paste as > New image.


That should be all, happy GIMP’ing :-)

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