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Python virtualenvs in Debian packages
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dh-virtualenv is a tool that aims to combine Debian packaging with self-contained virtualenv based Python deployments.

The idea behind the dh-virtualenv is to be able to combine power of Debian packaging with the sandboxed nature of virtualenvs. In addition to this, using virtualenv enables installing requirements via Python Package Index instead of relying on the operating system provided Python packages. The only limiting factor is that you have to run the same Python interpreter as the operating system.

For complete online documentation, see the documentation online.

Using dh-virtualenv

Using dh-virtualenv is fairly straightforward. First, you need to define the requirements of your package in requirements.txt file, in the format defined by pip.

To build a package using dh-virtualenv, you need to add dh-virtualenv in to your build dependencies and write following debian/rules file:

          dh $@ --with python-virtualenv

Note that you might need to provide additional build dependencies too, if your requirements require them.

Also, you are able to define the root path for your source directory using --sourcedirectory or -D argument:

          dh $@ --with python-virtualenv --sourcedirectory=root/srv/application

NOTE: Be aware that the configuration in debian/rules expects tabs instead of spaces!

Once the package is built, you have a virtualenv contained in a Debian package and upon installation it gets placed, by default, under /usr/share/python/<packagename>.

For more information and usage documentation, check the accompanying documentation in the doc folder.

How does it work?

To do the packaging, the package extends debhelper's sequence by providing a new command in sequence, dh_virtualenv, which effectively replaces following commands from the sequence:

  • dh_auto_clean
  • dh_auto_install
  • dh_python2
  • dh_pycentral
  • dh_pysupport

In the sequence the dh_virtualenv is inserted right after dh_perl.

Running tests

$ nosetests ./test/

Code of conduct

This project adheres to the Open Code of Conduct. By participating, you are expected to honor this code.


Copyright (c) 2013 Spotify AB

dh-virtualenv is licensed under GPL v2 or later. Full license is available in the LICENSE file.

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