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Deb package for Ubuntu

The way Ralph is made makes changing versions of its dependencies challenging; consequently, in order to provide a deb package for Ubuntu it is necessary to use dh_virtualenv which installs all dependencies into a virtualenv and packs the latter into a package. Although this approach is not blessed by either Debian or Ubuntu maintainers, it provides a healthy compromise between the availability of the Ralph package and the effort required to make one.

The package is built and published to packagecloud by the Ralph core maintainers. This document describes what is necessary to know and to have for a maintainer to be able to build, test and publish the package.

Releasing and publishing new versions

Properly releasing versions is one of the key duties of every Ralph maintainer. Therefore, it is necessary for a Ralph maintainers to have their development tools properly configured. For the details, see the Maintainer's development tools section.

Like the rest of the package management operations, releasing and publishing a new version is automated and does not require specific environment to be performed.

The process of releasing and publishing a new version is the following:

  1. Switch to ng branch and ensure it is clean: git checkout ng git status
  2. Pull the latest changes from the ng branch of the upstream repository: git pull upstream ng
  3. Generate a Debian changelog and edit it as required: make release-new-version
  4. Enter your gpg key password, if asked, to sign the commit and the tag.
  5. Verify the changelog in debian/changelog contains the latest changes committed: head debian/changelog
  6. Verify the version in the latest commit message is correct and the commit is tagged: git log
  7. Verify signatures for both the latest commit and for its tag: git verify-commit HEAD git verify-tag <LATEST_TAG>
  8. Push the latest commit along with the tag to the ng branch of the upstream repository: git push upstream ng --follow-tags
  9. Create a new GitHub release.
  10. Verify the job succeeded and the packagecloud repository contains the built version.

The ecosystem

The general idea behind the package maintainers' tools is that every operation should not require specific environment to perform it in. Therefore a developer is able to build and test a package or to release a new version using just the tools a regular Ralph developer already has. This required introducing a few compromises:

  • Everything is done in docker containers to avoid forcing developers to install Ubuntu
  • Since IO performance for docker mounted volumes experiences severe problems on certain platforms, containers are built every time a package maintenance operation is performed.
  • Official Ralph repository is owned by Allegro and is hosted in packagecloud. Package publishing action is triggered by publishing a new release in Ralph GitHub repository. This is done by maintainers with sufficient repository access rights.

Building packages

Building Ralph package can be done in two modes: snapshot and release. Those modes produce packages for testing and for production uses respectively. The Makefile available in Ralph provides a target for each of the modes.

Building snapshot packages

Snapshot packages can be built for any commit and are meant to be used for either developers or a CI to test some code or configuration changes. In order to build a snapshot package run:

make build-snapshot-package

The built package will be put into the build catalog and will have the name that will look like ralph-core_<DATE>.<PATCH>-<BRANCH>-SNAPSHOT_amd64.deb.

Building release packages

Release packages are meant to be used on production therefore they should be built from the tagged HEAD of the ng branch. This, however, is not strictly controlled by the tool chain to handle different edge cases.

In order to build a release package run:

make build-package

If a release package is meant to be published, a maintainer should manually create a new GitHub release.