[MonoDevelop] deb/rpm package building addin as GSoC project

Jonas Finnemann Jensen jopsen at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 17:17:11 EDT 2009


I've been thinking about participating in Google Summer of Code 2009, and as
a Monodevelop user I have been missing a feature for distributable binary
package building... So I was thinking that maybe GSoC would be a good
opportunity for me to play with that... :)
Anyway, Mono's StudentProject page encouraged me to discuss ideas on this
maillinglist so here I am...

What I would like to do is a package building addin that would allow
users/developers to easily build deb or rpm packages. I remember the first
time I had to build an Ubuntu package for a project of mine... And I
remember that it took me forever to get it right... E.g. learn how to get
the dependencies, man pages and .desktop files created and installed
And it would a lot easier to push a quick beta release, if package building
was something Monodevelop could handle.

I think ideally it should be possible for a novice .Net developer from
"Windows world" to build a .deb package for Ubuntu or Debian, without
knowning anything about GNU Autotools, cdbs/debhelper or pbuilder... (Not
knowing about GNU Autotools is already a possibility).
While it should also be possible for more advanced users to customize
control files etc...

For a Debian/Ubuntu package I could imagine this integrated in monodevelop
in two ways:

1) As an initial dialog for creating the /debian/ directory and a template
for stuff within it, that'll enable building and handling dependencies for
purely managed projects. Then projects with unmanaged dependencies would
require some level of manual customization of the control file. Also there'd
ofcourse need to be a simple GUI for generating the .dsc, the diff.tar.gz
(which shouldn't contain anything) and building the binary package using

2) Alternately, control files etc. would be managed completely using a GUI.
And it should not be possible for the user to manually edit control files,
build rules etc. Thus probably setting some limits as to how complex
projects can be packaged this way... But also making it almost trivial for
even novice .Net developers to easily build .deb packages for fully managed

What do you think?

I've searched a bit and found these wiki pages:

Now, personally, I think build service integration is mostly interesting for
unmanaged projects that you wish to build for multiple architechtures...
And maybe for building managed packages for SUSE on Ubuntu and likewise...
However, in these cases developers would have to test the package on SUSE
anyway, and thus need either a SUSE PC or VM.
IMO, building locally would be ideal for most users... As you shouldn't
really ship, not even, beta releases without at least trying the package
first :)

Having read the "Packaging Projects Overhaul" page I've gotten a bit
confused... It says: A project should correspond to a single logical
Now, does that mean that packaging projects would appear as subprojects of a
project, and wouldn't this prevent me from including multiple projects in
the same package. Or does it just mean that a packaging project should be a
subproject of a solution... Instead of having a "packaging project" as a
subproject of a "package project" of a solution as is now?

Well, I just wanted to discuss this before submitting a proposal... Also I
have no idea, if you think this would work as GSoC project?
And whether to make a GSoC proposal for an overhaul of the packaging
projects or just about doing deb (and/or rpm) package building from
Also I have no idea if anybody is working on any of this? Or if it's already
implemented (I see the wiki pages were from May 2008)?
And if anybody would mentor this as GSoC project?

By the way, if you want to know anything about me (if you don't skip
this).... I'm Jonas, 21 yearsold, from Denmark, Study CS at Aalborg
University and have been writing .Net since 1.1 (way before I moved to Linux
in 05), have also be following mono before I moved to Linux and still reads
monologue... I am now developing mono based apps on Linux using Monodevelop.
And have been using Monodevelop since it was almost too unstable to use :)
(The 1.0 release I've been using lately is quite stable).
I currently run Ubuntu, have experience packaging .deb packages for it...  A
project of mine would be TheLastRipper (
Apart from C#, I'm a little Python, C, php, javascript and the list goes

Regards Jonas Finnemann Jensen.
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