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calculates Python dependencies, adds maintainer scripts to byte compile files, etc.

see also : pycompile - pyclean - dh_python3 - py3compile - py3clean


dh_python2 -p PACKAGE [-V [X.Y][-][A.B]] DIR_OR_FILE [-X REGEXPR]

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if necessary, describe supported Python versions via X-Python-Version field in debian/control,

build-depend on python or python-all or python-all-dev (>= 2.6.6-3~),

build module/application using its standard build system, remember to build extensions for all supported Python versions (loop over pyversions -vr),

install files to the standard locations, add --install-layout=deb to's install command if your package is using distutils,

add python2 to dh's --with option, or:

include /usr/share/cdbs/1/class/ in debian/rules and depend on cdbs (>= 0.4.90), or:

call dh_python2 in the binary-* target,

add ${python:Depends} to Depends

In order to support more than one Python version in the same binary package, dh_python2 (unlike dh_pycentral and dh_pysupport) creates symlinks to all supported Python versions at build time. It means binNMU (or sourceful upload in case of architecture independent packages) is required once a list of supported Python version is changed. It's faster and more robust than its competitors, though.

dh_python2 tries to translate Python dependencies from requires.txt file to Debian dependencies. Use debian/pydist-overrides or --no-guessing-deps option to override it if the guess is incorrect. If you want dh_python2 to generate more strict dependencies (f.e. to avoid ABI problems) create debian/python-foo.pydist file. See /usr/share/doc/python-doc/README.PyDist (provided by python-doc package) for more information. If the pydist file contains PEP386 flag or set of (uscan like) rules, dh_python2 will make the depedency versioned (version requirements are ignored by default).

namespace feature
dh_python2 parses Egg's namespace_packages.txt files (in addition to --namespace command line argument(s)) and drops empty files from binary package. pycompile will regenerate them at install time and pyclean will remove them at uninstall time (if they're no longer used in installed packages). It's still a good idea to provide file in one of binary packages (even if all other packages use this feature).

private dirs
, /usr/share/games/foo, /usr/lib/foo and /usr/lib/games/foo private directories are scanned for Python files by default (where foo is binary package name). If your package is shipping Python files in some other directory, add another dh_python2 call in debian/rules with directory name as an argument - you can use different set of options in this call. If you need to change options (f.e. a list of supported Python versions) for a private directory that is checked by default, invoke dh_python2 with --skip-private option and add another call with a path to this directory and new options.

debug packages
In binary packages which name ends with -dbg, all files in /usr/lib/python2.X/{site,dist}-packages/ directory that have extensions different than so or h are removed by default. Use --no-dbg-cleaning option to disable this feature.

pyinstall files
Files listed in debian/pkg.pyinstall file will be installed as public modules for all requested Python versions (dh_install doesn't know about python's site- vs. dist-packages issue).

Syntax: path/to/file [VERSION_RANGE] [NAMESPACE]

debian directory is automatically removed from the path, so you can place your files in debian/ directory and install them from this location (if you want to install them in "debian" namespace, set NAMESPACE to debian). If NAMESPACE is set, all listed files will be installed in .../dist-packages/NAMESPACE/ directory.
Examples: installs .../dist-packages/ for all supported Python versions

foo/ 2.6- installs .../dist-packages/foo/ for versions >= 2.6

foo/ spam installs .../dist-packages/spam/

debian/*.py spam.egg 2.5 installs .../python2.5/site-packages/spam/egg/*.py files

pyremove files
If you want to remove some files installed by build system (from all supported Python versions or only from a subset of these versions), add them to debian/pkg.pyremove file.

*.pth removes .pth files from .../dist-packages/

bar/ 2.5 removes .../python2.5/site-packages/bar/

overriding supported / default Python versions
If you want to override system's list of supported Python versions or the default one (f.e. to build a package that includes symlinks for older version of Python or compile .py files only for given interpreter version), you can do that via DEBPYTHON_SUPPORTED and/or DEBPYTHON_DEFAULT env. variables.

Example: 2.5,2.7 limits the list of supported Python versions to Python 2.5 and Python 2.7.



show program's version number and exit

-h, --help

show help message and exit


disable guessing other supported Python versions


disable guessing dependencies


do not remove any files from debug packages


do not rewrite shebangs


don't check private directories

-v, --verbose

turn verbose mode on

-i, --indep

act on architecture independent packages

-a, --arch

act on architecture dependent packages

-q, --quiet

be quiet

-p PACKAGE, --package=PACKAGE

act on the package named PACKAGE

-N NO_PACKAGE, --no-package=NO_PACKAGE

do not act on the specified package


specify list of supported Python versions. See pycompile(1) for examples


exclude items that match given REGEXPR. You may use this option multiple times to build up a list of things to exclude.


compile all files from given private directory in postinst/rtupdate not just the ones provided by the package (i.e. do not pass the --package parameter to pycompile/pyclean)


translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add them to ${python:Depends}. Use it for missing items in requires.txt


translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add them to ${python:Recommends}


translate given requirements into Debian dependencies and add them to ${python:Suggests}


use this option (multiple time if necessary) if namespace_packages.txt is not complete


ignore Egg's namespace declaration and --namespace option. This option will disable removing (and recreating at install time) empty files. Removing namespace_packages.txt from egg-info directory has the same effect.


generate maintainer script that will remove byte code generated by python-central helper


use given command as shebang in scripts


do not translate shebangs into Debian dependencies

see also


/usr/share/doc/python-doc/README.PyDist (python-doc package)

pycompile , pyclean

dh_python3 , py3compile , py3clean

Wiki page about converting package to dh_python2:

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