pybuild - invokes various build systems for requested Python versions in order to build modules and extensions




build depend on dh-python,

build depend on python3-all, python-all-dbg, pypy, etc. (for all supported Python interpreters, pybuild will use it to create a list of interpreters to build for),

add --buildsystem=pybuild to dh's arguments in debian/rules,

if more than one binary package is build: add debian/python-foo.install files, or export PYBUILD_NAME=modulename (modulename will be used to guess binary package prefixes), or export PYBUILD_DESTDIR env. variables in debian/rules

debian/rules file example:

#! /usr/bin/make -f
export PYBUILD_NAME=foo
       dh $@ --with python2,python3 --buildsystem=pybuild


Most options can be set (in addition to command line) via environment variables. PyBuild will check:




optional arguments

-h, --help

show this help message and exit

-v, --verbose

turn verbose mode on

-q, --quiet

doesn't show external command's output

-qq, --really-quiet

be quiet


show program's version number and exit


The default is to build, install and test the library using detected build system version by version. Selecting one of following actions, will invoke given action for all versions - one by one - which (contrary to the default action) in some build systems can overwrite previous results.


return the name of detected build system


clean files using auto-detected build system specific methods


invoke configure step for all requested Python versions


invoke build step for all requested Python versions


invoke install step for all requested Python versions


invoke tests for auto-detected build system


list available build systems and exit


print pybuild's internal parameters


unittest's discover from standard library (available in Python 2.7 and >= 3.2) is used in test step by default.

use nose module in test step, remember to add python-nose and/or python3-nose to Build-Depends


use pytest module in test step, remember to add python-pytest and/or python3-pytest to Build-Depends


use tox command in test step, remember to add python-tox to Build-Depends. Requires tox.ini file


Tests are invoked from within build directory to make sure newly built files are tested instead of source files. If test suite requires other files in this directory, you can list them in debian/pybuild.testfiles file (you can also use debian/pybuild-pythonX.testfiles or debian/pybuild-pythonX.Y.testfiles) and files listed there will be copied before test step and removed before install step. By default only test and tests directories are copied to build directory.


Additional arguments passed to the build system. --system=custom requires complete command in --foo-args parameters.

--before-clean COMMAND

invoked before the clean command

--clean-args ARGUMENTS

arguments added to clean command generated by build system plugin

--after-clean COMMAND

invoked after the clean command

--before-configure COMMAND

invoked before the configure command

--configure-args ARGUMENTS

arguments added to configure command generated by build system plugin

--after-configure COMMAND

invoked after the configure command

--before-build COMMAND

invoked before the build command

--build-args ARGUMENTS

arguments added to build command generated by build system plugin

--after-build COMMAND

invoked after the build command

--before-install COMMAND

invoked before the install command

--install-args ARGUMENTS

arguments added to install command generated by build system plugin

--after-install COMMAND

invoked after the install command

--before-test COMMAND

invoked before the test command

--test-args ARGUMENTS

arguments added to test command generated by build system plugin

--after-test COMMAND

invoked after the test command

variables that can be used in ARGUMENTS and COMMAND

{version} will be replaced with current Python version, you can also use {version.major}, {version.minor}, etc.

{interpreter} will be replaced with current interpreter, you can also use {interpreter.include_dir}

{dir} will be replaced with sources directory,

{destdir} will be replaced with destination directory,

{home_dir} will be replaced with temporary HOME directory, where plugins can keep their data (.pybuild/interpreter_version/ by default),

{build_dir} will be replaced with build directory

{install_dir} will be replaced with install directory.

{package} will be replaced with suggested package name, if --name (or PYBUILD_NAME) is set to foo, this variable will be replaced to python-foo, python3-foo or pypy-foo depending on interpreter which is used in given iteration.


-d DIR, --dir DIR

set source files directory - base for other relative dirs [by default: current working directory]

--dest-dir DIR

set destination directory [default: debian/tmp]

--ext-dest-dir DIR

set destination directory for .so files

--ext-pattern PATTERN

regular expression for files that should be moved if --ext-dest-dir is set [default: .so(.[^/]*)?$]

--ext-sub-pattern PATTERN

regular expression for part of path/filename matched in --ext-pattern that should be removed or replaced with --ext-sub-repl

--ext-sub-repl PATTERN

replacement for matches in --ext-sub-pattern

--install-dir DIR

set installation directory [default: .../dist-packages]

--name NAME

use this name to guess destination directories (depending on interpreter, "foo" sets debian/python-foo, debian/python3-foo, debian/python3-foo-dbg, etc.)

variables that can be used in DIR

{version} will be replaced with current Python version,

{interpreter} will be replaced with selected interpreter.


-s SYSTEM, --system SYSTEM

select a build system [default: auto-detection]


build for Python VERSIONS. This option can be used multiple times. Versions can be separated by space character. The default is all Python 3.X supported versions.


change interpreter [default: python{version}]

--disable ITEMS

disable action, interpreter, version or any mix of them. Note that f.e. python3 and python3-dbg are two different interpreters, --disable test/python3 doesn't disable python3-dbg's tests.

disable examples

--disable test/python2.5-dbg - disables tests for python2.5-dbg

--disable '2.4 2.7' - disables all actions for version 2.4 and 2.7

PYBUILD_DISABLE_python2=1 - disables all actions for Python 2.X

PYBUILD_DISABLE_python3.3=test - disables tests for Python 3.3

PYBUILD_DISABLE=test/python3.3 - same as above

PYBUILD_DISABLE=configure/python3 2.4 pypy - disables configure action for all python3 interpreters, all actions for version 2.4, and all actions for pypy



dh_python3(1) - most recent version of this document


Piotr Ożarowski, 2012-2013