Getting started with debusine

In this tutorial you will discover two of debusine’s building blocks: work requests and artifacts. The former lets you schedule the execution of different kind of tasks on remote workers, while the latter is a simple way to represent a set of files managed by debusine.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use debusine’s command line interface to:

  • create a build chroot

  • upload a source package

  • build binary packages out of the uploaded source package and in the build chroot that got created


You need to have access to a working debusine instance:

  • If you are a Debian developer, you can use You can login there with your account, and it will automatically create your debusine account.

  • Otherwise, please follow the instructions from Install your first debusine instance. Once completed, the debusine instance will be available under the debusine.internal hostname and this is the name that we will continue to use here.

Install the client and configure it

You should first install the debusine-client package (if needed configure APT with one of the supported package repositories):

$ sudo apt install debusine-client

Now it’s time to create yourself a token that the client will use to connect to the server. For this open your web browser and visit the URL of your debusine instance (i.e. http://debusine.internal or Then login with your user credentials (or with the authentication) and open the user menu (in the top right corner, or behind the “hamburger” menu) and click on the Tokens page.

Click the link create a new token and input a comment describing the token’s intended usage (for example “On my laptop”) and click the Create button. You will receive the token, which you should copy before exiting the page as the token will only be shown once.

Finally, we can create debusine-client’s configuration file. It indicates the server URL and the token to use (please adjust the DEBUSINE_URL to match your specific case and paste the value of the token in the TOKEN variable):

$ DEBUSINE_URL="http://debusine.internal" # or DEBUSINE_URL=""
$ TOKEN="1e81fb5f00a489344ddfe4e34588c84d202a97ca87cc136d15d17cb3d1eb4e82"
$ mkdir -p ~/.config/debusine/client
$ cat >~/.config/debusine/client/config.ini <<END
default-server = $DEBUSINE_FQDN

api-url = $DEBUSINE_URL/api
token = $TOKEN

More information about the debusine command line interface is available in The debusine command.

Submit a work request to create a build chroot

Submitting a work request is asking the debusine server to schedule some specific task on one of its available workers. Debusine can execute many different tasks.

In order to generate a build chroot, you can rely on the mmdebstrap task. Each task requires a certain numbers of key-value parameters that are fed to debusine create-work-request TASKNAME as YAML data on the standard input. Try this:

$ debusine create-work-request mmdebstrap << END
  architecture: amd64
  variant: buildd
  - mirror:
    suite: bookworm
    - main
    - contrib
    - non-free
    - non-free-firmware

It does output some YAML structured information:

result: success
message: Work request registered on http://debusine.internal/api with id 314.
work_request_id: 314

At this point, the task has not been executed yet but it has been accepted and will be processed as soon as a worker becomes available. You can follow the status of the work request through the web interface (click on Work requests in the top menu) or with debusine show-work-request WORK_REQUEST_ID.

$ debusine show-work-request 314
id: 314
created_at: 2024-01-24 17:02:31.855184+00:00
started_at: 2024-01-24 17:02:31.937001+00:00
completed_at: null
duration: null
status: running
result: ''
worker: 1
task_name: mmdebstrap
artifacts: []
workspace: System

In the above example, the task is currently running. Note that if the status is pending it indicates that no debusine-worker is currently available to run the task. Check that the debusine-worker is connected, has been approved and has mmdebstrap installed.

Once it has completed (as indicated by status: completed), you will see different values: the result field will be either success, failure (task ran but returned a failure) or error (something unexpected happened), and more information will be available in the artifacts key in particular:

$ debusine show-work-request 314
id: 314
created_at: 2024-01-24 17:02:31.855184+00:00
started_at: 2024-01-24 17:02:31.937001+00:00
completed_at: 2024-01-24 17:05:48.457239+00:00
duration: 196
status: completed
result: success
- id: 534
  workspace: System
  category: debian:system-tarball
- id: 535
  workspace: System
  category: debusine:work-request-debug-logs

The two artifacts listed correspond to two set of files generated by the task and each task will typically generate the same kind of files as output. In the case of the mmdebstrap task, you will get:

  • a debian:system-tarball artifact: it contains a compressed tarball with the chroot.

  • a debusine:work-request-debug-logs artifact: it contains various files generated by debusine to help troubleshoot issues with the task. Here it contains the input that debusine submitted to mmdebstrap, the precise command-line, and the output of the command.

The generated artifacts can be browsed and downloaded from the web interface. But they can also be downloaded from the command line with the debusine client:

$ debusine download-artifact 534
Downloading artifact and uncompressing into /home/debian

Artifacts are thus created by debusine tasks, but they can also be provided as input to some debusine tasks. Later in this tutorial we will refer to this artifact 534 to schedule a package build in the build chroot that it contains.

Create an artifact by uploading a source package

The low level debusine create-artifact command can be used to create any arbitrary artifact but when it comes to Debian source packages (.dsc) or Debian uploads (.changes), debusine offers a more convenient interface with debusine import-debian-artifact [FILE|URL]. You can refer to a local file or to a remote URL.

For instance, you can create and upload an artifact for the “hello” source package with:

$ debusine import-debian-artifact
message: New artifact created in http://debusine.internal/api in workspace System with id 536.
artifact_id: 536

Submit a work request to build binary packages

Among the available tasks, the sbuild one can build binary packages out of a source package (provided through the parameter source_artifact_id below the input key) and a build chroot (provided through the parameter environment_id).

Let’s generate the YAML file with the work request specification by taking care to refer to the IDs of the artifacts that we created in the former steps (536 for the source package, 534 for the build chroot):

$ cat > work-request-hello.debusine << END
- any
- all
host_architecture: amd64
  source_artifact_id: 536
environment_id: 534

Then submit the job:

$ debusine create-work-request sbuild < work-request-hello.debusine

Again you can follow the status of the work request on the web interface or with the command line, and once completed you will be able to download the binary packages that have been built.

The sbuild tasks generates debian:upload, debian:binary-packages and debian:package-build-log artifacts.

On top of the contained files, the artifact category also defines the structure of the metadata that is associated to the artifact. You can inspect those metadata and the file listing on the web interface or on the command line with debusine show-artifact ARTIFACT_ID (here 539 is the artifact ID of the debian:upload artifact created by the task):

$ debusine show-artifact 539
id: 539
workspace: System
category: debian:upload
created_at: '2024-01-24T21:07:04.975882+00:00'
  type: dpkg
    Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2022 16:30:00 +0100
download_tar_gz_url: http://debusine.internal/artifact/539/?archive=tar.gz
files_to_upload: []
expire_at: null
    size: 5511
      sha256: 422aef340c827d2ed2b38c353f660b70e754509bc0ddb0952975090d9f25caaa
    type: file
    url: http://debusine.internal/artifact/539/hello_2.10-3_amd64.buildinfo
    size: 1889
      sha256: d5d694b42b94587d38a5f883fe1fc5d44368ffe974ac3d506d55bcbef0ab0767
    type: file
    url: http://debusine.internal/artifact/539/hello_2.10-3_amd64.changes
    size: 53084
      sha256: 069754b87d7a546253554813252dacbd7a53e959845cc9f6e8f4c1c8fe3746c5
    type: file
    url: http://debusine.internal/artifact/539/hello_2.10-3_amd64.deb
    size: 35096
      sha256: 1550fcd93105a3cf8fddfc776fda0fbebb51dd7c2d2286eeabc43cb37896ad1e
    type: file
    url: http://debusine.internal/artifact/539/hello-dbgsym_2.10-3_amd64.deb