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OpenStack Core Packages - How to update, build, and contribute


Ubuntu maintains it own set of Bazaar branches and Git repositories for OpenStack core packages on Launchpad.

OpenStack releases prior to Liberty are maintained in Bazaar, Liberty onwards are maintained in Git.

This page discusses the Git workflow. The Bazaar work flow is discussed here.

Git Configuration

First, you'll want to setup git to simplify your work-flow. See 'Configuring Git' in the Launchpad git documentation.


The OpenStack packaging git repositories all make use of git-buildpackage and pristine-tar for managing upstream release tarballs.

For a general overview of git-buildpackage and pristine-tar, see the Debian documentation. This wiki page details the specifics of how we use these tools in Ubuntu.


The current development release packaging is maintained under the 'master' branch; released versions of OpenStack will mirror upstream branch management - i.e. stable/liberty.

Cloning a git repository

If you are running on the latests Ubuntu release, then the following should dtrt:

debcheckout --git-track='*' <projectname>

for example

debcheckout --git-track='*' nova

Using the git-track option ensures that all required branches are automatically setup - for example:

$ git branch
* master

The 'upstream' and 'pristine-tar' branches are used by git-buildpackage to manage the upstream release tarballs.

If you're not on the latest Ubuntu release then directly clone the repository and checkout the branches:

git clone lp:~ubuntu-server-dev/ubuntu/+source/nova
git checkout pristine-tar
git checkout upstream
git checkout master

Alternatively, if you haven't configured git to work with Launchpad (see 'Git Configuration' above), you can clone with:

git clone

Building a source package

For all packages except horizon, use the buildpackage subcommand of gbp:

gbp buildpackage -S

To build without signing the .changes/.dsc files:

gbp buildpackage -S -us -uc

The source package will be places in ../build-area.

For horizon, we bundle the xstatic code alongside the upstream release tarball, so horizon has 2 orig tarballs. This requires the use of debuild:

debuild -S -sa

To generate a new xstatic orig tarball (see horizon/debian/README.source):

./debian/rules refresh-xstatic

Building Debian packages

We generally use sbuild to build debian packages.

Steps for building an OpenStack Newton package for yakkety:

mk-sbuild yakkety
sbuild-update -udc yakkety-amd64
sbuild -A -d yakkety-amd64 <path-to-dsc-file>

For initial setup steps see:

Steps for building an OpenStack Newton package for xenial:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-cloud-archive/tools
sudo apt update
sudo apt install cloud-archive-utils
mk-sbuild xenial
sbuild-update -udc xenial-amd64
sbuild-newton -A -d xenial-amd64 <path-to-dsc-file>

Making a packaging change

Each independent change should be committed separately to the git repository, and each change should include a short description of the change in debian/changelog. To make your initial update to debian/changelog:

dch -i

After the initial update you can edit the changelog with your favorite editor.

Make your packaging changes as you normally would under the debian folder; then use 'git add' to add the changed files to the staging area; if you have added an appropriate changelog comment then:


will DTRT and annotate the git commit with the changelog entry details - you get a chance to edit this if you have provided anything other than a single line entry to the changelog.

Updating to a new release

First, grab the new upstream release:

uscan --verbose --rename  (and optionally: --download-version <version>)

this will drop the orig.tar.gz into the parent folder of the git repository. Then use git-buildpackage to import the archive:

gbp import-orig ../nova_12.0.0~b1.orig.tar.gz

This action will import the content into the upstream branch, create the required pristine-tar data and place it in the pristine-tar branch, and then merge the upstream branch into the master branch (or stable branch).

Maintainers - pushing updates to Launchpad

To push any local commits and tags to Launchpad:

git push --all
git push --tags

NOTE: you need to be a member of the ubuntu-server-dev team to be able todo this - this includes all Ubuntu Core Developers.

Contributors - pushing a personal repository to Launchpad

To push any local commits and tags to Launchpad:

git push --all lp:~<launchpad-id>/ubuntu/+source/nova
git push --tags lp:~<launchpad-id>/ubuntu/+source/nova

Contributors - proposing a change

There are a few ways to propose a package change:

1. Reference your git repo in the bug report:


2. Attach a debdiff to the bug report:

debdiff nova_current_version.dsc nova_new_version.dsc > nova_new_version.debdiff

3. Create a launchpad merge proposal:

Navigate to the URL of your pushed repository:<launchpad-id>/ubuntu/+source/nova/+git/nova

Propose each branch separately:

  • Click on the branch name and 'Propose for merging'
  • Select the target repository: lp:~ubuntu-server-dev/ubuntu/+source/nova
  • Select the target reference path: master, upstream, or pristine-tar