Table of Contents

1. piuparts README
2. Introduction
3. How to use piuparts in 5 minutes
3.1. Basic Usage
3.2. Some tips
3.3. Piuparts tests
3.4. Testing packages in the config-files-remaining state
3.5. Analyzing piuparts results
4. Custom scripts with piuparts
4.1. Example custom scripts:
5. Distributed testing

1. piuparts README

Author: Lars Wirzenius Email: <>

After reading this README you probably also want to have a look at the piuparts manpage, to learn about the available options. But read this document first!

2. Introduction

piuparts is a tool for testing that .deb packages can be installed, upgraded, and removed without problems. The name, a variant of something suggested by Tollef Fog Heen, is short for "package installation, upgrading, and removal testing suite".

piuparts is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2, or (at your option) any later version. has been testing the Debian archive since the Lenny release in 2009, though responsible maintainers run piuparts locally before uploading packages to the archive.

3. How to use piuparts in 5 minutes

3.1. Basic Usage

Testing your packages with piuparts is as easy as typing at the console prompt:

# piuparts sm_0.6-1_i386.deb

Note that in order to work, piuparts has to be executed as user root, so you need to be logged as root or use sudo.

This will create a sid chroot with debootstrap, where it’ll test your package.

If you want to test your package in another release, for example, testing, you can do so with:

# piuparts ./sm_0.6-1_i386.deb -d testing

By default, this will read the first mirror from your /etc/apt/sources.list file. If you want to specify a different mirror you can do it with the option -m:

# piuparts ./sm_0.6-1_i386.deb -m

It’s possible to use -d more than once. For example, to do a first installation in stable, then upgrade to testing, then upgrade to unstable and then upgrade to the local package use this:

# piuparts -d stable -d testing -d unstable ./sm_0.6-1_i386.deb

3.2. Some tips

piuparts also has a manpage, where all available options are explained.

If you use piuparts on a regular basis, waiting for it to create a chroot every time takes too much time, even if you are using a local mirror or a caching tool such as approx.

Piuparts has the option of using a tarball as the contents of the initial chroot, instead of building a new one with debootstrap. A easy way to use this option is use a tarball created with pbuilder. If you are not a pbuilder user, you can create this tarball with the command (again, as root):

# pbuilder --create

then you only have to remember to update this tarball with:

# pbuilder --update

To run piuparts using this tarball:

# piuparts -p ./sm_0.6-1_i386.deb

If you want to use your own pre-made tarball:

# piuparts --basetgz=/path/to/my/tarball.tgz ./sm_0.6-1_i386.deb

Piuparts also has the option of using a tarball as the contents of the initial chroot, instead of building a new one with pbuilder. You can save a tarball for later use with the -s (--save) piuparts option. Some people like this, others prefer to only have to maintain one tarball. Read the piuparts manpage about the -p, -b and -s options

While pbuilder itself supports using cdebootstrap, this is not fully supported by piuparts: You will need to use debootstrap or use the --warn-on-debsums-errors option for piuparts and then you will still see spurious warnings in the log.

3.3. Piuparts tests

By default, piuparts does two tests:

  1. Installation and purging test.
  2. Installation, upgrade and purging tests.

The first test installs the package in a minimal chroot, removes it and purges it. The second test installs the current version in the archive of the given packages, then upgrades to the new version (deb files given to piuparts in the input), removes and purges.

If you only want to perfom the first test, you can use the option: --no-upgrade-test

3.4. Testing packages in the config-files-remaining state

The --install-remove-install option modifies the three piuparts tests in order to test package installation while config files from a previous installation are remaining, but the package itself was removed inbetween. This exercises different code paths in the maintainer scripts.

  1. Installation and purging test: install, remove, install again and purge.
  2. Installation, upgrade and purging test: install the old version, remove, install the new version and purge.
  3. Distupgrade test: install the version from the first distribution, remove, distupgrade to the last distribution, install the new version.

3.5. Analyzing piuparts results

When piuparts finishes all the tests satisfactorily, you will get these lines as final output:

0m39.5s INFO: PASS: All tests.
0m39.5s INFO: piuparts run ends.

Anyway, it is a good idea to read the whole log in order to discover possible problems that did not stop the piuparts execution.

If you do not get those lines, piuparts has failed during a test. The latest lines should give you a pointer to the problem with your package.

4. Custom scripts with piuparts

You can specify several custom scripts to be run inside piuparts. You have to store them in a directory and give it as argument to piuparts: --scriptsdir=/dir/with/the/scripts This option can be given multiple times. The scripts from all directories will be merged together (and later ones may overwrite earlier scripts with the same filename).

By default this is not set to anything. Have a look at /etc/piuparts/scripts* to learn which scripts and script directories are shipped by the package.

The script prefix determines in which step it is executed. You can run several scripts in every step, they are run in alphabetical order.

The scripts need to be executable and are run inside the piuparts chroot and can only be shell scripts. If you want to run Python or Perl scripts, you have to install Python or Perl. The chroot where piuparts is run is minimized and does not include Perl.

The variable PIUPARTS_OBJECTS is set to the packages currently being tested (seperated by spaces, if applicable) or the .changes file(s) being used. So when running in master-slave mode, it will be set to the (one) package being tested at a time.

Depending on the current test, the variable PIUPARTS_TEST is set to

  1. install (installation and purging test),
  2. upgrade (installation, upgrade and purging tests) or
  3. distupgrade.

During the upgrade and distupgrade tests, the variable PIUPARTS_PHASE is set to one of the following values:

  1. install while initially installing the packages from the repository,
  2. upgrade when upgrading to the .debs,
  3. distupgrade while reinstalling the packages after apt-get dist-upgrade to ensure they were not removed accidently During the install test, the PIUPARTS_PHASE variable is set to install.

The current distribution is available in the variable PIUPARTS_DISTRIBUTION.

The following prefixes for scripts are recognized:

post_chroot_unpack - after the chroot has been unpacked/debootrapped. Before the chroot gets updated/dist-upgraded initially.

post_setup_ - after the setup of the chroot is finished. Before metadata of the chroot is recorded for later comparison.

pre_test_ - at the beginning of each test. After metadata of the chroot was recorded for later comparison.

is_testable_ - before installing your package. If this script returns a non-zero return value, the installation of the package will be skipped. With a return value of 1 the test will be reported as successful, but with a return value if 2 it will be reported as failed. Use this to flag packages that cannot be be tested with piuparts by design (e.g. usrmerge), require not publicly available external ressources (e.g. some downloader packages) or are broken beyond repair (e.g. buggy packages in archived releases). Use the return value of 2 for seriously broken packages that can break piuparts.

pre_install_ - before installing your package. Depending on the test, this may be run multiple times. The PIUPARTS_TEST and PIUPARTS_PHASE variables can be used to distinguish the cases.

post_install_ - after installing your package and its dependencies. Depending on the test, this may be run multiple times. The PIUPARTS_TEST and PIUPARTS_PHASE variables can be used to distinguish the cases.

pre_remove_ - before removing your package. Depending on the test, this may be run multiple times.

post_remove_ - after removing your package. Depending on the test, this may be run multiple times.

post_purge_ - after purging your package. Depending on the test, this may be run multiple times.

post_test_ - at the end of each test. Right before performing final checks and comparing the chroot with the reference chroot metadata.

pre_distupgrade_ - before upgrading the chroot to the next distribution. The next distribution is available in the variable PIUPARTS_DISTRIBUTION_NEXT.

post_distupgrade_ - after upgrading the chroot to the next distribution. The previous distribution is available in the variable PIUPARTS_DISTRIBUTION_PREV.

4.1. Example custom scripts:

$ cat post_install_numbers


number=`dpkg -l | wc -l`
echo "There are $number packages installed."
exit 0

$ cat post_setup_package


echo "$PIUPARTS_OBJECTS will now get tested."
exit 0

5. Distributed testing

This is described in README_server.txt.