Apt Repositories: Goodbye Aptly, Welcome RepRepro

I have been using aptly for several years publishing all kinds of repositories for different developments. The other day, when I wanted to update my calibre repository (see previous post) I realized that aptly cannot sign anything anymore. Huuu…

Searching for similar problems gives a long list of hit and two issues at github, one from 2015 and one from 10/2017: 296 and 657. What is frustrating that whatever written is there, I cannot use it: Debian has version 1.3, some branches with fixes cannot be built because go bails out with errors.

It was quite surprising for me that such a tool that somehow sounds close to Debian development has neglected the default GnuPG version for that long time.

Anyway, I have removed all the aptly stuff from my computer and have switched to reprepro. It is not that comfortable, but ok, since I don’t need the incoming etc stuff I could easily create a config file, add all the files I needed, and had a properly laid out repository ready.

The config file CWD/conf/distributions

Origin: <whatever>
Label: apt repository
Codename: unstable
Architectures: amd64 source
Components: main
Description: <whatever>
SignWith: yes
Pull: unstable

After that I did run from CWD

$ reprepro --ask-passphrase -Vb . include unstable <path-to-package.changes>

and moved the stuff to my web server, and there we are, I am back at providing my own repos.

Disadvantages of reprepro I have seen by now (and not checked how to fix): I often used the “distribution” field to distinguish different areas of updates (calibre, openpht, …) instead of actual Debian distributions, since all of the packages I did build were for unstable. This seems a bit complicated with reprepro because it checks the changes distribution field and bails out. Also merging of multiple “distributions” afterwards seems to be difficult. But this is all probably due to the fact that I invested about 0 time to study the tool – I wanted a repo and didn’t want to read all the stuff 😉

Hope that helps some other souls lost in aptly’s cryptic error messages about being unable to find my key.

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