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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams

Build Architecture Optimised Packages

The apt-build package, a front-end to apt-get, provides a general solution to build Debian packages tuned (or optimised) for your architecture.

  $ wajig install apt-build

You will be asked for some options, and these go into /etc/apt/apt-build.conf:

  build-dir = /var/cache/apt-build/build
  repository-dir = /var/cache/apt-build/repository
  Olevel = -O2
  march = -march=pentium4
  mcpu = -mcpu=pentium4
  options = " "

The built packages will be placed into /var/cache/apt-build/repository, an can be accessed with the standard Debian package tools by adding the following line to the top of /etc/apt/sources.list (which can be done during the installation of apt-build:

  deb file:/var/cache/apt-build/repository apt-build main

You will need deb-src entries in your /etc/apt/sources.list file to be able to obtain the source packages (see Section 6.7.1).

Being a front-end to apt-get, your first apt-build command might be to update the list of known available packages (particularly if you have just added a deb-src entry to /etc/apt/sources.list), although the following is equivalent:

  $ wajig update

You can then start building packages:

  $ sudo apt-build install most

You can manage a collection of packages to be recompiled and installed instead of obtaining the default compiled versions. Create the file /etc/apt/apt-build.list to contain a list of such packages and then:

  $ sudo apt-build world

One way to get a full list of installed packages is:

  # dpkg --get-selections | awk '{if ($2 == "install") print $1}' \
    > /etc/apt/apt-build.list

Be sure to edit the list to remove, for example, gcc! Then a:

  $ sudo apt-build world

will recompile and optimise all packages.

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