I try to build a single package from source using dpkg-buildpackage. At some point dh_auto_install is invoked and run make install DESTDIR=/somewhere/debian/package-name

Then dh_install is invoked but only search in . or debian/tmp but not in debian/package-name !

And I get something like:

dh_install: Cannot find (any matches for) "usr/include/*" (tried in ., debian/tmp)

How to make both of them use in the same dir ?

(There is no issue if I try to build multiple packages) (compat 9)

  • Shall I use dh_auto_install --destdir=debian/tmp or dh_install --sourcedir=debian/package-name or tweak rules or add un extra empty package or else ?
    – Nelstaar
    Nov 13, 2019 at 11:44
  • for the record dh_auto_install --destdir=debian/tmp also work.
    – Nelstaar
    Nov 13, 2019 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


I’m guessing your source package builds a single binary package; i.e., your debian/control has a single Package: stanza. In such situations, dh_auto_install installs files to debian/package, and the assumption then is that that is sufficient, i.e. all the files you need to install end up in the right place under debian/package once dh_auto_install completes.

dh_install is useful mostly for source packages building multiple binary packages: it takes files under debian/tmp or . and copies them to the appropriate target under debian/packageX.

In your case, since you’re trying to install usr/include/*, I suspect you don’t need dh_install at all — you should find the files you want to install ready and waiting in debian/package/usr/include. However, if you’re installing files under usr/include, you might be packaging a library, in which case you should change your debian/control file to create multiple binary packages (one for the library, one for the development files), and then dh_auto_install will install to debian/tmp and dh_install will work as you expect.

See also Dpkg dh_install: copy files from the build directory rather than the debian/tmp dir?

  • Reason for single package is it's a header only library.
    – Nelstaar
    Nov 13, 2019 at 13:39
  • 1
    Ah right, that makes sense, so you might not need dh_install at all then. Nov 13, 2019 at 13:45
  • Thanks @StephenKitt that helped me fix my header only package quickly :) A simple override_dh_install: with a blank line in the rules file, does the trick.
    – orzechow
    Feb 24, 2021 at 18:54

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