dh_compress - Linux


dh_compress is a versatile command specifically designed for Debian package management. It performs file compression tasks for Debian binary packages (.deb files), optimizing them for distribution and installation. This command plays a vital role in the Debian packaging workflow.


dh_compress [options] [package-name]


  • -a, –all: Compress all files that can be compressed.
  • -d, –debug: Print debug information while compressing.
  • -D, –decompress: Decompress the files.
  • -h, –help: Display help information.
  • -p, –pack: Pack the Debian binary package.
  • -P, –unpack: Unpack the Debian binary package.
  • -t, –test: Test compression.


Basic Usage:


This will compress all files that can be compressed in the current Debian source directory.

Compress specific file:

dh_compress -a some-file.txt

This will compress the specified file.

Decompress a package:

dh_compress -D package-name.deb

This will decompress the specified Debian package.

Common Issues

  • Permissions: Ensure you have write permissions to the files being compressed.
  • Unsupported formats: Not all file formats can be compressed using dh_compress.
  • Corrupted package: If the compression process is interrupted, the package may become corrupted.


Integration with dpkg: dh_compress interacts with the dpkg package management system. It can be used to optimize the size of Debian packages before installing or distributing them.

Advanced Usage: By combining dh_compress with other commands like gzip and bzip2, you can apply custom compression techniques to Debian packages.

Related Commands

  • dpkg: Debian package management tool
  • gzip: File compression utility
  • bzip2: File compression utility

For more information, refer to the official Debian documentation: https://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debmake-reference/ch-dh.en.html#dh_compress