DH_INSTALLDOCS(1) Debhelper DH_INSTALLDOCS(1)
dh_installdocs - install documentation into package build directories
dh_installdocs [debhelperoptions] [-A] [-Xitem] [file...]
dh_installdocs is a debhelper program that is responsible for
installing documentation into usr/share/doc/package in package build
In compat 10 and earlier, dh_install(1) may be a better tool for
handling the upstream documentation, when upstream's own build system
installs all the desired documentation correctly. In this case,
dh_installdocs is still useful for installing packaging related
documentation (e.g. the debian/copyright file).
From debhelper compatibility level 11 on, dh_install will fall back to
looking in debian/tmp for files, if it does not find them in the
current directory (or wherever you've told it to look using
In compat 11 and later, dh_installdocs offers many of the features that
dh_install(1) also have. Furthermore, dh_installdocs also supports the
nodoc build profile to exclude documentation (regardless of compat
List documentation files to be installed into package.
The copyright file is installed into all packages, unless a more
specific copyright file is available.
Each of these files is automatically installed if present for a
These files are installed into the first binary package listed in
Note that README.debian files are also installed as README.Debian,
and TODO files will be installed as TODO.Debian in non-native
Installed as doc-base control files. Note that the doc-id will be
determined from the Document: entry in the doc-base control file in
question. In the event that multiple doc-base files in a single
source package share the same doc-id, they will be installed to
usr/share/doc-base/package instead of usr/share/doc-base/doc-id.
If your package needs to register more than one document, you need
multiple doc-base files, and can name them like this. In the event
that multiple doc-base files of this style in a single source
package share the same doc-id, they will be installed to
usr/share/doc-base/package-* instead of usr/share/doc-base/doc-id.
Install all files specified by command line parameters in ALL
packages acted on.
Exclude files that contain item anywhere in their filename from
being installed. Note that this includes doc-base files.
Look in the specified directory for files to be installed. This
option requires compat 11 or later (it is silently ignored in
compat 10 or earlier).
Note that this is not the same as the --sourcedirectory option used
by the dh_auto_* commands. You rarely need to use this option,
since dh_installman automatically looks for files in debian/tmp in
debhelper compatibility level 11 and above.
Set the main package for a documentation package. This is used to
install the documentation of the documentation package in
/usr/share/doc/main-package as recommended by the Debian policy
manual 3.9.7 in S12.3.
In compat 11 (or later), this option is only useful if debhelper's
auto-detection of the main package is wrong. The option can also
be used to silence a warning from debhelper when the auto-detection
fails but the default happens to be correct.
This option cannot be used when dh_installdocs is instructed to act
on multiple packages. If you need this option, you will generally
need to combine it with -p to ensure exactly one package is acted
Please keep in mind that some documentation (the copyright file,
README.Debian, etc.) will be unaffected by this option.
Make the documentation directory of all packages acted on be a
symlink to the documentation directory of package. This has no
effect when acting on package itself, or if the documentation
directory to be created already exists when dh_installdocs is run.
To comply with policy, package must be a binary package that comes
from the same source package.
debhelper will try to avoid installing files into linked
documentation directories that would cause conflicts with the
linked package. The -A option will have no effect on packages with
linked documentation directories, and copyright, changelog,
README.Debian, and TODO files will not be installed.
(An older method to accomplish the same thing, which is still
supported, is to make the documentation directory of a package be a
dangling symlink, before calling dh_installdocs.)
Please note that this option only applies to the documentation
directory for the package itself. When the package ships
documentation for another package (e.g. see --doc-main-package), it
will not use a symlink for the documentation of the other package.
CAVEAT 1: If a previous version of the package was built without
this option and is now built with it (or vice-versa), it requires a
"dir to symlink" (or "symlink to dir") migration. Since debhelper
has no knowledge of previous versions, you have to enable this
This can be done by providing a "debian/package.maintscript" file
and using dh_installdeb(1) to provide the relevant maintainer
CAVEAT 2: The use of --link-doc should only be done when the
packages have same "architecture" type. A link from an
architecture independent package to an architecture dependent
package (or vice versa) will not work. Since compat 10, debhelper
will actively reject unsupported combinations.
Install these files as documentation into the first package acted
on. (Or in all packages if -A is specified).
This is an example of a debian/package.docs file:
Note that dh_installdocs will happily copy entire directory hierarchies
if you ask it to (similar to cp -a). If it is asked to install a
directory, it will install the complete contents of the directory.
This program is a part of debhelper.
Joey Hess <email@example.com>
11.3.5 2018-06-30 DH_INSTALLDOCS(1)