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Conveyor can generate distribution-independent tarballs and Debian packages that are also usable on Ubuntu.


# Change the menu categories, or any other key in the .desktop file.
app.linux.desktop-file."Desktop Entry".Categories = "GTK;Gnome;Game"

# Set the prefix. App files will be placed in /usr/local/lib/${app.long-fsname-dir}
# and a symlink to the launcher in /usr/local/bin
app.linux.prefix = /usr/local

# Set the location where app files will be placed, overriding the prefix.
app.linux.install-path = /opt/myapp

# Place files elsewhere in the filing system.
app.linux.root-inputs += extra.conf -> /etc/extra.conf

# Add an extra Debian dependency.
app.linux.debian.control.Depends = "postgresql (>= 12)"



The part of the directory hierarchy to install under. Defaults to /usr.


Anything other than /usr will break various kinds of integrations due to Linux desktop environments and system software not reliably supporting other prefixes. Some things will work and others won't if you change this.


A directory where the input files will be placed. Defaults to ${app.linux.prefix}/lib/${app.long-fs-dir} so (by default) the name is dependent on whether there's a vendor or not. If no vendor is specified it'll be something like /usr/lib/fooapp. Other defaults are all relative to this. The directory should be empty rather than a directory the user will already have.


An inputs list that allows files to be placed relative to / instead of the prefix or install path. Also available: app.linux.{amd64,aarch64}.{glibc,muslc}.root-inputs. When adding files to this list you should always set the destination location, otherwise you'll end up with files being added to the root directory. Example:

app {
    linux {
        root-inputs += packaging/firewall-rules.txt -> /etc/ufw/applications.d/${app.fsname}


Defaults to conf. Files in this subdirectory of the install directory will be marked as "conf files" in Debian packaging, meaning they'll be symlinked from /etc/$long-fsname-dir and on upgrades if the user has edited these files the package manager will offer to do a merge. This is convenient because it means you can change the config file over time and upgrades will treat the files as if they are in a simple form of version control. When the user hasn't edited the part of the file that's changing, the difference will be smoothly applied. Note that if packaging a JVM or Electron app you will need to override this key because the input files are relocated to a subdirectory of the overall install. For JVM apps use app.linux.conf-dir = lib/app/conf and place your config files in the conf sub-directory (e.g. app.inputs += something.txt -> conf/something.txt). For Electron apps use app.linux.conf-dir = resources/app/conf. You can of course name the relevant subdirectory whatever you want.

Config directories

The config directory is implemented by symlinking `/etc/${app.long-fsname-dir} to the conf directory in your app files. If this directory already exists when a package is installed it will be left alone. Therefore, if your users may have already created files in this directory, the conf-dir mechanism won't be useful as the files expected to be there won't be added. The way this feature works may change in future.

symlinks A list of strings, where each string consists of two parts separated by ->. The first part is the location of a symlink, the second part its destination. If the location isn't absolute it's relative to the install path. The second part is just copied to the symlink directly, so can be absolute or relative. By default the list looks like this:

symlinks = [
  ${app.linux.prefix}/bin/${app.fsname} -> ${app.linux.install-path}/bin/${app.fsname}

Later entries override earlier entries and if the target is blank the link won't be created at all, so you can edit this list by adding items to it. The default means that the launcher will be symlinked into bin.

Older compatibility levels

In configs with conveyor.compatibility-level < 7 there are some additional symlinks added to paths in /var. This was meant for servers and is of little practical use in most apps so it was removed from the defaults starting from compatibility level 7.


The path relative to the package contents which is treated as the primary entrypoint. This is used for the symlink placed in /usr/bin and the .desktop file. It defaults to bin/${app.fsname} but can be set to something else if your input layout doesn't follow this convention.


Keys and values copied into the control file. The defaults here are normally fine but you can add others if you want more precise control. See below for an example.


Maintainer/package scripts invoked by the package management system when the package is installed, upgraded or uninstalled. The default values should normally be left alone. They take care of registering and starting systemd services, desktop files for icons and other metadata, and so on. They also print out advice to system administrators using the command line when HTTP server config files are installed.

If you want to run extra code as root at install time, you can append a fragment of shell script to the postinst string.


hese keys control the content of the generated AppStream XML file. This controls how your app appears in the Software Center/app store apps that some Linux desktop environments and distributions use (e.g. the GNOME Software / Snap Store tools utilize this metadata). You don't normally need to alter this.

A list of SystemD service definitions (see below).

This is needed for package, repository and PGP metadata which all have some notion of a maintainer. Defaults to ${}.


See signing keys.

Desktop integration


An INI file object. The file-name subkey controls what the file is called (defaulting to ${app.long-fsname}.desktop). Then the "Desktop Entry" subkey defines the contents of that section with keys and values being mapped as appropriate.

You should only rarely need to configure the .desktop file directly. The main entry you may need to change is StartupWMClass which may need to be altered if you aren't seeing your icon get associated with your app in the taskbar. To find out what it should be you can use the lg command from GNOME Shell "Run Command" dialog (press alt-f2), or xprop WM_CLASS if not using Wayland, and then select the window of your running app.

You may also wish to set the app.linux.desktop-file."Desktop Entry".Categories key as on some desktop environments that key controls the menus where the app appears. Please refer to the registered categories list for what you can place there. Metadata that appears in the Software Center apps some desktop environments have is a combination of data from the .desktop entry file and an AppStream XML file, which will also be generated for you.

SystemD units

Conveyor provides pre-packaged snippets for common systemd use cases in the standard library.

SystemD is the standard service manager on Linux. It manages background services, the dependencies between them and also timers/cron jobs. It has many powerful features and you may wish to configure it specifically for your app.

SystemD is configured via INI files called units. Unit files are defined by creating an object in the hierarachy with any arbitrary key name (it's not used for anything). The structure of the config object maps directly to the structure of the underlying unit file. The file-name key controls what the unit file will be called. Other keys are objects for each section. Inside each section values can be strings or arrays of strings. Comments above a key are copied into the systemd file. The INI syntax systemd uses happens to be HOCON compatible so you can write systemd configs in the same style you'd find in the final file, but it's not mandatory.

Defining a timer / cron job

Here's how to define a timed job that runs weekly. A cron job requires two units - a service unit that defines how to run the program, and a timer unit that controls how often to run it. To learn more about this topic try reading the Arch Linux Wiki which has a good page on this, or the man pages. {
    # Define a timer unit that runs the cleanup service.
    timer {
        file-name = ${app.long-fsname}-maintenance.timer

        Unit {
            Description=Triggers routine maintenance for ${app.display-name}

        Timer {

        Installer {

    # Define a service unit that runs the app with a special maintenance flag.
    cleanup {
        file-name = ${app.long-fsname}-maintenance.service

        Unit {
            Description=Runs routine maintenance for ${app.display-name}

        Service {
            ExecStart=${app.linux.install-path}/bin/my-program --run-maintenance

Defining a server

The Conveyor standard library has config snippets for servers. The resulting package will have these features:

  • Automatically started when the package is installed, stopped and restarted across upgrades (so your app doesn't have to handle files changing out from underneath it), and restarted on reboot.

  • Lightly sandboxed by running it as a dynamically allocated UNIX user and group, meaning it won't have read/write access to anywhere except the standard directory locations for UNIX servers.

  • Directories under /var will be allocated for logs, cache and persistent data in the OS-appropriate places. You could hard-code these paths in your software but a better way is to examine the values of the environment variables STATE_DIRECTORY (for storing persistent data), CACHE_DIRECTORY (for transient data) and LOGS_DIRECTORY (for logs).

Exposing web servers

If the app.server.http.port key is set to a non-zero value then Linux packages will contain example virtual host configs for the popular nginx and Apache reverse HTTP proxies. They will be placed in /etc/{nginx,apache2}/sites-available/${app.long-fsname}.conf so the administrator can activate it by making a symlink or running a2ensite. The package will print instructions the first time it's installed (if installed from the command line).

Unfortunately due to limitations in both servers the configs cannot be completely automatically usable out of the box. The admin will need to edit them to set what the desired host name should be.

The config files themselves come from the app.server.http.{nginx,apache} keys. If you don't like the defaults you can replace them with your own. For Apache, the key app.server.http.apache-extras will be added to the end of the config but inside the VirtualHost block.


Set up a default command line argument in your systemd or JVM app settings blocks that substitutes the app.server.http.port key. That way if you want to change the default it can be all set in one place, and the server configs will automatically follow along.

Package dependencies

Conveyor generates Debian packages with dependency metadata by scanning any ELF binaries or shared libraries to find their library dependencies, and then scanning the Debian package index to find which packages contain those libraries.


A list of additional dependencies to add to the automatically determined set. If you wish to remove an automatically determined dependency, you can add an entry that starts with a -. You can also give a single comma separated string for convenience. Examples:

app.linux.debian.control {
  Depends: [ "postgresql (>= 12)", postgresql-client-common, -libavcodec12 ]

The syntax is the same as a regular Debian control file.


If your package contains shared libraries that have dependencies which can't be found in the target distribution, a warning will be generated during the build. You can add the names of the needed shared libraries here (e.g. [libfoo{,-extras}.so.2]) to silence these warnings.

Short name of the distro to target, defaults to focal for Focal Fossa, which was released in 2020 and is an LTS release supported until 2025. This controls how ELF library names are mapped to packages. You can make packages targeting other Debian-derived distributions by adjusting this and potentially the mirrors list.


List of mirrors of the distro, defaults to [""].

Most of the time you won't need to change these. They matter more for apps that rely heavily on libraries expected to come with the distribution.