Managing repositories of your packages

Goal: create repository with your own software as .deb packages, publish it to Amazon S3, handle updates.

In this tutorial I would describe how do I manage aptly releases in repository using aptly itself.

Adding packages and creating snapshots

First, I create local repository that would hold all released versions of aptly:

$ aptly repo create -distribution=squeeze -component=main aptly-release

Local repo [aptly-release] successfully added.
You can run 'aptly repo add aptly-release ...' to add packages to repository.

While creating repository I’ve specified distribution and component names, that would be used when I publish packages from this repository.

As new versions of aptly are released, I add new .deb packages by simply pointing aptly to the directory with files:

$ aptly repo add aptly-release debs
Loading packages...
[+] aptly_0.8_amd64 added
[+] aptly_0.8_i386 added

The repository holds all versions of aptly released so far:

$ aptly repo show -with-packages aptly-release
Name: aptly-release
Default Distribution: squeeze
Default Component: main
Number of packages: 14

After each major release, I create snapshot of local repository, so that I can “get back in time” to old state of repository:

$ aptly snapshot create aptly-0.8 from repo aptly-release

Snapshot aptly-0.8 successfully created.
You can run 'aptly publish snapshot aptly-0.8' to publish snapshot as Debian repository.

$ aptly snapshot list
List of snapshots:
 * [aptly-0.4.1]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]
 * [aptly-0.5]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]
 * [aptly-0.5.1]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]
 * [aptly-0.6]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]
 * [aptly-0.7]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]
 * [aptly-0.7.1]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]
 * [aptly-0.8]: Snapshot from local repo [aptly-release]

To get more information about snapshot, run `aptly snapshot show `.

Publishing to Amazon S3

I’ve chosen to Amazon S3 to host aptly package repository, as it is the easiest way to get reliable HTTP hosting for static files.

First, I’ve created S3 bucket (name should match future domain name) using Amazon console, and enabled website hosting. To the root of the bucket I’ve uploaded manually file index.html with some introductory notes.

Next, for security reasons it’s best to create separate user via Amazon IAM console that would do uploads from aptly to S3. Save security credentials for the user into handy bash script


And source this script in before performing any S3 operations from aptly:

$ .

For the user created, apply custom security policy:

  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Sid": "Stmt1405592139000",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": [
        "*", ""

You would need to change to the name of your S3 bucket. This policy allows limited number of operations only on one bucket, which should be pretty safe.

Final piece: setup your DNS name to point to S3, more information in Amazon S3 docs.

So the only thing left is to setup aptly to use that S3 bucket for publishing. I edit ~/.aptly.conf:


In S3PublishEndpoints section I add new entry with bucket name, region (you choose region when creating the bucket) and public-read acl. By default aptly publishes files with private acl which doesn’t work for me, as I’m creating public repo.

So now I can publish to S3 with aptly. I’m publishing latest snapshot, aptly-0.8. I could have published repository aptly-release directly, but doing via snapshot gives more flexibility: I can rollback to previous snapshot if things go wrong for any reason.

$ aptly publish snapshot aptly-0.8

aptly would upload package files to my S3 bucket, generate index files, do signing and so on. In the end holds complete Debian repository structure, and I can use it in apt sources:

deb squeeze main

When next of aptly would be released, I would add new package to aptly-release local repo, create snapshot aptly-0.9 and switch S3 published repository to new version with following command:

$ aptly publish switch squeeze aptly-0.9

Published repositories are referenced by distribution name (squeeze in our case, taken from local repo defaults) and prefix which includes storage engine (