Debian packages with Nuitka

The Problem in a few Words

Python from Debian packages is not generally suitable for use on any other OS, because they are changed such, that they work only on Debian. Instead create a virtualenv and use a virtualenv with PyPI packages or Anaconda instead. These are designed to be used on all Linux OSes.


Debian and distributions based on it, e.g. Ubuntu and Mint, are widespread and popular among Linux users, because it’s very easy to install, you get a maintained.

As part of the their goals, Debian wants to remove duplication between packages, have packages in standard places, and generally clean up things. As a result, data files are moved to /etc, used DLLs are in /usr/lib, and to make that possible, patches are applied during packaging to the source.


This is the change, that Debian does to certifi. The code is changed, such that a data file is found not near the Python code, like most Python packages do it, using importlib.resources but rather a hard coded path is used.

--- /opt/python3100/lib/python3.10/site-packages/certifi/
+++ /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/certifi/
@@ -8,6 +8,8 @@
import os

+DEBIAN_CA_CERTS_PATH = '/etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt'
    from importlib.resources import path as get_path, read_text

@@ -33,8 +35,7 @@
            # We also have to hold onto the actual context manager, because
            # it will do the cleanup whenever it gets garbage collected, so
            # we will also store that at the global level as well.
-            _CACERT_CTX = get_path("certifi", "cacert.pem")
-            _CACERT_PATH = str(_CACERT_CTX.__enter__())

        return _CACERT_PATH

@@ -51,10 +52,9 @@
    # If we don't have importlib.resources, then we will just do the old logic
    # of assuming we're on the filesystem and munge the path directly.
    def where():
-        f = os.path.dirname(__file__)
-        return os.path.join(f, "cacert.pem")
+        return DEBIAN_CA_CERTS_PATH

def contents():
-    return read_text("certifi", "cacert.pem", encoding="ascii")
+    with open(where(), "r", encoding="ascii") as data:
+        return


Using Debian for standalone to port things to other OSes, means, that some of the packages will not find the data files. Nuitka would have to undo the effect of all these patches, making the code portable again. That is of course not viable.


For being portable on Linux, generally it is recommended to use a portable Python distribution.

One way is to use packages from PyPI over system Debian packages, but still with the Debian python. Nuitka will generally work well with these, even if in some cases, the latest version may not yet be supported right after its release. This however leaves you with the problem, that newest Debian Python will not run on older Linux systems, so you need to also solve that by building on old Debian, in a chroot, docker container, pbuilder, etc.

The harder way is to use Anaconda over Debian Python. The advantage there is that similar to Debian, this has a set of supported packages, and even though they are usually a bit older, chances are that the version used there is also already well supported by Nuitka. And Anaconda will run on older Linux no problem, and therefore standalone distributions created with it will as well.