Debian Packaging for Open vSwitch

This document describes how to build Debian packages for Open vSwitch. To install Open vSwitch on Debian without building Debian packages, refer to Open vSwitch on Linux, FreeBSD and NetBSD instead.


These instructions should also work on Ubuntu and other Debian derivative distributions.

Before You Begin

Before you begin, consider whether you really need to build packages yourself. Debian “wheezy” and “sid”, as well as recent versions of Ubuntu, contain pre-built Debian packages for Open vSwitch. It is easier to install these than to build your own. To use packages from your distribution, skip ahead to “Installing .deb Packages”, below.

Building Open vSwitch Debian packages

You may build from an Open vSwitch distribution tarball or from an Open vSwitch Git tree with these instructions.

You do not need to be the superuser to build the Debian packages.

  1. Install the “build-essential” and “fakeroot” packages. For example:

    $ apt-get install build-essential fakeroot
  2. Obtain and unpack an Open vSwitch source distribution and cd into its top level directory.

  3. Install the build dependencies listed under “Build-Depends:” near the top of debian/ You can install these any way you like, e.g. with apt-get install.

  4. Prepare the package source.

    If you want to build the package with DPDK support execute the following command:

    $ ./ && ./configure --with-dpdk=shared && make debian

    If not:

    $ ./ && ./configure && make debian

Check your work by running dpkg-checkbuilddeps in the top level of your OVS directory. If you’ve installed all the dependencies properly, dpkg-checkbuilddeps will exit without printing anything. If you forgot to install some dependencies, it will tell you which ones.

  1. Build the package:

    $ make debian-deb
  1. The generated .deb files will be in the parent directory of the Open vSwitch source distribution.

Installing .deb Packages

These instructions apply to installing from Debian packages that you built yourself, as described in the previous section. In this case, use a command such as dpkg -i to install the .deb files that you build. You will have to manually install any missing dependencies.

You can also use these instruction to install from packages provided by Debian or a Debian derivative distribution such as Ubuntu. In this case, use a program such as apt-get or aptitude to download and install the provided packages. These programs will also automatically download and install any missing dependencies.


You must be superuser to install Debian packages.

  1. Start by installing an Open vSwitch kernel module. See debian/openvswitch-switch.README.Debian for the available options.

  2. Install the openvswitch-switch and openvswitch-common packages. These packages include the core userspace components of the switch.

Open vSwitch .deb packages not mentioned above are rarely useful. Refer to their individual package descriptions to find out whether any of them are useful to you.

Reporting Bugs

Report problems to