Debian Ada package removals

AdaControl, GNAT Studio, GtkAda, and many other Ada packages are slated for removal from Debian with the transition to GCC 12.

If you feel strongly about keeping these things available in an OS package manager rather than Alire, now’s the time to speak up.

I maintain Emacs ada-mode, which has some Ada code that users must compile. The biggest source of problems reported by users is incompaiblities among the AdaCore packages and compiler versions. Having only one distribution to deal with makes this much simpler, especially since the Alire ada-mode package can specify what versions of dependencies to use. I can provide the Alire package - i can’t provide packages for all of the other distributions.

I do feel strongly about keeping things (like AdaControl) available in an OS package manager, so I speak up. But more will be needed to make that a reality…

I do not feel strongly to keep these things available in the OS package manager. I’m ok with using “apt install gnat” and “apt install gprbuild”, and then also install vscodium ( together with the Ada extension for writing Ada code. I use a virtual machine with GNAT Community Edition 2019 for using AdaControl which is then already a very powerful version of AdaControl. I really love GNAT Studio but it may be hard to build from sources and thus hard to maintain for a package manager. What I think is important is that it should be super easy to get started with Ada development on a platform.

But the long term Adacore plan (A New Era For Ada/SPARK Open Source Community | The AdaCore Blog) is to remove gnat and gprbuild from debian, so “apt install” wont work. At least, thats how I read that post.

Thanks Stephen, I didn’t interpret it like that but I believe you are right. What’s important is that it should be easy to get started. Inspired by your message I installed alire and tried it out. Very easy to get started. Even removing gnat and gprbuild from debian packages is OK for me too.

I certainly didn’t read it like that. AdaCore have no real influence over what ends up in Debian; if Debian are removing their FSF GCC releases and tools that’s their decision alone.


I understand that maintaining that packages is a lot of work and getting use to Alire will help a lot. But I will miss the debian way of installation. Alire is missing a guide on what to install to have a nice platform to start with Ada/SPARK and I used AdaCore’s latest community package to get some hints what might be missing.

It may be coincidence but I had issues with the debian packages compared to Alire. Of course not all projects are meant for Alire yet. That aside. I do think that having an Alire binary in the repos might serve as an Ada advertisement when users are searching in a package manager.

Stephane Carrez created a Debian package for the Alire 1.2.1.

If this is integrated, it would be at least a consolation if other packages cannot make the transition.

For understanding what is causing many of the issues that have led to this situation, I think a read of the following is interesting.

The MIA organisation is specifically created for this purpose

The organization is however in dire need of - especially - CI/CD maintainers !

Any contributions are welcomed !

Good news, I’ve worked with Ludovic Brenta and took into account his remarks.
Ludovic has uploaded the Alire Debian package to bookworm/unstable.

See #1029448 - ITP: alire -- Package manager for Ada sources - Debian Bug report logs