Installation and Dependencies

unburden-home-dir is a stand-alone Perl script which requires a few Perl modules as dependencies.

For now, running make install as root will install the Perl script and the configuration files to /etc/ and /usr/. You can prefix by setting DESTDIR as make flag, e.g. make install DESTDIR=~/local-installations.

A more streamlined installation system (either Autotools or something CPAN-compatible) is planned.

Getting Unburden-Home-Dir

Besides installing from source code, several Linux distributions ship unburden-home-dir as package:

Release Version Numbers

unburden-home-dir tries to adhere to Semantic Versioning, i.e. breaking.feature.fix, but uses two small modifications:

  • While there’s a leading zero in the version number, the meaning is 0.major.minor.micro (or beta.breaking.feature.fix).
  • Trailing zeroes are omitted.


  • 1 equals 1.0.0,
  • 1.1 equals 1.1.0,
  • 0.4 equals, and
  • 0.3.3 equals

Required Run-Time Dependencies


Availability in Debian

With one exception, all mentioned Perl Modules are available in Debian for quite some Stable releases now.

Only the package libstring-expand-perl is rather new and only available in Debian Testing at the time of writing. It likely will be available in Debian Stable with the release of Debian 9 Stretch. (Actually I packaged it for Debian to be able to use it in unburden-home-dir.)

From Elsewhere

  • rsync (actually a dependency of File::Rsync)

Optional Run-Time Dependencies

Build-Time and Test-Suite Dependencies

Besides all of the run-time dependencies mentioned above (including the optional ones), running the test suite (and hence the full build or packaging process) additionally needs:


For Generating the Documentation

  • mkdocs (Yes, Python): for generating the HTML documentation including the one at ReadTheDocs from Markdown files.

  • ronn (Yes, Ruby): for generating the man pages from Markdown files.

  • sponge from moreutils (Yes, C): only needed if you want the HTML documentation cleaned from all remote inclusions (fonts, JavaScript libraries, CSS libraries) as required by e.g. Debian. (In Debian, embedding remote items in packaged HTML documentation is considered a privacy breach.)

Availability in Debian

ronn and sponge are available in the packages ruby-ronn and moreutils for quite some Debian Stable releases now.

The package mkdocs is rather new and only available in Debian Testing at the time of writing. It likely will be available in Debian Stable with the release of Debian 9 Stretch.

Notes about generating documentation with Python and Ruby based tools

Despite I’m quite happy with the feature set of ronn, mkdocs and Read the Docs, I’d prefer to have pure Perl tools to generate the documentation so that I can upload unburden-home-dir to CPAN at some point without having too many external dependencies.

So if you know a suitable perl-written tool which can generate HTML including a table of contents from a set of Markdown files and/or a perl-written tool which can generate Unix manual pages from Markdown, I’d be happy if you would inform me.

Another option would be to use POD instead of Markdown as default documentation format. That would also work on Github (they can parse POD) and there are well-known converters from POD to roff and HTML and at least also one converter from POD to Markdown. The question is only if that can be combined with Read the Docs which seems to require the Markdown files being in the Git repository, not generated from it.

I’ve filed a wishlist request against Read the Docs to also support POD as input format, but it has been rejected.

Another way to generate the documentation is using the javascript-written Gitbook with Node.js. But that’s not even packaged for Debian yet.

  1. No, is not me. I’m just :-)