Your message dated Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:15:00 +0000
with message-id <>
and subject line Re: [debhelper-devel] Bug#797742: debhelper: dh_fixperms and 
dh_md5sums might run into "/usr/bin/xargs: ... Argument list too long"
has caused the Debian Bug report #797742,
regarding debhelper: dh_fixperms and dh_md5sums might run into "/usr/bin/xargs: 
... Argument list too long"
to be marked as done.

This means that you claim that the problem has been dealt with.
If this is not the case it is now your responsibility to reopen the
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--- Begin Message ---
Package: debhelper
Version: 9.20150101
Severity: normal

I'm building packages using cowbuilder/pbuilder. Recently I also do this for
armhf using qemu. There it happens, that I run into problems with dh_fixperms
and dh_md5sums for packages with lots of files.
e.g. one package contains about 1459 files, wich makes an argument list of
about 140kB. `xargs --show-limits` reports:

Your environment variables take up 6150 bytes
POSIX upper limit on argument length (this system): 2088954
POSIX smallest allowable upper limit on argument length (all systems): 4096
Maximum length of command we could actually use: 2082804
Size of command buffer we are actually using: 131072

....and dh_md5sums causes a "/usr/bin/xargs: md5sum: Argument list too long"

To be honest, I couldn't figure out, why this only happens for my armhf builds
and not for i386 and amd64. `xargs --show-limits` reports always the same

But I think at least the xarg-calls for md5sum and chown should be replaced
with something safer like "xargs -r0 -L10 md5sum" to avoid trouble with
packages containing a lot of files.

-- System Information:
Debian Release: 8.0
  APT prefers stable-updates
  APT policy: (500, 'stable-updates'), (500, 'stable')
Architecture: amd64 (x86_64)
Foreign Architectures: i386

Kernel: Linux 3.16.0-4-amd64 (SMP w/8 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=de_DE.utf8, LC_CTYPE=de_DE.utf8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash
Init: systemd (via /run/systemd/system)

Versions of packages debhelper depends on:
ii  binutils      2.25-5
ii  dpkg          1.17.25
ii  dpkg-dev      1.17.25
ii  file          1:5.22+15-2
ii  libdpkg-perl  1.17.25
ii  man-db
ii  perl          5.20.2-3
ii  po-debconf    1.0.16+nmu3

debhelper recommends no packages.

Versions of packages debhelper suggests:
ii  dh-make  1.20140617

-- no debconf information

--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message ---
On Wed, 02 Sep 2015 14:10:54 +0200 Niels Thykier <> wrote:
> Control: tags -1 moreinfo
> On 2015-09-02 09:38, Tobias Grimm wrote:
> > [...]
> Hi Tobias,
> I am sorry to hear it does not work for you.
> To be honest, I am a bit concerned that xargs cannot figure this out on
> armhf.  AFAICT, this sounds like a bug in xargs rather than debhelper.
> I am not convinced this is a bug we can solve in debhelper unless we end
> up determining that xargs is unreliable and should not be used in
> debhelper.  Though in that case, dh_fixperms and dh_md5sums are not the
> only helpers that needs to be updated.
> ~Niels

I am closing this bug as it has been moreinfo'ed for over a year without
any follow up.


--- End Message ---

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