How to convert Debian software to RedHat on Linux

Since the DEB file format is particularly appreciated by developers, in this guide we will explain how to convert Debian programs into RedHat on Linux by following some very simple steps.


As mentioned in the last few lines, Debian files receive the utmost attention from the developers. This means in simple terms that Debian- based Linux operating systems usually get the news before anyone else.

Even RedHat- based Linux distributions enjoy similar attention from developers but cannot be compared to Debian. For this reason, it may be necessary to convert a software from Debian into RedHat. In this guide we will rely on the Alien packet converter.


Alien is a program written in the Perl programming language. This means that in order to run the software on your PC, you need to install some Perl packages. On various Linux distributions, Perl may already be installed.

To check this, just open the terminal and run the perl –help command. If you get a list containing all the information you need to know about the program, then it means it’s installed.

On the contrary, if nothing happens it means that Perl needs to be installed. Since in this guide we look at how to convert Debian packages to the format supported by RedHat, we will see how to install Perl on Fedora and OpenSUSE.

In the first case, simply open the terminal and type the command sudo dnf install perl-core. In the second, instead, connect to the website of (so as to access the page dedicated to the programming software) and press the Install button directly to proceed with the installation.

How to build Alien

The construction of this program is quite simple since it requires only steps. The first step to do is to find the source code of Alien from the official page of Sourceforge. So, open the default browser, connect to the download page and click on the Download button. Once the countdown is finished, the browser will ask you to download an alien_x.x.tar.xz file.

Once this is done, open the terminal and go to the download folder where the previously downloaded Alien source code is located using the cd ~ /downloads command. In the next step, extract the contents of the archive through tar xvfJ alien_x.x.tar.xz, making sure to replace the two xs with the current version of the file (eg alien_8.95.tar.xz ) and then enter the directory of the code using the cd command alien_x.x. Also in this case replace the two xs with the current release of the program.

Once these steps are done correctly, use Perl to create a MakeFile. This is an important file that allows the computer to build the software. To do this, use the perl Makefile.PL command and then use the new file created to create the software by typing make inside the terminal.

Now that Alien has been built correctly and is ready for use, you just need to move the software from the source code directory to the correct location on the PC. Unlike the other two commands, the installation must be performed using sudo privileges as the program will be transferred to the system directories. So, use sudo make install to proceed. At the end of the move, run Alien through the terminal with the alien command.

How to convert Debian programs into RedHat on Linux

Now you are ready to finally see how to do the conversion correctly. To convert a package from Debian to RedHat format, you must first download the DEB package. Once finished, open the terminal and move to the download folder with cd ~ /downloads.

At this point, it is necessary to convert the program from DEB to RPM using sudo alien -r *.deb, making sure to replace * with the path of the program that will end with the name of the DEB package. Please note that the execution of this command may not always work as some Debian packages get many particular files that may refuse to convert.

In addition to this feature, Alien has other interesting features. For example, you can convert an RPM package to DEB with the command sudo alien -t file (replacing files with the path to the file). Furthermore, Alien is able to convert any package into the Solaris one using the command sudo alien -p file.

Sometimes converting from one package format to another could cause problems with permissions. Fortunately, Alien has a feature that allows you to solve problems simply by using the command sudo alien file –fixperms. Finally, it is possible to test packages created with Alien using the command sudo alien file –test.

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