Netatalk 3.1.8 on Ubuntu 15.10 via PPA

(This post serves mostly as personal documentation and as a place to host relevant links)

Netatalk is a daemon that runs an Apple File Protocol (AFP) service on a Linux or other *nix machine that will allow Macs to use it as a file server and Time Machine backup target. This is great if you have a few Macs in your house and don’t want to buy a big enough Time Capsule to back them all up. With Netatalk you can back them up to your Linux file server.

Ubuntu only provides Netatalk version 2.x in their repos and that version has some issues with Time Machine reliability. Because of that I was looking to install the latest version of Netatalk on my Ubuntu 15.10 server (to, hopefully, see the dreaded “Time Machine must create a new backup for you”-message a little less often). To my great surprise there were some PPAs for older Ubuntu versions but none for 15.10 that I could find.

I found some instructions to install from source, but I didn’t want to do that. Installing from source requires installing a boatload of build dependencies that I don’t want on my “production” server. Besides, on a system that is based on a package manager, installing from source should be avoided if at all possible. It’s asking for trouble down the line.

I decided to try and create my own PPA for this Netatalk/Ubuntu combination and to limit the cruft I had to install on my server tried to create a Docker-based environment for building the package based on an existing PPA for an older version existing PPA for an older version. Fast forward 2 days of digging into the depths of the Ubuntu/Debian build system, how PPAs work and a few hundred builds failed for whatever reasons and here is the result.

To install:

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:gercod/netatalk
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install netatalk

See for initial configuration advice. Make sure to enable the service at boot:

$ sudo systemctl enable netatalk