Extracting the binaries from the ProtonMail Bridge for Linux DEB package

A .deb package, or a Debian software package, is a Unix ar archive format. The ar command is used to keep together groups of files as a single archive and .deb includes the following three files:

  • debian-binary – A text file that shows the version of the .deb package format.
  • control.tar.gz – A compressed file that contains md5sums and the control directory for building package.
  • data.tar.xz – A compressed file that contains all the files to install on your system.

By extracting the binary files, you will have more control over the installation process and you won’t have to install the whole package to get the Bridge command line tool.

If you want to extract the binaries, you will need to take the following steps.

Create a clean directory.

mkdir protonmail-bridge && cd protonmail-bridge

Download the Bridge DEB package.

Extract the archive. (The necessary packages are `binutils`, `tar` and `xz`.)

ar p protonmail-bridge_1.2.6-1_amd64.deb data.tar.xz | tar xJ

You can now create the desired package or install files onto your system directly.

sudo cp -r usr/ /

Make sure that the folder `/usr/bin` is in your `PATH` variable. If it is, you can start Bridge with the command: 

protonmail-bridge

Please make sure that file names in the commands match the downloaded Bridge version. If the latest version is displayed as v1.2.6, you need to enter it as 1.2.6.-1.