DeveloperWiki:HOWTO Be A Packager

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Revision as of 09:00, 15 September 2017 by Foxxx0 (talk | contribs) (completely restructure this guide, streamline it, remove confusing statements, add helper scripts - intended to guide new TUs/Devs)
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Follow Package Guidelines

Package guidelines can be found in the Arch Linux documentation. Please follow them closely.

Arch packaging standards

Preparation and Setup

Installing the Packages

Make sure you have the packages devtools and namcap installed.

SSH Config

If you have multiple SSH keys in your SSH Agent, you will need to make sure that the correct key is being used to contact the Arch servers. Also, when your local username differs from the one being used on the Arch servers, you need to take care of that too.

Example ~/.ssh/config excerpt:

	port 22
	user foobar
	IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_arch
	IdentitiesOnly yes

makepkg Config

Make sure to configure your ~/.makepkg.conf with the correct PACKAGER and GPGKEY variables. Wrong signatures or missing PACKAGER will prevent your packages from entering the repository.

PACKAGER="Foo Bar <>"

Local SVN Setup using Non-Recursive Checkouts

As SVN provides the ability to do scoped checkouts you can initialize an empty local checkout and later on only fetch the packages that you want. To setup the local checkouts run the following commands.

For core, extra, testing and staging repos:

  svn checkout -N svn+ssh:// svn-packages

For community, community-testing, community-staging, multilib, multilib-testing, multilib-staging:

  svn checkout -N svn+ssh:// svn-community

This creates two directories named svn-packages and svn-community which contain nothing but are properly setup as svn repositories.

Helper Scripts (optional)


This shell script eases setting up and maintaining the chroots for building the packages immensely. The script has been developed by Bluewind and can be found here: ch.

As this script relies on Btrfs, you have to create a Btrfs volume (20GiB is mostly sufficient), which can either be a file, a logical volume or a dedicated partition. Furthermore by default this script assumes that the Btrfs for the chroots is mounted at /mnt/chroots/arch.

Afterwards you can create a 64bit package using:

  ch build 64

(automatically and conveniently invokes makechrootpkg with all required arguments)

For further details please take a look at the head of the script, it provides some explanations and usage examples.

The Workflow

Checkout/update your Local Repository

  cd svn-community
  svn update

Adding a new Package

This step is only required when adding a new package to the repository for the first time.

  cd svn-community
  mkdir -p new-package/{repos,trunk}
  cd new-package
  svn add .
  svn propset svn:keywords "Id" trunk/PKGBUILD
  svn commit

Updating the needed Package

  svn update some-package

Change and build

  cd some-package/trunk/

It is mandatory to build your package using a clean chroot.

Or, if you are using the ch helper, simply do:

  cd some-package/trunk/
  ch clean 64
  ch update 64
  ch build 64

Run namcap on both PKGBUILD and Package

  namcap PKGBUILD
  namcap some-package-1.0-1-x86_64.pkg.tar.xz

Run checkpkg on the Package

Run in the directory with your freshly built package to get a file list diff compared with the package version currently in the repos. This can be skipped when adding a new package to the repository for the first time (e.g. by importing it from AUR to community).

Use devtools to sign, upload and commit

Once you are satisfied with the package, you need to make sure all your changes are tracked in the repository. Run:

  svn status

in the some-package/trunk/ directory and check the output carefully. If, for example, you have added a new some-package.install file, you need to tell svn to track that file, e.g.:

  svn add some-package.install

Make sure to never add the binary packages, makepkg logs, etc. to the repository!

When you're ready to proceed, you can run the devtools script to sign, upload and commit your work. This is repo dependent. For extra you use extrapkg, communitypkg for community, etc.

  extrapkg "update to 1.2.3, add post_upgrade hook to fix permissions"

Please try to write concise commit messages. If the package is simply an upstream change, that is fine, but if anything more complex changes, please inform us by writing an appropriate commit message.

Update the Repository

Use db-update. It will find new packages for any repository and it manages both i686 and x86_64 architectures at once, if present.

For example:

  ssh "/packages/db-update"


  ssh "/community/db-update"

Other Operations

Removing a Package

  ssh "/packages/db-remove repo-name arch packagename"


  ssh "/packages/db-remove core i686 openssh"

And if you want to really kill the package, you will need to svn rm the entire package directory after the above steps and commit the deletion.

Sometime the previous command yields:

   svn: E155035: "'/path/to/pkg/<PKG>' is the root of a working copy and cannot be deleted"

You can remotely remove it with:

   svn rm svn+ssh://<PKG>

Moving a package between repos

  ssh "/packages/db-move fromrepo torepo packagename"


  ssh "/packages/db-move testing core openssh"

Alternatively, the move from testing is so common we have helper scripts:

  /packages/testing2x openssh bzip2 coreutils
  /packages/testing2x64 openssh bzip2 coreutils

These scripts only work if the packages on the commandline are either in core or extra. If a package is only in testing, you have to use testing2core, testing2core64, testing2extra or testing2extra64.

"Tagging" releases

Fetch the package dir using archco or communityco or from an svn checkout. Then:

  cd package-name/trunk
  archrelease extra-i686

This makes an svn copy of the trunk entries in a directory named extra-i686 indicating that this package is in the extra repository for the i686 architecture. This will be done automatically when using tools such as extrapkg (see Use devtools to sign, upload and commit).

Miscellaneous Stuff

SVN $Id$ tags

$Id$ tags are a nice helper for PKGBUILDs and should be added to the top of all PKGBUILDs in a comment. However, svn needs an additional push to know that it should modify this line on checkout.

  svn propset svn:keywords "Id" my-package/trunk/PKGBUILD

Cleaning up your checkout

Since you are now maintaining a non-recursive checkout, you may want to get rid of packages that you are no longer tracking:

  svn update package1 package2 --set-depth exclude

Or if you want an empty toplevel again:

  svn update --set-depth empty

Avoid having to enter your password all the time

When working with extrapkg and the other devtools, quite a few ssh connections are established, even when using ssh keys and the ssh agent. You can work around that.

Add this to your ~/.ssh/config:

  ControlPath ~/.ssh/master-%h-%p-%r

Now, before you start working, open a ssh session with

  ssh -M

Enter your password and leave that session open until you are finished. All ssh sessions (including scp and svn+ssh) will now be tunneled through this connection.