DeveloperWiki:HOWTO Be A Packager

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Revision as of 01:02, 1 September 2009 by Allan (talk | contribs) (Avoid having to enter your password all the time)
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Follow Package Guidelines

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

Arch Packaging Standards

How To Use SVN

Non-recursive checkout

  svn checkout -N svn+ssh:// 

This creates a directory named "svn-packages" which contains nothing. It does, however, know that it is an svn checkout.

Checkout a package

  cd svn-packages
  svn update package-name

This will pull the package you requested into your checkout. From now on, any time you `svn update` at the top level, this will be updated as well.

Updating all packages

  cd svn-packages
  svn update

Adding a package

  cd svn-packages
  mkdir new-package
  mkdir new-package/{repos,trunk}
  $EDITOR new-package/trunk/PKGBUILD
  svn add new-package
  svn commit

Removing a package

  /arch/db-remove packagename repo-name arch
  i.e. /arch/db-remove openssh core i686
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.

Moving a package between repos

  /arch/db-move packagename fromrepo torepo arch
  i.e. /arch/db-move openssh testing core i686

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

  /arch/testing2x openssh bzip2 coreutils
  /arch/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

  cd svn-packages/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.

The Process

Checkout/update your local repository

  cd svn-packages
  svn update

Update the needed package

  svn update some-package

Traverse to the package's trunk directory

  cd some-package/trunk/

Change and build


It is highly recommended to build your package using a clean chroot

Run namcap on both PKGBUILD and package

  namcap PKGBUILD
  namcap some-package-1.0-1-i686.pkg.tar.gz

Use devtools to upload and commit

This is repo dependent. For 'extra', you use 'extrapkg'. 'testingpkg' for 'testing', etc

  extrapkg "A commit message"

Update the repository

This is repo dependent. For 'extra', you use 'db-extra'. 'db-testing' for 'testing', etc Additionally, db-{repo}64 is used for x86_64 repos.


Staging Directories

Staging directories are needed on for uploading of packages. The following structure is NOT automatically created. You must do it yourself:

    |-- core/
    |-- extra/
    `-- testing/

These directories are searched by the db scripts to find new packages and those slated for removal.

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

Package checking tools


Run on both your PKGBUILD and package to check for common packaging problems.


Run (as root) in the directory with your freshly built package to get a file list diff compared with the package version currently in the repos.

Commit messages

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.

Avoid having to enter your password all the time

When working with extrapkg and the other devtools, you may have to enter your password quite often. Even if you set up ssh keys and the ssh agent, devtools will be slow because it takes time until a ssh connection is established. You can work around that.

Add this to your $HOME/.ssh/config:

ControlPath /home/<your username>/.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.