Talk:Arch package guidelines

From ArchWiki

Fields order

Arch_Packaging_Standards#Package_etiquette states: "It is common practice to preserve the order of the PKGBUILD fields as shown above." But this is not true. Common practice is to use /usr/share/pacman/PKGBUILD.proto as a template, and the order of fields in that prototype has a far greater influence on packages in the wild than this page. This page should edited to reflect the current state of PKGBUILD.proto. Perhaps this page should state: "It is common practice to order PKGBUILD fields so they match the order of fields in PKGBUILD.proto. Ichimonji10 (talk) 14:32, 19 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Punctuation in PKGBUILD

What is the official guidance regarding ending a pkgdesc in a period or using commas and English prose punctuation in general?

[Link] to discussion thread.

Graysky (talk) 15:17, 14 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Package naming

  • Package names should consist of alphanumeric characters only; all letters should be lowercase.
This is a guideline, but I see some packages with hypens and underscores (tesseract-data-chi_sim), dots (gstreamer0.10), plus (libxml++) and even at-signs (kde-l10n-ca@valencia). A package with uppercase name is libreoffice-bn-IN. According to the makepkg source, the allowed chars are: [:alnum:]+_.@-. Lekensteyn (talk) 22:38, 1 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"alphanumeric characters only" rule is ridiculous, 85% of official packages break this rule. I think it should be changed to allow hypens. It makes package names more readable. In regards to other characters, the + sign breaks AUR search (example, should be escaped). axper (talk) 11:19, 11 May 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Package names should NOT be suffixed with the upstream major release version number (e.g. we don't want libfoo2 if upstream calls it libfoo v2.3.4) in case the library and its dependencies are expected to be able to keep using the most recent library version with each respective upstream release. However, for some software or dependencies, this can not be assumed. In the past this has been especially true for widget toolkits such as GTK and Qt. Software that depends on such toolkits can usually not be trivially ported to a new major version. As such, in cases where software can not trivially keep rolling alongside its dependencies, package names should carry the major version suffix (e.g. gtk2, gtk3, qt4, qt5). For cases where most dependencies can keep rolling along the newest release but some can't (for instance closed source that needs libpng12 or similar), a deprecated version of that package might be called libfoo1 while the current version is just libfoo.
  • Package versions should be the same as the version released by the author. Versions can include letters if need be (eg, nmap's version is 2.54BETA32). Version tags may not include hyphens! Letters, numbers, and periods only.
This rule needs to get more stricter. Having a slash in the version breaks filenames. For craziness, I tried setting up a pkgver containing all characters from 0x01 to 0xff which makes makepkg throw a Bash syntax error. The current packages have versions matching {{ic}[[alnum:]._+~]+} (and a colon for epoch, a hypen for pkgrel). What about limiting to those characters? Debian has a similar set, see their policy docs Lekensteyn (talk) 22:38, 1 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Package releases are specific to Arch Linux packages. These allow users to differentiate between newer and older package builds. When a new package version is first released, the release count starts at 1. Then as fixes and optimizations are made, the package will be re-released to the Arch Linux public and the release number will increment. When a new version comes out, the release count resets to 1. Package release tags follow the same naming restrictions as version tags.
  • Why is there no mentioning of suffixes for different build sources, such as vcs sources (-git, -hg, …) or binary distributions (-bin)? IMO this is an important part of the package naming conventions in AUR. Fordprefect (talk) 13:43, 10 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some of the information is sequestered into the AUR page's FAQ and other places, but I have a proposal to bring it together (and add some additional conventions). Since this page already has a section on package naming conventions, it would integrate well here. Unfortunately, as this is a protected page, I wouldn't be able to make the edits myself. quequotion (talk) 15:29, 23 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's a whole-page draft of what that might look like. quequotion (talk) 16:04, 23 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In addition to updating links above, I have changed my point of view on where this information is best kept. The thing to do, for minimal redundancy, is to link to VCS package guidelines, which itself needs authorized user intervention to implement this proposal so as to have a "Package naming" subsection to link to directly. quequotion (talk) 15:24, 24 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal: Unofficial packages

  • Unofficial packages having extra features enabled and/or patches in comparison to their official counterparts should be named differently to express that. For example, a package for GNU screen containing the sidebar patch could be named screen-sidebar. Additionally the provides=('screen') array should be used to avoid conflicts with the official package and satisfy its dependents.
Comment: This rule is not relevant for the official repositories so it does not fit to this page. -- Lahwaacz (talk) 17:00, 16 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's nothing indicating that the advice on this page is limited to official packages. On the contrary, I think we very much want these guidelines to apply to official packages, AUR packages, third-party repository packages, etc. Such that if ever someone comes looking to help with such a package on the forums or IRC, we can know right away if they are using official or unofficial packages (it should not be assumed the user will know the difference or the significance of it). quequotion (talk) 23:30, 16 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, these guidelines apply to everything, but everything on this page should apply to official repositories as the least common denominator. Rules which are not common should belong elsewhere. -- Lahwaacz (talk) 08:12, 17 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That would leave this convention with nowhere to go, as it applies not only to AUR packages but third-party packages anywhere. How about prepending "Unofficial" to make clear that this convention applies to packages that are disqualified for inclusion in official repositories? quequotion (talk) 08:47, 17 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See also the various package guidelines pages for other naming conventions.

Is it acceptable for build() to start by removing directories?

I just downloaded a PKGBUILD whose build() function begins with the following:

find ./ -maxdepth 1 -mindepth 1 -type d  -exec rm -r {} \;

It seems to me that a PKGBUILD has no business doing this and that it is potentially dangerous. I admit that its danger will typically require people to do non-standard things and, arguably, things they would be better advised not to do anyway. But it still seems to me to invite trouble.

I don't remember seeing this in a PKGBUILD before but I can't find anything definitely ruling it out.

Is it acceptable for a build function to start by removing directories in this way? Is it safe?

--cfr (talk) 03:03, 27 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd argue that this is an acceptable thing to do, at least in some cases. As an example, consider Talend Open Studio DI: a single source file provides files for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PowerPC (?) and Solaris. In response, the talend-open-studio-diAUR PKGBUILD simply removes them. Does removing those files invite trouble? Yes. But removing files seems like an integral tool in the package maintainer's toolkit, and plenty of other weird stuff happens in PKGBUILDs too. Ichimonji10 (talk) 02:20, 3 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unique sources

The source array should only contain unique sources names if a shares source directory is used. This applies to most github download. You can use "${pkgname}-${pkgver}.tar.gz::" prependet to each source to make the filename unique. I am not allowed to edit the page, could someone please do so?--NicoHood (talk) 15:33, 16 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Architecture Section not clear enough

The arch array depends "on which architectures it can be built on". This is okay but I believe it should be clarified that the program also needs to run and work on that architecture. I know it's a bit "obvious" but people who write interpreted programs may understand that they should put "any" in the arch array even if their program is not usable at all for some architectures. Cecton (talk) 07:14, 28 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How does fixing "built on" to "built for" prevent people from abusing any? That's a separate problem. Also, interpreted programs like scripts should use any, where do you think they shouldn't? -- Lahwaacz (talk) 08:39, 28 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is that program (debtap in AUR) wrote in bash that converts deb packages to Arch Linux packages. Unfortunately the program works only for i386 and amd64 because it fetches Ubuntu repositories at some specific locations. So when you run it on an arm architecture it fails with a curl output saying 404 which is not user friendly at all. IMHO a package should be restricted to the architectures where it works but in the specifications here, the only requirement is that it compiles. Cecton (talk) 09:08, 28 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually it is better specified here: PKGBUILD#arch "If instead a package can be compiled for any architecture, but is architecture-specific once compiled, specify all architectures officially supported by Arch, i.e. arch=('i686' 'x86_64'). " Cecton (talk) 10:10, 29 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since we no longer support i686 and the section had to be edited anyway, I tried to clarify the situation described above. I don't think it should include something like ".. and any other architectures the package builds/compiles/runs on", as we only support x86_64. None of the packages in the official repositories specify architectures besides 'x86_64' and 'any' (I think). Lonaowna (talk) 15:41, 13 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe we should just do like we do for Licenses, and say "See PKGBUILD#arch". I think we explain in sufficient detail there. :) -- Eschwartz (talk) 03:26, 14 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not saying it's a bad thing, but following this approach there wouldn't be much left of the official packaging guidelines... The purpose of the entire page should be rethought. -- Lahwaacz (talk) 09:41, 14 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

/opt vs /usr/share

Should there be a clause here or somewhere about preferring /opt for big/self-contained AUR packages instead of /usr/share? Isn't there such a policy? —Dettalk 17:17, 21 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's somewhat covered by the FHS. There's no reason to make it specific only to AUR, even official packages like cuda or vtk6 are installed into /opt. -- Lahwaacz (talk) 18:34, 21 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you mean that actual page? So sections like Arch packaging standards#Directories should really be replaced with a link there? —Dettalk 19:02, 21 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There you go, you even have the policy, so what's the point of this discussion really?? -- Lahwaacz (talk) 20:07, 21 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alad, I'd appreciate it, if you didn't just come in and close an ongoing discussion. Anyway, so shouldn't that text be amended if that small piece is our official guideline? 1) Java is not installed in /opt (neither jre7-openjdk nor jre8-openjdk), 2) what is a "self-contained" package? Can it have e.g. icons and desktop files in /usr? I would hope so. —Dettalk 21:19, 21 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Det, you really need to improve the way you ask questions. We don't have telepathic powers like you might have, so there is no way we could have guessed from the first post that you want an explanation for a section that you linked in your second post. Please read the standard reference on this topic, How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.
Now back to the topic. You're right about Java, so I removed that example. There are multiple reasons to use /opt, most often it is because it may be too hard or even impossible to merge the software with the system's /usr hierarchy. For example the software might come with bundled libraries which may conflict with the system libraries, this is where the "self-contained" comes from. If you take a look at the content of the cuda package, you will see that manual pages, licenses and desktop files are installed into /usr/share.
-- Lahwaacz (talk) 07:17, 22 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm. I don't think I was looking for an explanation to another article from the talk page of a different article. What "telepathic powers" that I "may have" have got to do with that, I've no clue. Also, I don't think I need patronisations about how to ask good questions. :-)
Anyway, as you can see from the flow of the conversation, first I thought there should be an AUR-specific instruction on /opt. Then you say no, and there's also a different site. Then I ask about that other general one I found, different article, which is very cryptic, a bit out-of-date, and maybe that's the reason that it is. Then you respond, well exactly, that's what we already got, so why ask in the first place, and Alad closes the conversation?
Right? On the issue, I can see cuda has its stuff elsewhere besides /opt. However, the point is, why isn't it explained in that article? Why isn't your explanation in the article? Also, it currently says "large self-contained". What is the definition of large? Smaller ones belong in /usr?
I don't need that explanation, the article needs it. People reading for the first time need it. Right? —Dettalk 08:24, 22 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Directories -- Why shouldn't /srv be used?

I'm updating the AUR package for the cyrus-imapd package, and noticed that this guideline states that the /srv directory should not be included in the package. Persistent application data should be placed in /var/lib/{pkg}. I'm wondering if there is a good reason for this? From long experience, /var tends to include a lot of rapidly changing ephemeral data and often ends up on a (typically smaller and faster) OS disk partition. And in the past, mounting another partition to /var lead to timing issues. systemd has fixed the latter, but the former persists, and IMAP mail stores tend to grow quite large over time. As a result, I've adopted the convention of using /srv for data which is served out and which can grow in size indefinitely. Furthermore, this is precisely how the directory is intended to be used according to the FHS. So I'd like to put the IMAP user mail store in /srv/imap by default, and was planning to do so until I ran across this document. Sort of feeling like this specific instruction is out of date (but agree that the other directories listed shouldn't be used) Pgoetz (talk) 22:15, 13 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Adding to my own comment, for purposes of clarification. Again, from long experience, people find setting up an imap server to be complicated and intimidating, so it would be better to offer an a priori rational directory structure which needn't be modified after the fact. Pgoetz (talk) 22:20, 13 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
> /var tends to include a lot of rapidly changing ephemeral data
Wrong. E.g. PostgreSQL and MariaDB store their database data, which are definitely not ephemeral, in /var/lib/. The /srv/ directory is intended for files which are directly served, such as static .html, not for files which have to be decoded or decrypted to assemble the served content. -- Lahwaacz (talk) 17:07, 16 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Package naming: Redundant bullet points (pkgver, pkgrel)

The bullet points regarding pkgver and pkgrel are highly redundant with the content on the PKGBUILD page. They are also not technically part of a package's "name". I would remove these from the page. quequotion (talk) 14:35, 15 May 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Specify you can not rely on environment variables being passed between functions

I've seen many packages that declare variables in one function. Then expect that variable to still be set when accessed from another function.

This works with a normal makepkg invocation but can break some workflows.

For example using makepkg --nobuild to extract files and prepare, then manually tweaking src/ and finishing the build with makepkg --noextract.

Another is building a package normally, then after tweaking some metadata such as pkgdesc or depends, using makepkg --repackage to quickly repackage without having to wait for the whole build to finish.

I believe these to be acceptable uses of makepkg so this should be official pkgbuild etiquette.

Morganamilo (talk) 13:26, 24 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since none of those workflows (including --repackage) are applicable to packages in the official repositories, I would say it's not relevant to this article. It could be a note in PKGBUILD or Creating packages. -- Alad (talk) 15:04, 24 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
These workflows are more for pkgbuild hacking than packaging for a repo. So it would make sense that the offical repos never need to use these flags. But I still think it makes sense for the repos and every one else to follow this rule so it is easier for people to hack pkgbuilds.
Also as some one who is used to languages where variables are scoped. Seeing a variable declared in prepare that then effects build is weird. Either make the variable global or add it to build too. Not very hard to change.
Morganamilo (talk) 15:46, 24 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with Alad, that this should go as a warning/note on the PKGBUILD/ Creating packages page, as it doesn't make much sense to try to enforce this (it's kinda common sense, when writing bash). Therefore a warning for people new to writing/using bash would be the better idea here (maybe even with a link to how to use local variables, e.g.
Davezerave (talk) 16:54, 25 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what it's worth, devtools does explicitly support using --noextract or --repackage with makechrootpkg, and I've used it before for repository packages which have non-deterministically failing testsuites in order to rerun the test until it succeeds (so, like two or three times) and then run package(). So I would say that the official repos do need to support these flags. Eschwartz (talk) 17:58, 25 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Package versioning: `v` prefix

I've found various packages in AUR that include a `v` prefix in the `pkgver` (such as `v0.123.3-1`). To my understanding, this `v` prefix should be dropped. However, I could not find a rule on Arch package guidelines regarding such a prefix. Is there a rule? Should a rule be added to Arch_package_guidelines#Package_versioning? Thanks! –Simon04 (talk) 15:21, 24 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. I feel that (at least in Bash) it is easier to add the prefix than stripping it. --Franklin Yu (talk) 05:10, 16 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's only mentioned in VCS package guidelines#Git: "If tag contains a prefix, like v or project name then it should be cut off". It should also apply to non-VCS packages too, so IMHO there should be no issue in adding it to Arch package guidelines#Package versioning. -- nl6720 (talk) 15:41, 16 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Package naming text improvement.

On the bottom of the entire package guidelines additional sources are listed, these can have an effect on how to name the aur package. I would like to see a reminder to these additional pages in this section.

Something simple like:

Note: the additional guidelines, mentioned below(link to section), may suggest alternative naming conventions.

—This unsigned comment is by Mastermindzh (talk) 19:04, 6 June 2021. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

Mention sysusers.d

Currently sysusers.d(5) is only mentioned in Web application package guidelines but there are many packages which need own users e.g due to server functionality. There should be some section mentioning how to deal with system users via PKGBUILDs.

-- NetSysFire (talk) 17:17, 13 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. IMHO showing the one-liner from [1] would be useful. -- nl6720 (talk) 16:46, 14 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reproducible tools doesn't work

I don't think the current instructions are up-to-date about checking the reproducibility of a build. makerepropkg tries to fetch something and ends up with a curl 404 error and repro -f stops with an issue with the signatures inside the cache folder (maginal trust).

makerepropkg log  repro log

--RubenKelevra (talk) 21:46, 31 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Transitive Dependencies: base / base-devel

Are dependencies of base / base-devel desired as explicit dependencies in a PKGBUILD?

—This unsigned comment is by Port19 (talk) 10:13, 29 August 2023. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

When should we clean up the replaces field?

If the package was using wrong name, lets say package should be named "some-correct-name", but was named "some-wrong-name", maintainer can rename the package and add replaces=(some-wrong-name) to the PKGBUILD. But then, many years after, it still stays there.
I cannot see any guideline for such clean ups. Let's make it. Should it depend on how long the package was available under "some-wrong-name"? I think we should remove that, for example, after several months. Because Arch Linux users are expected to update their systems often. The only exception I could think of is the former name of the upstream application. Example package: goland-eapAUR. Ashark (talk) 13:49, 30 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]