[pacman-dev] makepkg in a constrained environment

Dan McGee dpmcgee at gmail.com
Wed Dec 2 08:43:10 EST 2009

On Wed, Dec 2, 2009 at 5:01 AM, Ciprian Dorin, Craciun
<ciprian.craciun at gmail.com> wrote:
>    Hello all!
>    For some time I was struggling in creating (for myself) a
> "sterile" environment for package building purposes. (I want to build
> some custom packages for a custom lightweight distribution.) And in
> what follows I would like to share my experience with pacman / makepkg
> developers in such a "sterile" environment.
>    By "sterile" I mean the following:
>    * clean, uncontaminated packages: freshly installed by pacman from
> a repository without my intervention; (if I would use my ArchLinux
> installation, some packages (compiler, libraries, etc.) would be
> configured to my like, and thus it could create a non-repeatable
> build);
>    * minimal package installation base: only the packages that have
> been clearly declared as dependencies in PKGBUILD should be installed
> (of course with their dependencies);
>    * I need the assurance that configure and make scripts of
> different packages pick up the right build tool-chains (for example
> for cross-compiling);
>    As such, I've decided of the following:
>    * prepare a UML (User Mode Linux) kernel, that shall provide me
> with a clean build Linux environment; (this could of course be
> replaced with a Vserver instance;)
>    * prepare a (static linked) BusyBox with all the tools built in;
> (this shall be installed outside of the normal PATH, to be sure it's
> not picked up by the configure and make scripts;)
>    * prepare a (static linked) Bash (installed outside the normal PATH);
>    * when running makepkg, I'll set the
> PATH=/.workbench/tools/busybox/bin:/.workbench/tools/bash/bin;
>    * but when inside the PKGBUILD I'll reset the
> PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:etc....
>    Now my experiences with makepkg in such an environment:
>    * it seems it works without too much fuss with the commands
> provided by busybox, except;
>    * if one has declared of using only MD5 sums (most of the packages
> do this), it insists on using `openssl dgst` to create them;
See commit b8a66d68593d1f267c3bb8cd8943724711626903 as Allan pointed
out, which was to fix FS#10530. You'd be reverting that which is not
really what we want.

>    * it insists on using file tool to identify the file type;
Allan got this one. (FS#6246)

>    * it insists on using bsdtar to untar the tar archives;
bsdtar is a hard dep of pacman and makes our work in makepkg a ton
easier. It works for all sorts of archives and I would have a real
hard time seeing why we should step away from it.

>    * it breaks if it's not able to chown the source tree; (this
> happens as inside UML I'm root, but outside UML the file system is
> owned by a normal user (the root filesystem of UML is exported by
> using hostfs));
Sounds like UML needs something like fakeroot?

>    So, as you can see nothing that can't be solved with some minor corrections.
>    As such, if the community is interested I could provide some
> patches that allow makepkg to:
>    * use md5sum instead of openssl for MD5 checksums;
>    * use normal tar if bsdtar is not available;
>    * base the file-type decision on file (if available), or on
> extension (if file is not available);
>    * ignore errors for chown of source tree; (of course with a warning;)
>    * provide a way to customize the path of the pacman tool; (maybe
> this has already been done);
Getting close here, see

>    Also it would be nice (though painful) to allow the customization
> of paths for all external (non Bash functions) tools. For example:
> instead of calling mv, one should call "$mv", which should default to
> mv="${MV:-$( which mv )}" (that is if the variable MV is not defined
> then fallback on using the mv tool found in the PATH).

A unix-y system without mv? This seems overkill to me. I highly doubt
all of our packages have a makedepend on coreutils anyway.

I can see why a lot of these things seem appealing for your setup, but
the problem is a lot of them are in contrast to portability issues
we've had in the past and resolved.


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