AOSC OS Package Styling Manual
Comprehensive (and updated) Styling Manual for AOSC OS Packagers
Introduction and Rationale
The AOSC OS ABBS Tree is now home to over 5000 (and counting) packages, which are maintained by over 20 (historical and current) packagers. With more than 5 years of history behind some packages, issues began to emerge in the following fashion:
- Packages lack dependencies.
- Insecure (unquoted) variables in build scripts.
- Hard-to-read build scripts, with little comments or indication of progression.
- Undescriptive package description(s) (
- Non-standard package section(s) (
Without a comprehensive guildeline for packaging work in the future, these issues will not go away - rather, the list will grow longer and further degrade package qualities in our distribution. This Styling Manual seeks to provide sectioned and targetted sets of guidelines for fixing existing and new packages.
Packager, Package Names, and Descriptions
This section contains the three most basic descriptors for an AOSC OS package.
Packager, or "Maintainer", as referenced in Debian Packages (
.deb), should have its value formatted as follows:
Executed Packager <[email protected]>
Package names (
$PKGNAME) should be lower-cased, and otherwise comply with the choice of package manager.
Package descriptions (
$PKGDES) are to be composed with the following guidelines:
- Start with a upper-case letter.
- With no period point or any punctuation mark at the end.
However, it is worth noting that package descriptions found with AOSC OS packages should be descriptive, but not definitive. For example, an acceptable package description should look something like...
"Library with common API for various MATE modules"
Or less descriptive, like...
"MATE Desktop Library"
Or too definitive, like...
"Library with concise and convenient API for various MATE modules"
In the current implementation of ACBS (Autobuild CI Build Service), three categories of variables are defined in a file named
spec - these variables will be discussed below.
Versioning variable define the package's version and revision levels.
$VER variable defines the main version of the resulting package. When packaging for AOSC OS, packagers should take note of the following requirements. These requirements are presented in the table below.
|"Normal" versioning, with only "dot" separators||Retain version, as defined by the upstream.||GNOME Clocks 3.32.1 ->
|Versions with letter notation(s)||Lower-case all letter(s), and remove symbols surrounding the letter(s).||Bind 9.12.3-P4 ->
|Versions with dash(es) ("-")||Replace the dash(es) with plus ("+") sign(s).||ImageMagick 6.9.10-23 ->
|Versions with underscore(s) ("_")||Replace the underscore(s) with dot(s) (".").||Icarus Verilog 10_2 ->
|Versions with release stage notation(s) ("alpha", "beta", "rc", etc.)||Lower-case all notations, "Beta" to "beta", etc. Replace "alpha" with "a", "beta" with "b", retain "rc". Remove all symbols surrounding the notation(s), and prepend a tilde ("~").||Golden Dict 1.5.0-RC2 ->
|Git or other date-based snapshots||Simply write the date (dot not include
||Shadowsocks 5ff694b2c2978b432918dea6ac104706b25cbf48 ->
$REL variable defines the revision level of the resulting package. This variable should only hold a single positive integer as its value.
Source variables define the package's source(s), and in the case of a VCS (version control system) based source, define in addition a specific source snapshot.
$SRCTBL variable is used when a package's source is released in the form of a single compressed archive. Requirements and recommendations are presented in the table below.
|URI schemes||Recommended||Use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS, https://) where possible. Avoid non-secure connections (http://) and plain FTP (File Transfer Protocol, ftp://).|
|Source format||Recommended||Use XZ-compressed Tar-Archives (.tar.xz) where possible, other formats are considered appropriate. Avoid the inefficient BZip2-compressed Tar-Archives (.tar.bz2) where possible.|
|Version substitutions||Required||Source links must replace all versions with substitutions from the
|Versioned tarballs||Required||Source archives (tarballs) must be versioned in order to ensure consistency.|
$CHKSUM variable is used in conjunction with
$SRCTBL, to define the proper checksum for specific source archive(s). The format is as follows.
$ALGORITHMis to be replaced with specific hashing algorithms, written in lower-case. For instance,
$CHECKSUMis to be replaced with the corresponding hash checksum of the aforementioned algorithm.
For descriptions of different cryptographic hash algorithms, and for identification of insecure (and therefore unacceptable) algorithms, refer to this Wikipedia chapter under "Cryptographic Hash Function".
$CHKSUM will become a required value in the near future.
VCS (Version Control System) based sources may use any one of the each combinations.
|VCS||Required Variables||Additional Notes|
||Use Git over Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS, https://) where possible.|
||Avoid using Mecurial source(s) where possible, as support for checking out a specific revision is not yet implemented.|
$DUMMYSRC variable is used when a package is empty (meta package), or uses custom-generated sources. This variable takes a bolean value.
Other variables may be used, so long as they are not any of the variables listed above. These variables are often used to aid with manipulating
$SRCDIR, here's the
spec file of
extra-devel/netbeans, for instance.
VER=8.2 REL=1 SUB=201609300101 SRCTBL="http://download.netbeans.org/netbeans/$VER/final/zip/netbeans-$VER-$SUB.zip" SUBDIR=.
In the context of AOSC OS packaging, dependencies are arranged in two categories: run-time depedencies, and build-time dependencies. These dependencies are defined by
Run-time dependencies should be written in such a way that, not only does the package function (programs run, libraries link, etc.), all linkages to the package should also be included. In the case of
extra-multimedia/ario, for instance, not only should
$PKGDEP contain the following dependencies:
avahi, curl, dbus-glib, gnutls, hicolor-icon-theme, libglade, libmpdclient, libnotify, libsoup, libunique, taglib, xdg-utils
Which, through explicit and implicit dependencies, allows for a system environment that contains sufficient runtime for the program
/usr/bin/ario to function.
By the quality assurance standard, defined in code E432, all direct dependencies on the ELF level should also be included in
$PKGDEP, and thus the addition of
$PKGDEP is necessary.
As of March 16th, 2019, 42.4% (1592/3705) of all packages provided in the Stable channel for
amd64 has the issue of insufficient ELF dependencies.
- When a package has a sole dependency on the GCC Runtime (
gcc-runtime) or the GNU C Library (
glibc), these dependencies should be included in
Build-time dependencies should written in such a way that the package will compile, install, and package successfully in the BuildKit build environment. Given this, any packages included in the BuildKit environment will not need to be included in
$BUILDDEP. For example...
- CMake (
cmake) is required for building
cmakeis an integral part of BuildKit. Therefore, packagers are not required to include
- Bazel (
bazel) is required fo building
extra-scientific/tensorflow. In this case,
bazelmust be included in
bazelis not installed in BuildKit as standard.
When packaging for AOSC OS, please work in accordance to our distribution feature guide. The table below digests some of the common considerations when building packages for AOSC OS.
|Features||Enable all features, unless a feature is unmaintained, or violates any of the other considerations in this table.|
|Language packs (dictionaries, locale data, etc.)||Language packs must be included in the same package as the main executables, etc.|
|Splitting packages||Packages are to be remained intact, unless package comes in multiple flavours, or otherwise agreed upon by the developer majority.|
|Telemetry||All telemetry functionalities must be stripped or disabled by default (opt-in), packages that do not function without such feature should only be accepted on a case-by-case basis (rejected by default).|
|Update checking||All update checking (notification, downloading, etc.) functionalities must be stripped, packages that do not function without such feature should only be accepted on a case-by-case basis (rejected by default).|
While most packages could be built with one of the pre-defined Autobuild Types (
$ABTYPES), and that patches could be applied automatically from the
autobuild/patches directory (or via a pre-defined
series file to specify patch order), some packages require manual preparation, patching, and build. This section is dedicated to
beyond under the
A general rule of thumb is to write such scripts secure (quoted) variables, sufficient comments, error control, architectural considerations, progression report, ... Writing easy-to-read and reliable build scripts is not easy, and the table below aims to aid you with making good scripting decisions.
|Autobuild3 Build Templates (
||Required||Packager should utilise Autobuild Types where possible, without using
|Error control||Required||Build errors should be captured and handled appropriately. By default, errors are handled automatically by Autobuild3 and will result in aborted build, however,
|Progression report||Requried||Progress should be reported by appropriately employing
|References||Required||When adapting/copying build scripts from other distributions, packager must include a comment indicating the source(s) of the build script(s)|
|Secure variables||Required||Variables should be quoted, for example, all
|Architectural considerations||Recommended||While it is convenient to write build scripts adapted to the
|Comments||Recommended||Good scripts tend to be well commented. However, comments can be replaced with progression report clauses, see "Progression report".|
As many packagers tend to reference or copy build scripts from Arch Linux, please reference the TODO: AOSC OS-Arch Rosetta Stone for a comprehensive guide on translating PKGBUILD (Arch Linux) into Autobuild3 manifests (AOSC OS).
Patches should follow a (mostly) uniform file naming for clear arrangement and sorting, before they are included in
When dealing with Git-based sources, it is possible to create numbered patches from the following command:
git format-patch -n $HASH
n defines the amount of commits from the specific commit
$HASH, including the specified commit. Alternatively, you can omit the
git format-patch -n
To create a series of patches from
n commits to the branch
These commands generate a series patches like the following...
0001-contrib-autobuild-aoscarchive-one-more-syntax-fix.patch 0002-common_switches-add-sanitizer-support.patch 0003-contrib-autobuild-aoscarchive-fix-overlay-subdir-che.patch 0004-arch-_common_switches-fix-syntax.patch 0005-autobuild-aoscarchive-adapt-to-new-workflow.patch
Without an automatic mean to generate patches, patches should be named in the following format.
NNNN, like the sample patch file names, is a "serial" number for sorting patches.
$CATEGORYdefines the category of a patch, for instance,
$CONTENTdefines "what is to be done" when a patch is applied, for instance,
Likewise, when including patch(es) from other distributions, they should also be renamed in accordance to the guidelines above.
AOSC OS, like many other Linux Distributions, expect packaged files to be located in appropriate directories. Please reference the non-comprehensive table below for our standard of file placements.
|Types of Files||Appropriate Placements|
|Binary or script executables||
|Binaries run by other programs||
|Data files (no ELF, or architecturally-dependent scripts)||
|Daemon user home||
|Go components and shared data||
|Java components (commons, etc.)||
|Libraries (shared and static)||
Electron and Chromium-based Packages
Electron, Chromium, and other Chromium-based packages should be packaged with the following structure.
|Desktop, AppStream, and other data files||
|Main program data||
Binary Packaging (Binpack)
Binary packages should not be installed to
/opt, unless the package's licence prohibits such file movement. With adjustments and other modifications, these packages should be installed to the
/usr prefix - if packager find it impossible, they should consider rejecting such packages.
Git Commit Messages
When committing (or contributing, if you like) to the AOSC OS ABBS Tree, please observe the commit message standards, shown in the table below.
|Action||Message Formatting||Sample Commit Message|
|Introducing a new package||
|Security fixes with version update||
|Security fixes without version update, utilising distribution patch(es)||
|Security fixes without version update, utilising upstream patch(es)||
|Updating a package||
|Work-in-progress with a fail-to-build package||
|Working with a package||
|Working with a package, multiple actions||
|Working with a package, utilising distribution patch(es)||
|Working with a package, utilising upstream patch(es)||
|Working with a QA issue||
|Working with an architecturally-exclusive package||
|Working with an architecturally-independent package||
When more than one of the actions were committed, and that the short message goes beyond 50 characters (including space and punctuation marks), you should utilise a "long Git commit message", for example:
firefox: update to 64.0.2; #1536 - Enable PGO on AMD64, patches from Fedora and upstream. - Clean up defines. - Remove deprecated --enable-pie option. - More vendor-specific preferences to further limit Pocket integration and telemetry.