7. Building It

7.1. The Source Directory Tree

The first thing you need is a properly configured build tree. This is configurable using the /etc/rpmrc file. Most people will just use /usr/src.

You may need to create the following directories to make a build tree:

7.2. Test Building

The first thing you'll probably want to to is get the source to build cleanly without using RPM. To do this, unpack the sources, and change the directory name to $NAME.orig. Then unpack the source again. Use this source to build from. Go into the source directory and follow the instructions to build it. If you have to edit things, you'll need a patch. Once you get it to build, clean the source directory. Make sure and remove any files that get made from a configure script. Then cd back out of the source directory to its parent. Then you'll do something like:

diff -uNr dirname.orig dirname > ../SOURCES/dirname-linux.patch

This will create a patch for you that you can use in your spec file. Note that the "linux" that you see in the patch name is just an identifier. You might want to use something more descriptive like "config" or "bugs" to describe why you had to make a patch. It's also a good idea to look at the patch file you are creating before using it to make sure no binaries were included by accident.

7.3. Generating the File List

Now that you have source that will build and you know how to do it, build it and install it. Look at the output of the install sequence and build your file list from that to use in the spec file. We usually build the spec file in parallel with all of these steps. You can create the initial one and fill in the easy parts, and then fill in the other steps as you go.

7.4. Building the Package with RPM

Once you have a spec file, you are ready to try and build your package. The most useful way to do it is with a command like the following:

rpm -ba foobar-1.0.spec

There are other options useful with the -b switch as well:

There are several modifiers to the -b switch. They are as follows:

7.5. Testing It

Once you have a source and binary rpm for your package, you need to test it. The easiest and best way is to use a totally different machine from the one you are building on to test. After all, you've just done a lot of make install's on your own machine, so it should be installed fairly well.

You can do an rpm -e packagename on the package to test, but that can be deceiving because in building the package, you did a make install. If you left something out of your file list, it will not get uninstalled. You'll then reinstall the binary package and your system will be complete again, but your rpm still isn't. Make sure and keep in mind that just because you do a rpm -ba package, most people installing your package will just be doing the rpm -i package. Make sure you don't do anything in the build or install sections that will need to be done when the binaries are installed by themselves.

7.6. What to do with your new RPMs

Once you've made your own RPM of something (assuming its something that hasn't already been RPM'ed), you can contribute your work to others (also assuming you RPM'ed something freely distributable). To do so, you'll want to upload it to ftp.redhat.com.

7.7. What Now?

Please see the above sections on Testing and What to do with new RPMs. We want all the RPMs available we can get, and we want them to be good RPMs. Please take the time to test them well, and then take the time to upload them for everyone's benefit. Also, please make sure you are only uploading freely available software. Commercial software and shareware should not be uploaded unless they have a copyright expressly stating that this is allowed. This includes ssh, pgp, etc.