Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

The Spec File

When you build packages, you use spec files to provide the information and scripts that automate the package-building process itself, and the information and scripts that are bundled as part of the package. This second set of scripts is used on the user's system when the package is installed.

These two sets of information are intermingled in the spec file, without any distinction between them other than their names. However, it is important to remember which items are used on your system during the package-building process and which items are used on the end user's system during package use.

The spec file for a package is located in the SPECS directory and needs to have a filename consisting of the name of the package, the version number, and the extension .spec. For example, the name of the spec file for ed is ed-0.2.spec. For spec files that are used to produce multiple packages (such as –devel or –static packages), the base package name is used for the filename.

A spec file includes two different kinds of entries: one-line fields and multiline sections. The one-line fields are placed at the top of the file in the header, and the sections follow. Most sections in the spec file contain Bourne shell scripts that run either during the package-building process or on the end user's system during package installation or removal. However, the %Description section is just a series of text lines that describe the package. Listing 1 shows the spec file for the ed package on Caldera OpenLinux, which is used for the examples in this chapter. This spec file has been simplified to shorten it for inclusion in this article. If you have installed the ed source RPM, you can look at the unedited version at /usr/src/distribution/SPECS/ed-0.2.spec.

Listing 1  The Spec File for ed (Simplified)

Summary: GNU Line Editor
Name: ed
Version: 0.2
Release: 5
Group: Textprocessing/Editor
Copyright: GPL
Packager: rwp@lst.de (Roger Pook)
Icon: ed.gif
# URL: No WWW site found
Source0: ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/ed-0.2.tar.gz
# Patch: - optional -
# Provides: - optional -
# Requires: - optional -
# Conflicts: - optional -
BuildRoot: /tmp/ed-0.2
%Description
ed is a line-oriented text editor.  It is used to create,
display, modify, and otherwise manipulate text files.  red
is a restricted ed: it can edit only files in the current
directory and cannot execute shell commands.

%Prep
%setup

%Build
./configure-prefix=/usr-exec-prefix=/
make CFLAGS="$RPM_OPT_FLAGS" LDFLAGS=-s

%Install
DESTDIR=$RPM_BUILD_ROOT; export DESTDIR
make CFLAGS="$RPM_OPT_FLAGS" LDFLAGS=-s install prefix=$DESTDIR/usr exec_prefix=$DESTDIR/
gzip -9fn $DESTDIR/usr/info/ed.info
%Post
lisa-info install ed-section "Miscellaneous:"-entry "* ed:(ed).                     The GNU line-oriented text editor."
%PreUn
lisa-info remove ed $1

%Files
%doc NEWS POSIX README THANKS
/bin/ed
/bin/red
/usr/info/ed.info.gz
/usr/man/man1/ed.1.gz
/usr/man/man1/red.1.gz

Fields in the Spec File

Fields are indicated with the field name followed by a colon. A pound sign (#) indicates a comment in the spec file, either in the header or in any of the sections.

Most of the fields are pieces of information that are just put into the package when it is built. However, some are used during the actual build process.

Informational Fields

The following are descriptions of the informational fields most commonly used in a spec file:

  • Summary—A one-line description of the package.

  • Name—The name of the package.

  • Version—The version of the software in the package.

  • Release—The release number of the package. This is what you modify if you make changes to the package (that is, when the original version of the software has not changed).

  • Group—The group is a multipart (usually two-part) string used by package-management utilities to organize the packages into a hierarchy. The parts of the group are separated by a slash. For example, the ed package is in the Textprocessing/Editor group. A list of all the groups is available in the GROUPS file with your RPM documentation (usually /usr/doc/rpm-3.0.5, if you have it installed.)

  • Copyright—This indicates the copyright holder and the license that the software uses. Common values for the license are BSD, distributable, GPL, artistic, public domain, MIT, freeware, and shareware.

  • Packager—This provides the name and email address of the person who built this package. In the case of packages that come with your distribution, this field is often used to track who internally maintains the package. Please don't contact this person to get support for the software in the package. If you have questions about the software provided by a package, visit the site at which the software originated, or use other normal support channels.

  • Provides—This lists the items that the package provides. The package automatically provides its own name and all the files that it contains (including shared libraries and interpreters), so these do not need to be explicitly listed.

  • Requires—This lists the items that the package requires. If programs in the package require shared libraries or interpreters, rpm detects this automatically, and these items do not need to be explicitly listed.

  • Conflicts—This lists conflicts that the package has. For instance, if this were a mail engine, it might conflict with sendmail because there can usually be only one mail engine on a machine. This information is used by RPM to prevent two conflicting packages from being installed on the same machine.

  • Obsoletes—This lists packages that are obsoleted by this package. This is a more specific version of the Conflicts field.

  • BuildRoot—This option instructs RPM to place files in a temporary directory during the install step. This is very useful when building packages for a distribution. For more information, see the section "BuildRoot," later in this article.

  • %Description—This is a multiline description of the package. Actually, this is a section and not a field, but it fits better here because it is purely informational and is not used during package building.

Fields Used During Package Building

The following fields are used during the build process:

  • Icon—This is the graphics file (often GIF) that contains an icon for this package (used by graphical package-management tools).

  • Source#—This is a URL for the source files for the software. The filename part is used by the build process, and the rest of the URL is for informational purposes. Note that Source is the same as Source0 (the 0 is optional).

  • Patch#—These entries denote the filenames of the patch files used during the build process. Patch is the same as Patch0.

Sections

Sections in the spec file begin with a section identifier and continue until the next section identifier. The section identifiers start with a percent sign.

Unfortunately, rpm uses a percent sign to indicate both section identifiers and directives in the %Prep and %Files sections, which can be confusing. Some packagers capitalize the first letter of section identifiers and leave directive names in all lowercase to distinguish the two in their spec files, but this is not universal.

Most sections in the spec file contain shell scripts that perform the actions required for that stage of the build process.

Sections Used During the Build Process

The following sections are used during the build process:

  • %Prep—This section contains a shell script to extract the source files and apply the patches. It is used during the prep stage.

  • %Build—This contains a shell script to build (compile) the software. It is used during the build stage.

  • %Install—This contains a shell script to install the software. This is used during the install stage. (You can probably see a pattern emerging here!)

  • %Files—This section contains a listing of the files and directories in the package.

  • %Clean—This optional section contains a shell script to clean up after a package build.

  • %Changelog—This contains changelog information about the SPEC file itself.

Sections for Package Scripts

The following scripts are not used at build time; they are inserted into the package and are used by the package manager on the end user's system when the package is installed, removed, or verified.

  • %Pre/%Post—Scripts to run on the end user's system before and after installing the package files.

  • %Preun/%Postun—Scripts to run on the end user's system before and after removing the package files.

  • %Triggerin/%Triggerun—Scripts to run when a specific package is installed and uninstalled. For example, these could be used by a mail client to add sendmail support whenever sendmail is installed.

  • %Triggerpostun—Script to run after a specific package is uninstalled (versus before the package is uninstalled, in the case of %Triggerun).

  • %Verify—Script to run on the end user's system to verify the package files. If empty, the default verification mechanism of RPM is used.

Helper Packages

It is common to have helper packages defined in a spec file. For example, if the package mypackage also has a mypackage-devel package, both will be described in the same spec file. Generally, the only thing that differs in the helper packages is the list of files and the information fields. To define the information fields for a helper package, the spec file uses the %package directive followed by the fields. After that, sections use the package's name to differentiate—for example:

%package devel
Summary: Development files for applications which will manipulate RPM packages.
Group: Development/Libraries
%ifos linux
Requires: python >= 1.5.1
%endif
%description devel
This package contains the RPM C library and header files.  These development files 
will simplify the process of writing programs that manipulate RPM packages and 
databases, and are intended to make it easier to create graphical package managers 
or any other tools that need an intimate knowledge of RPM packages to function.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020