Thursday, February 02, 2017

Creating a Tribblix package repository

I've previously described how Tribblix packages are built.

The output of that process should be a zap file, which is an SVR4 package in filesystem format, zipped up. The file naming convention is


Where PKG_NAME is the SVR4 name of the package (you can define aliases to be more user-friendly), VERSION is obvious - but has to match the installed version as shown, for example, by 'pkginfo -x'.

You can install those packages directly. There's a little helper /usr/lib/zap/instzap that will automate the process of unpacking the zap file and running pkgadd on it, or you can do it by hand.

You don't have to use my tooling. If you've got a scheme for building SVR4 packages already, then you could simply convert those.

However, what you would really want to do is stick the packages in a repository somewhere, so they can be accessed using the normal zap commands.

In Tribblix, a repository is just a web-accessible location that contains the zap files and minimal metadata. The metadata is the catalog and a list of aliases.

The aliases file contains lines with two fields separated by a vertical pipe "|". The first field is the friendly alias, the second the real name of the package. If you want multiple aliases, just add multiple lines to the file.

The catalog file contains lines with 5 fields separated by a vertical pipe "|".The first field is the package name, the second the current version, the third a space-separated list of packages this package depends on, the fourth the size of the file in bytes, the fifth is an MD5 checksum of the file. There's a trailing "|" in this case to terminate the line. The size and checksum are used to verify the download was successful and didn't corrupt the file. If you want to be sure that it's actually the package it claims to be then packages can also be signed.

Here's an example line in the catalog:
So the TRIBabook package has a current version of, depends on the TRIBreadline package, and has the given size and checksum. It's in the file called TRIBabook.

The build repo has scripts that create the catalog and aliases files, which I use for convenience. They do make some assumptions about my package build pipeline, so it might be easier to manage the files by hand.

So, having got a nice place on the web that has your packages and a catalog and some aliases, how does Tribblix know to use it?

Assuming your repository is called myrepo, you need to add a file /etc/zap/repositories/myrepo.repo, containing something like the following (which is the configuration for the main tribblix repo in the milestone 18 release)

DESC=Tribblix packages

If you aren't signing packages (and how to add the keys to the client is an exercise for the reader) then omit the SIGNED line. The NAME in this case would be myrepo, the DESC is whatever you make it, and the URL points at the directory containing the files.

That's almost it. The other thing you need to do is add the repository to the list of repos that zap will search, which is held in the /etc/zap/repo.list file. By default, this contains

100 tribblix
200 illumos
300 oi

That's a simple list, and the number is a priority, lower numbers have higher priority - they're searched first.

(What the priority scheme means is that if you have a package with the same name in multiple repos, the one in the highest priority repo is the one that will be used. For example, the ssh packages used to come from illumos. As we've moved to openssh, all I had to do was put the new openssh packages into the tribblix repo with the same package names they had before and they were installed instead. Of course, you have to be careful that the replacement package delivers the correct functionality, especially if it's delivering shared libraries.)

If your package names are unique to you (for instance, if you name them MYPKGfoo rather than TRIBfoo) then the priority doesn't matter. If you're deliberately trying to override some of the built-in packages, then your repo has to be the highest priority one so it gets searched first.

If you then utter 'zap refresh' it should go and retrieve the catalog and aliases files and then be set up to use them.

And yes, it would be nice if zap had the facility to manage repos for you - that's planned, I just need to implement it.