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vpackager user guide

Since the beginning, the goal for this application has been to make it easy for ordinary users to install and compile software from source. The new vpackager does this like no other release.

How to use it

After opening vpackager, you will be greeted with the job queue, which will normally be empty. At this point, you can click the "New Job" button to add a new job to the queue.

The Job Queue

The job queue displays a list of jobs waiting to be processed by vpackager. Jobs can be added by clicking the 'New Job' button at the bottom of the job queue tab. When jobs are present in the job queue, you may right-click on any job to see available options like view job details, edit the job, or remove it from the queue.

NOTE: Adding a new job does not automatically start the build process. After adding a job, you still need to click the 'Start' button towards the top-right corner of the window to start the build processes.

You may continue to add jobs while the queue is being processed.

When you click on "New Job" a new window appears asking for information about the application to be compiled. Below is a list of the components of this window and the acceptable values to be entered there.

  • Source Archive:
    • The source archive field will accept a valid absolute path to a compress source archive or an URL to a direct download of the source code.
    • You may also click the 'Browse' button to select a local source archive.
      • When the 'Browse' feature is used to select a local source archive, the 'Application' and 'Version' fields are automatically filled in, However, if a correction is necessary, you may change the values on these fields as necessary.
  • Package Description:
    • Again, you may enter a URL to the direct download link of the slack-desc or use the 'Browse' button to select a local file.
  • Application:
    • Name of the application to be compiled. ( If the source was selected using the 'Browse' button, this should already be filled in.) This field must be manually filled in when using an URL as the source.
  • Version:
    • Version number of the application to be compiled. ( If the source was selected using the 'Browse' button, this should already b e filled in.) This field must be manually filled in when using an URL as the source.
  • Release:
    • Select a package release number from the drop-down menu. Values should be between 1 and 4 at the present time.
  • Source Type:
    • Select the type of source code contained in the source package. This value defaults to 'Auto' which means that vpackager will try to determine the correct source type when you use the 'Browse' button to select a source archive. Most packages will build fine with this option, because the default and most common source type is the type that builds using the GNU autotools set of tools.
    • When using an URL in the source archive field, you must find out what type of source code is in the tarball, and select the appropriate value from this dropdown list. Leaving it at the default value will make vpackager assume it needs to run ./configure && make && make install.
  • Advanced Options:
    As the term suggests, this section is for rare cases where you may need to do something out of the ordinary to build a package. This section is completely optional and not needed in most cases. The advanced options expander contains provisions to do the following
    • Add custom configure options (autoconf style builds only)
    • Specify a post-install script for the package being added to the job queue (
    • Add patches to be applied to the source code (patch support limited to .diff patches only)
  • Install this package after it is compiled:
    This option automatically installs the package to the system upon a successful build. This option is useful when you are building a series of packages that depend on others. For instance, if you have to build package X, but package X depends on package A, you would check this option for package A so that when vpackager gets to build package X, the dependency is filled.

The Job History

The job history is just like the job queue, except it displays a list of jobs that have already been processed. Towards the bottom of the list, you can click 'Wipe History' to delete the entire job history, or you can filter the visible jobs by result.

You can right-click on any job listed in the history to view the build log, view all details about that particular job, or you may select to 'rebuild' the job. This feature is handy when you are building a new version of a package that has already been built before. You just update the 'Source Archive' field to point to the new version, you may leave the description in place, and update the 'Version' field. After that, your new job is ready to be processed.

The Terminal Output

This is just the stout of the job that is currently running (if any). Meant for observation only (because I enjoy watching lines of text scroll down my screen). Everything that goes through this window is logged after the job is complete. This text area will clear up every time a new job starts processing.

Application Settings

If you click on Edit -> Preferences from the menu, you see a new window that allows you set some global configuration settings. The vpackager configuration is kept in /etc/vpackager.cfg

Settings Explained

  • Packager Name:
    • Enter your packager name here. Every package you build is tagged with your packager name. This helps keep record of who maintains what.
  • Build Directory:
    • This is where the sources are built. It really makes no difference to vpackager, so it defaults to /tmp/vpackager but you may choose to build stuff in a different place.
  • Database Location:
    • vpackager uses a sqlite database to maintain the job queue and job history. This setting tells vpackager where you want this database kept in your system. Defaults to /tmp.