A quick handbook to help Venom Linux user

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Writing ports

Venom Linux use port-like recipe to create packages. pkgbuild and spkgbuild is used to create packages. pkgbuild is a bash script that sourcing spkgbuild before creating packages. spkgbuild a recipe contains all information and build command on how to build packages.

In this guide i will use dfc as example. dfc is a commandline tool to displays file system space usage using graphs and colors. dfc website is https://projects.gw-computing.net/projects/dfc and the source tarball is https://projects.gw-computing.net/attachments/download/615/dfc-3.1.1.tar.gz got from the website.


Note: Install it using scratch if not installed yet.

Create local repository

I’m suggesting you to create a local repository to store all of your own ports. I’m gonna create local repository in $HOME and cd into it.

$ mkdir myports
$ cd myports
$ pwd

Create ports template

Theres a tool called portcreate in scratchpkg-utils package. Use it to create initial template for your port then cd into its directory. The usage is portcreate <pkg>.

$ portcreate dfc
Template port have created for 'dfc'.
$ cd dfc
$ pwd

The template created as follows:

# description   :
# homepage      :
# maintainer	:
# depends       :


build() {
        cd $name-$version
        ./configure --prefix=/usr
        make DESTDIR=$PKG install

spkgbuild format

Note: Port’s name must be lower-case and cannot contain spaces or hyphens (-). Using sed to correct this is common.

Note: If upstream uses a timestamp versioning such as 30102014, ensure to use the reversed date, i.e. 20141030 (ISO 8601 format). Otherwise it will not appear as a newer version.

Note: For source="", use <new-source-name>::<source-url> to save source file with different name.

Example: source=”$name-$version.tar.gz::https://github.com/Rolinh/dfc/archive/v${version}.tar.gz”

Package options

This options is set in /etc/scratchpkg.conf for global options:


For per package, set options in package’s spkgbuild.


Add ! in front of options to disable it, example for disable strip and remove empty directory in package (per package) as follows:

options="!strip !emptydirs"

Available options:

libtool:     Keep libtool file (*.la) in packages.
emptydirs:   Keep empty directories in packages.
strip:       Strip symbols from binaries/libraries.
zipman:      Compress manual (man and info) pages with gzip.
buildflags:  Enable buildflags (CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS).
makeflags:   Enable makeflags (MAKEFLAGS).
checksum:    Enable checking checksum.

Edit spkgbuild

Edit spkgbuild to insert needed variable, information and build commands. Use your favourite text editor to edit it.

$ vim spkgbuild

Heres is the result of dfc’s spkgbuild:

# description	: Commandline tool to displays file system space usage using graphs and colors
# homepage	: https://projects.gw-computing.net/projects/dfc
# maintainer	: Emmett1, emmett1.2miligrams@gmail.com
# depends	: cmake


build() {
	cd $name-$version

	cmake . -DPREFIX=/usr \
        make DESTDIR=$PKG install

	# remove unused stuff
        rm -r $PKG/usr/share/{doc,locale} $PKG/{usr/share/man,etc/xdg/dfc}/{fr,nl}

Ok now spkgbuild is complete. Its time to build package.

Note: pkgbuild required root access to build package to get right root id for files in package. But for new port, its recommend using fakeroot to build it, incase something is wrong in spkgbuild, it will not harm your system.

Now run fakeroot pkgbuild inside port’s directory to build it.

$ fakeroot pkgbuild
==> Downloading 'https://projects.gw-computing.net/attachments/download/615/dfc-3.1.1.tar.gz'.
--2019-12-16 14:11:54--  https://projects.gw-computing.net/attachments/download/615/dfc-3.1.1.tar.gz
Resolving projects.gw-computing.net (projects.gw-computing.net)...
Connecting to projects.gw-computing.net (projects.gw-computing.net)||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: unspecified [application/gzip]
Saving to: '/mnt/data/venom/sources/dfc-3.1.1.tar.gz.partial'

/mnt/data/venom/sources/dfc-     [   <=>                                        ]  51.47K  45.0KB/s    in 1.1s

2019-12-16 14:11:58 (45.0 KB/s) - '/mnt/data/venom/sources/dfc-3.1.1.tar.gz.partial' saved [52709]
==> Unpacking 'dfc-3.1.1.tar.gz'...
==> Start build 'dfc-3.1.1-1'.
+ build
+ cd dfc-3.1.1
CMake Warning (dev) at /usr/share/cmake-3.16/Modules/Compiler/ADSP-DetermineCompiler.cmake:4 (set):
  Policy CMP0053 is not set: Simplify variable reference and escape sequence
  evaluation.  Run "cmake --help-policy CMP0053" for policy details.  Use the
  cmake_policy command to set the policy and suppress this warning.

  For input:

    #if defined(__VISUALDSPVERSION__)
      /* __VISUALDSPVERSION__ = 0xVVRRPP00 */
-- Installing: /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/doc/dfc/README.md
-- Installing: /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/doc/dfc/TRANSLATORS.md
-- Installing: /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/locale/fr/LC_MESSAGES/dfc.mo
-- Installing: /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/locale/nl/LC_MESSAGES/dfc.mo
+ rm -r /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/doc /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/locale /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/man/fr /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/usr/share/man/nl /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/etc/xdg/dfc/fr /mnt/data/venom/work/dfc/pkg/etc/xdg/dfc/nl
==> Build 'dfc-3.1.1-1' success.
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 etc/
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 etc/xdg/
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 etc/xdg/dfc/
-rw-r--r-- root/root      1672 2017-09-09 15:11 etc/xdg/dfc/dfcrc
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 usr/
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 usr/share/
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 usr/share/man/
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 usr/share/man/man1/
-rw-r--r-- root/root      2473 2017-09-09 15:11 usr/share/man/man1/dfc.1.gz
drwxrwxr-x root/root         0 2019-12-16 14:19 usr/bin/
-rwxr-xr-x root/root     51984 2019-12-16 14:19 usr/bin/dfc
==> Successfully created package 'dfc-3.1.1-1.spkg.tar.xz'. (21K)

If nothing goes wrong, you will succeed build the package. Then you can install it using pkgbuild -i. This time you really need root to install to real system, use sudo.

$ sudo pkgbuild -i

Also you can install using pkgadd <pkg.spkg.tar.xz>. By default, fetched source will be in /var/cache/scratchpkg/sources and created package will be in /var/cache/scratchpkg/packages directory. You can modify this location in scratchpkg config file, /etc/scratchpkg.conf.

Install script

Install scripts is a shell script contains command need to run before/after install/upgrade/remove packages in system. The name of install script is install. This install script need to placed in port directory and later will included in compressed package.

This script is executed using sh. Argument is passed when this script is executed on each operation (install, remove and upgrade).


$1 : pre-install/post-install
$2 : version


$1 : pre-upgrade/post-upgrade
$2 : version
$3 : old version


$1 : pre-remove/post-remove
$2 : old version

Example of install script for dbus:

# package install script


case $action in
                getent group messagebus >/dev/null || groupadd -g 18 messagebus
                getent passwd messagebus >/dev/null || useradd -c "D-Bus Message Daemon User" -d /var/run/dbus -u 18 -g messagebus -s /bin/false messagebus
                dbus-uuidgen --ensure