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The prep section

The prep section, short for prepare, defines the commands necessary to prepare for the build. If you are starting with a compressed tar archive (a tarball) of the sources, the prep section needs to extract the sources.
For example:
%prep
%setup -q
The prep section starts with a %prep statement.
This example uses the %setup RPM macro, which knows about tar archives, to extract the files. In most cases, this will be all you need in your spec file prep section.