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This chapter covers spec files, the files that define how to build packages. Start your spec file by defining package information, such as the name, version, and release number. You can also add a detailed description to help administrators decide whether to install your packages.
You need to name all of the source and patch files used to build the package. In most cases, the source files are compressed tar archives. After naming all the sources and patches, you need to control how the rpmbuild command should build your package. This comes in four sections.
The %prep section prepares for the build by extracting the source files and applying patches. The %build section defines the commands to build the software, normally something as simple as running a configure script and then the make command. The %install section contains the commands for installing the software. And, the %clean section provides commands to clean up after the build.
For these sections, you can use handy RPM macros for common tasks, such as running the configure script or the make install command. You can also define scripts the rpm command should run before and after installing, as well as before and after removing the package.
Spec files contain a listing of all the files that should go into the package, as well as where those files should be placed on the user’s hard disk.
You can define RPM macros in your spec files to make commands that can work with different directory structures as well as simplify common commands.
While it may seem that this chapter described a great many options for making spec files, there’s more to come. The next chapter covers advanced spec file topics such as triggers, conditional builds, and specifying dependencies.