Carbs Packaging Tools

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Carbs Packaging Tools

This is a reference document containing both the user-guide and the development manual for Carbs Packaging Tools. For development logs see the git repository.

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1 Preface

Carbs Linux uses its own package management toolchain named ‘cpt’ which was initially forked from the kiss package manager. Unlike ‘kiss’, however, its main goal is being easily extendable. Instead of being a single file package manager, it revolves around the shell library ‘cpt-lib’, and many tools that wrap around it. This document aims to document both the usage of the distributed tools and document the library functions.

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2 Usage

cpt’ is formed of many tools combined in a single environment, similar to ‘git’. When you run ‘cpt’ without any arguments, it will show all available tools and their explanations. Here is an example call with extra scripts on my system:

-> Carbs Packaging Tool
-> add               Commit the current directory as a new package
-> alternatives      List and swap to alternatives
-> build             Build a package
-> bump              Commit the current directory as a version bump
-> cargo-urlgen      Create static cargo sources for Rust packages
-> cargolock-urlgen  Convert the given Cargo.lock file to sources
-> cat               Concatanate package files in the installed package database
-> changelog         Print the git log of the specific package
-> chbuild           Create/destroy temporary chroots
-> checkmissing      Verify package manifests
-> checksum          Generate checksums
-> chroot            Enter a chroot
-> commit            Commit a package without the prefix of 'package:'
-> depends           Display a package's dependencies
-> download          Download sources for the given package
-> exec              Execute a command inside the alternatives system
-> export            Turn an installed package into a CPT tarball
-> fork              Fork a package to the current directory
-> getchoice         Prints the full path to a file in the alternatives system.
-> install           Install a package
-> link              Link a forked package's files to the other repository
-> list              List installed packages
-> maintainer        Find the maintainer of a package
-> manifest          Display all files owned by a package
-> manifest-tree     Display all files owned by a package with a tree view
-> new               Create a boilerplate CPT package
-> orphans           List orphaned packages
-> owns              Check which package owns a file
-> rel               Bump the release number of a package
-> remove            Remove a package
-> repodepends       Display a package's dependencies in the repository
-> reporevdepends    Display packages on the repository which depend on package
-> reset             Remove all packages except for the base
-> revdepends        Display packages which depend on package
-> search            Search for a package
-> size              Show the size on disk for a package
-> source            Extract sources of a given package to the current directory
-> update            Check for updates

The documentation of ‘cpt’ aims to keep tool flags and related usage information on concise manual pages, while moving the rest of the information to this User Manual to avoid unwarranted duplication. To learn more on a specific usage of a tool, use the man program:

man cpt-build

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3 Configuration

The package manager does NOT have a configuration file, but there are a variety of ways in order to interact with and configure the package manager.

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3.1 CPT Base

An ‘/etc/cpt-base’ file can be used in order to define the base to the package manager. Base packages are the packages that receive special treatment by utilities such as ‘cpt-reset’, and ‘cpt-orphans’.

# This file defines the base packages of the system. You can add or remove
# package names in order to redefine the base. This file will be used by
# cpt-orphans and cpt-reset. If this file doesn't exist on /etc/cpt-base, both
# of the tools will assume that there is no defined base, so use with caution.

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3.2 Environment Variables

Since there is no configuration file for ‘cpt’, the package manager is configured through environment variables. These can be set per operation, or be set to your shell configuration or ‘~/.profile’. Here are the environment variables that alter the behaviour of ‘cpt’, some of them have separate sections to provide detailed information.


Set the locations of your repositories. It is similar to the PATH variable.


The cache directory for ‘cpt’. Default: $XDG_CACHE_HOME/cpt.


If this is set to 0, a package installation will be aborted on conflicts.


If this is set to 1, ‘cpt’ tools will be forced to display coloured output. If set to 0, they will be forced to display them without colours. Otherwise, ‘cpt’ will output colour as long as it is outputting to a terminal.


If set to 1, temporary directories will not be removed after the operation.


If set to 0, cpt-update will not fetch repositories.


If set to 1, ‘cpt’ tools will force operation.


Absolute path to the package manager hook file.


If set to 1, ‘cpt’ will keep logs regardless of operation success.


Set the temporary build directory name.


If set to 0, ‘cpt’ will not prompt you for anything.


If this variable is set, ‘cpt’ will assume the given path as the system root.


If set to 1, cpt-build will run tests whenever available.


The directory to create the temporary directories.

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3.2.1 ‘CPT_PATH

Similar to the ‘PATH’ variable, ‘cpt’ find repositories from the ‘CPT_PATH’ variable. Here is an example:


This is a simplistic and a structured example for repository locations, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be as tidy as the example above. Here is an example for something a little more complex.


This example brings us to the next section of this document.

  1. Repository preferences

    When you are using multiple repositories from multiple vendors, you will find out that some repositories have the same packages. ‘cpt’ doesn’t care about conflicting packages. If you want to build a package that exists on multiple repositories, ‘cpt’ will build the first matching package. This means that if ‘grep’ package (for the sake of an example) exists on both ‘$HOME/repos/personal’ and ‘$HOME/repos/carbs/extra’, and you want to install from your personal repository, you must set ‘CPT_PATH’ so that your personal repository is listed before the ‘extra’ repository.

  2. Setting the ‘CPT_PATH

    You can set the ‘CPT_PATH’ variable on your shell configuration or your ‘.profile’ file in a way that is easy to read.

    The below example sets ‘CPT_PATH’ in a way that is easy to understand which repository comes first:

    export CPT_PATH

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When setting the ‘CPT_COMPRESS’ value, you should set the name of the default suffixes for the program. Available values are:

Defaults to ‘gz’.

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3.2.3 ‘CPT_FORCE

If this is set to 1, some of the ‘cpt’ tools will continue regardless of errors or skip certain checks. Here are some examples:

Defaults to 0.

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3.2.4 ‘CPT_PID

If this variable is set, the temporary files will be created with this variable as the suffix, instead of the PID of the ‘cpt’ process. The advantage is that you can know exactly where the build directory is located, while the disadvantage is that there will be issues with multiple operations at the same time. So the best way to use this variable is during one-time ‘cpt’ calls.

CPT_PID=mesa cpt b mesa

By running the above, you will know that the created build directories will end with the ‘*-mesa’ suffix.

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3.3 Hooks

Hooks can be used in order to change the runtime behaviour of the package manager. There are a variety of package hooks, mostly self explanatory:


Run just before the build script is run


Run after the build script is run successfully


Run if the build script fails


Run before the test script is run


Run if the test script fails


Run before a package is installed for each package


Run after a package is installed for each package


Run before a package is removed for each package


Run after a package is removed for each package


Run before all repositories are fetched


Run after all repositories are fetched


Run after a tarball for a package is created

In order to use hooks, you will need to set the ‘CPT_HOOK’ variable pointing to your hook file. Your hook file MUST be a POSIX shell script as its contents are sourced by the package manager.

The hook is given 3 variables when it is executed. Those are:


The type of the hook, (‘pre-build’, ‘post-build’, etc.)


The package that ‘cpt’ is currently working on. Can be null.


The destination of the operation. Can be null.

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3.4 Editing the build file during pre-build

You can edit the ‘build’ file during pre-build. The file is copied from the repository to the build directory named as ‘.build.cpt’. You can use ‘sed’ or any other tool to edit the build file. After the build is complete, a ‘diff’ file will be placed to the package database named as ‘build.diff’. Here is an example ‘build’ file manipulation during the pre-build hook.

cat <<EOF> .build.cpt
#!/bin/sh -e

for patch in bash50-0??; do
    patch -p0 < "\$patch"

export LDFLAGS=-static

./configure \
    --prefix=/usr \
    --without-bash-malloc \

export MAKEFLAGS="TERMCAP_LIB=/usr/lib/libncursesw.a $MAKEFLAGS"

make DESTDIR="\$1" install

ln -s bash "\$1/usr/bin/sh"

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4 Packaging System

A package is formed of several files, from these files, only build, checksums, and version files are mandatory.

This section talks about files that are interpreted specially by the package manager. Any other file can be added to the package directory at the discretion of the package maintainer. Everything in the package directory will also be added to the package database that is located on ‘/var/db/cpt/installed’. These can be patches, configuration files, etc.

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4.1 build

Typically ‘build’ files are shell scripts that run commands to prepare the source code to be installed on the target system. Even though we will be assuming that the ‘build’ file is a POSIX shell script (for portability’s sake), ‘build’ files can be any executable program from binary programs to ‘perl’ scripts.

The contents of a build script do not need to follow a certain rule for the package manager, except for the fact that the user needs the permission to execute the file.

An important advice is to append an ’-e’ to the shebang (#!/bin/sh -e) so that the build script exits on compilation error.

Build is run with three arguments (‘$#’)

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4.2 sources

sources’ file is a list of files and sources that will be put to the build directory during the build process. Those can be remote sources (such as tarballs), git repositories, and files that reside on the package directory.

The syntax is pretty simple for the ‘soures’ file; ‘src dest’. The ‘dest’ parameter is optional. It is the directory that the source will be placed in. Here is the ‘sources’ file for the ‘gst-plugins’ package: good   bad ugly               libav

This file is read from the package manager as space seperated. Files that begin with a ‘#’ comment are ignored. The first value points to the location of the source.

If it starts with a protcol url, (such as ftp:// http:// https://) it will be downloaded with ‘curl’.

If the source is a git repository, it shall be prefixed with a ‘git+’ git(1) will be used to do a shallow clone of the repository. If the commit is suffixed by a history pointer, git will checkout the relevant revision. So,


will checkout the tag named "v1.2.3"


will checkout the branch named "development"


will checkout the commit named "1a314s87"

Other files are assumed to be residing in the package directory. They should be added with their paths relative to the package directory.

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4.3 checksums

checksums’ file is generated by the cpt c pkg command. It is generated according to the order of the sources file. That’s why you shouldn’t be editing it manually. The checksums file is created with the digests of the files using the sha256 algorithm.

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4.4 version

The version file includes the version of the software and the release number of of the package on a space seperated format. The contents of the file should look like below.

1.3.2 1

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4.5 depends

This is a list of dependencies that must be installed before a package build. You can append "make" after a dependency to mark a package is only required during the build process of a package. Packages marked as a make dependency can be removed after the build. There are also "test" dependencies. These dependencies are only installed if either the ‘CPT_TEST’ is set to 1, or the build is run with the ‘-t’ or ‘--test’ options. So, a package package could have the following ‘depends’ file:

linux-headers make
python        test

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4.6 meta

meta’ is a non-mandatory package file that can be used to provide information otherwise non-relevant to the functions of the package manager. This file can later be queried with the pkg_query_meta() function. The file has a simple markup format, it must adhere to the ‘KEY: VAL’ format. An example for the ‘cpt’ package would be as follows:

description: Carbs Packaging Tools
license: MIT
maintainer: Linux User <>

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4.7 post-install

post-install’ files have the same requirements as the build script. They will be run after the package is installed as root (or as the user if the user has write permissions on ‘CPT_ROOT’).

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4.8 message

This plaintext file will be outputted with ‘cat’ after every package is installed.

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4.9 test

Test files are mainly for the repository maintainer to test the packages, and will only run if the user has the ‘CPT_TEST’ variable set, or the build is run with the ‘-t’ or ‘--test’ options. This script is run on the build directory. It is run right after the build script is finished.

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5 Rsync Repositories

Rsync repositories are simple to serve and simple to use. In the repository directory, there needs to be a ‘.rsync’ file that points to the remote of the repository. This is used in order to fetch changes from the upstream. ‘.rsync’ file looks like this for the core repository:


Rsync repositories have some few distinctions when it comes to fetching them. They can be either synced individually or as a "root". There are 2 important files, those are ‘.rsync’ and ‘.rsync_root’. Here is the Carbs Linux rsync repository structure.

  |                |
.rsync           core/
          |              |
        .rsync      .rsync_root

Unlike git repositories, they don’t have a defined "root" directory. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. This way, we can sync individual repositories, but that also means we need extra files to define root directories and repository locations. Here is the content for each of these files:

/.rsync:           rsync://
/core/.rsync:      rsync://
/core/.rsync_root: ..

The ‘.rsync_root’ file on the core repository points to the upper directory. If a ‘.rsync’ file exists on the upper directory, this means that is the whole repository and will sync the entire repository instead of each individual repository.

If the upper directory doesn’t have this ‘.rsync’ file, this means that this is an individual repository, and the package manager will fetch accordingly.

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5.1 Setting up an Rsync repository

Carbs Linux repositories automatically sync from the git repostitories and serve it through the rsync daemon. Here is a sample shell script that I use in order to sync repositories. Feel free to customize for your own use.

git -C "$GITDIR" pull

rsync -avcC --delete --include=core --exclude=.rsync,.rsync_root "$GITDIR/." "$SHAREDIR"

printf '%s\n' "$HOSTNAME" > "$GITDIR/.rsync"
for dir in "$GITDIR/"*; do
    [ -d "$dir" ] || continue
    [ -f "$dir/.rsync" ] ||
    printf '%s/%s\n' "$HOSTNAME" "${dir##*/}" > "$dir/.rsync"
    printf '..\n' > "$dir/.rsync_root"

You can then create an rsync user for serving the repositories.

$ adduser -SD rsync

Create ‘/etc/rsyncd.conf’ and a service configuration as well.

uid = rsync
gid = rsync
address =
max connections = 10
use chroot = yes

    path = /pub/share/repo
    comment = My repository

Create a service file at ‘/etc/sv/rsync/run’ (runit):

#!/bin/sh -e
exec rsync --daemon --no-detach

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6 Comparison Between CPT and KISS

Lots of things have changed since cpt was forked from kiss in terms of functionalities and ideals. This section aims to describe the similarities and differences of both package managers as neutral as possible. Keep in mind that this is the cpt documentation, so it may be biased regardless.

Package Manager

While kiss aims to be a simple single file package manager, cpt aims to be an extendable package manager library. kiss has all of its features built-in, while cpt has all of its features separated into small tools. These tools can be called from the main cpt tool (in order to keep kiss-like usage) or with their names directly (e.g cpt-build).


Neither kiss nor cpt use configuration files. Instead, they are configured through environment variables. Additionally, all cpt tools can receive flags that alter their functionality. kiss does not accept flags.

Package Repositories

In addition to git repositories, cpt also makes use of rsync repositories.

Package Sources

In addition to git repositories for sources, cpt also supports mercurial repositories.

Post-Installation Messages

kiss and cpt interact with ‘post-install’ messages differently. kiss does not differentiate between post-installation scripts and post-installation messages, and will save the output of all scripts named ‘post-install’ to be printed after the installation of all packages are complete. cpt on the other hand, separates these with the ‘message’ file. cpt runs ‘post-install’ without saving the output to be printed a second time. It instead prints all ‘message’ files after the installation is over.


kiss aims to be as portable as possible. cpt aims to be portable, but favours performance. cpt depends on rsync for package installation, while kiss has removed the dependency in favour of portability.

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7 CPT Library

cpt-lib’ is the library of Carbs Packaging Tools which can be used to extend the functionality of the package manager. This is the API documentation of the package manager library.

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7.1 Calling the library

You can call the library on your scripts by adding the following line to your files:

#!/bin/sh -e
. cpt-lib

This will load the library inside your script, and will set some environment variables that are used inside the package manager.

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7.2 Option parsing

cpt-lib’ includes a POSIX-shell option parser inside named ‘getoptions’. You can see its own documentation for writing an option parser. The built-in version of the ‘getoptions’ library is 2.5.0 and there are no plans for updating it apart from bug fixes.

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7.2.1 Defining a parser

Some functions are called and set automatically when you call ‘cpt-lib’, so you shouldn’t define the option parser after calling the library, as some of the variables will already be set.

If the function ‘parser_definition()’ as defined when ‘cpt-lib’ is called, cpt-lib will handle the option parsing itself by calling ‘getoptions’ inside. Here is the proper way of doing it.

#!/bin/sh -e

parser_definition() {
    # The rest arguments MUST be defined as 'REST'
    setup REST help:usage                  -- "usage: ${0##*/} [options] [pkg...]"
    msg                                    -- '' 'Options:'
    flag CPT_TEST -t export:1 init:@export -- "Enable tests"


. cpt-lib

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7.2.2 ‘global_options()

The ‘global_options()’ function is a simple convenience call to include flags that can be used inside most ‘cpt’ tools. It defines the following flags:

FlagLong OptionCalls

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7.3 Message functions

cpt’ has various functions to print information to users.

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7.3.1 ‘out()

out()’ is a really simple function that prints messages to the standard output. It prints every argument with a newline. It is not meant to communicate with the user, it just exists to have a simple function to interact with other functions.

$ out "This is an example call" "How are you?"
This is an example call
How are you?

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7.3.2 ‘log()

log()’ is the most commonly used message function in the package manager. It is used to pretty print messages with visual cues, so it is easier to read and understand for the users. It changes message output for each argument it receives (takes up to three arguments).

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7.3.3 ‘die()

die()’ wraps the ‘log()’ function and exits with an error (1). It takes one or two arguments, which are sent to the ‘log()’ function. The third argument for ‘log()’ is set as ‘!>’.

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7.3.4 ‘warn()

warn()’ is another function that wraps ‘log()’. In place of the third argument, it uses the word ‘WARNING’.

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7.3.5 ‘prompt()

prompt()’ is an interactive function that waits for user input to continue. It takes a single argument string to print a message, and then asks the user whether they want to continue or not. Prompts can be disabled by the user if they use a flag to disable them or set ‘CPT_PROMPT’ to 0.

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7.4 Text functions

Following functions are used to manipulate, check, or interact with text.

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7.4.1 ‘contains()

contains’ function can be used to check whether a list variable contains a given string. If the string is inside the list, it will return 0, otherwise 1.

# Usage
contains "$LIST" foo

contains "foo bar" foo  # Returns 0
contains "foo bar" baz  # Returns 1

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7.4.2 ‘regesc()

regesc()’ can be used to escape regular expression characters that are defined in POSIX BRE. Those characters are, ‘$’, ‘.’, ‘*’, ‘[’, ‘\\’, and ‘^’.

regesc '^[$\'  # Returns \^\[\$\\

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7.4.3 ‘pop()

pop()’ can be used to remove a word from a "string list" without a ‘sed’ call. Word splitting is intentional when using this function.

# Usage
pop foo from $LIST

pop foo from foo baz bar # Returns baz bar

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7.4.4 ‘sepchar()

This function can be used to separate characters from the given string without resorting to external resources.

sepchar mystring
# Prints:
# m
# y
# s
# t
# r
# i
# n
# g

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7.5 Portability functions

These helper functions are used so that we don’t depend on non-POSIX programs for certain functionality. They are prefixed with the ‘_’ character.

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7.5.1 ‘_seq()

This function is similar to ‘seq(1)’ except that it only takes a single argument and doesn’t print any newlines. It is suitable to be used in ‘for’ loops.

_seq 5
# Prints:
# 1 2 3 4 5

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7.5.2 ‘_stat()

This function imitates ‘stat %U’. ‘stat’ isn’t defined by POSIX, and this is also a GNU extension. This function returns the owner of a file. If the owner cannot be found, it will return ‘root’.

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7.5.3 ‘_readlinkf()

This function was taken from POSIX sh readlinkf library by Koichi Nakashima. ‘readlink’ is also not defined by POSIX, so this function uses ‘ls’ to follow symbolic links until it reaches the actual file.

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7.6 System Functions

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7.6.1 ‘as_root()

as_root()’ calls the rest of the arguments as a different user. Unless a $user environment variable is set, it will call the following arguments as the root user. It supports the following programs for privilege escalation with the following order:

  1. ssu
  2. sudo
  3. doas
  4. su

The program called for this operation can be overridden using the $CPT_SU variable.

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7.7 Package Functions

Obviously, package functions are the most important ones for ‘cpt-lib’, those are the ones you will use to build, to query, to manipulate, or to otherwise interact with packages.

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7.7.1 ‘pkg_build()

This function builds all given packages. It resolves dependencies for the given packages, lints the package, extracts its sources and runs the build script.

# Example

# Create the cache directories first, this is where the package will be built.

# Build the package(s) you want to build.
pkg_build cpt

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7.7.2 ‘pkg_depends()

This function calculates the dependencies for the requested package, returning the variable $deps. This variable can then be passed to pkg_order() in order to generate an ordered list for building packages.

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7.7.3 ‘pkg_order()

This function receives package names and returns $order and $redro variables that can be used for building and removing packages.

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7.7.4 ‘pkg_owner()

This function can be used to determine the owner of a package. The first argument is used for flags that will be passed to ‘grep’, and the second one is for the file query. Rest of the arguments can be used in order to specify the manifests to be used, but it is optional. ‘pkg_owner()’ will search for all the installed packages if no other arguments are given.

# Example
pkg_owner -lFx /usr/bin/grep  # Returns 'busybox'

# An example call made by `pkg_fix_deps()` to figure out whether the built
# package contains the file it depends.
pkg_owner -l "/${dep#/}\$" "$PWD/manifest" >/dev/null && continue
pkg_owner -l "/${dep#/}\$" "$@" ||:

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7.7.5 ‘pkg_isbuilt()

This function returns with success when the given package has a built tarball with the matching version and release strings from the repository.

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7.7.6 ‘pkg_lint()

This function checks whether a given package fits the proper package specification. This function does not return with failure, it exits outright if it fails.

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7.7.7 ‘pkg_find()

pkg_find()’ is the tool for searching packages. It accepts up to 3 arguments.

$1: Query

This is the only mandatory argument. It accepts globbing, meaning that shell wildcards can be used in the query.

$2: Match

If this exists ‘pkg_find()’ will print every single match found in the search path. If it doesn’t, ‘pkg_find()’ will print the first match and exit.

$3: Type

This is the argument to be passed to the ‘test’ function. Unless this argument is given, it defaults to ‘-d’, which tests for directories.

# Returns the first match of cpt
pkg_find cpt

# Returns all matches of cpt
pkg_find cpt all

# Returns all globbed matches for cpt* (e.g. cpt and cpt-extra)
pkg_find 'cpt*' all

# Returns all matching cpt-* executables on user's PATH
SEARCH_PATH=$PATH pkg_find 'cpt-*' all -x

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7.7.8 ‘pkg_get_base()

This function returns the base packages as defined in ‘/etc/cpt-base’. If an optional argument is present, it will print all package names in a single line. If it is not given any arguments, it will return one package per line. See CPT Base for more information on base packages.

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7.7.9 ‘pkg_gentree()

This function generates a dependency tree for the given package. The output and the dependency generation can be configured through a series of keys given as the second argument. Those keys are:


Include the base packages to the dependency tree.


Include the given package itself to the generated tree.


Do not include make dependencies of the package.


Print the generated tree in reverse order.


Print all packages in a single line instead of a package per line.

  1. Examples

    This example uses the ‘cpt’ package for Carbs Linux. The package itself is listed to depend on ‘curl’ and ‘rsync’. Here is the output of calling the function for cpt directly:

    $ pkg_gentree cpt

    The example above shows that even though ‘cpt’ itself only depends on ‘curl’ and ‘rsync’, we also indirectly need ‘zlib’, ‘bearssl’ (for ‘curl’), and ‘ca-certificates’ (for ‘bearssl’).

    # Print the dependency tree reverse sorted in a single line:
    $ pkg_gentree cpt rn
    rsync curl zlib ca-certificates bearssl

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7.7.10 ‘pkg_query_meta()

This function is used to query the meta file inside package directories. It can be used to retrieve information on a package that is otherwise irrelevant to the package manager itself. It takes two arguments, first being the package and the second being the key to be retrieved. If the package does not have a ‘meta’ file or the file does not contain the requested key, the function will return with 1.

$ pkg_query_meta cpt description
Carbs Packaging Tools