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The Package System


The package system (pkgutils) is made with simplicity in mind, where all packages are plain tar.gz files (i.e. without any kind of meta data).

Packages follow the naming convention <name>#<version>-<release>.pkg.tar.gz, where <name> is the name of the program, <version> is the version number of the program, and <release> is the version number of the package.
The pkg.tar.gz extension is used (instead of just tar.gz) to indicate that this is not just any tar.gz file, but a tar.gz that is meant to be installed using pkgadd. This helps distinguish packages from other tar.gz files. Note that pkgmk nowadays supports additional compression schemes like bzip2 with the tar.bz2 extension or XZ ending with tar.xz.

pkgadd(8), pkgrm(8), pkginfo(8), and pkgmk(8) are the package management utilities. With these utilities you can install, uninstall, inspect, make packages, or query the package database.

When a package is installed using pkgadd a new record is added to the package database (stored in /var/lib/pkg/db). The basic package system does not have any kind of dependency checking, thus it will not warn you if you try to build a package that requires libraries or headers from other packages. Your mistake will only be revealed when the pkgmk build function exits with errors. The included prt-get tool, however, can be told to resolve dependencies, if called with prt-get depinst rather than simply prt-get install.

The following sections will in describe in short how to use the package utilities. Additional information about these utilities can be found on their respective man pages.

Using the Package System

Installing a Package

Installing a package is done by using pkgadd. This utility requires at least one argument, the package you want to install. Example:

 $ pkgadd bash#5.0.18-1.pkg.tar.gz

When installing a package the package manager will ensure that no existing files are overwritten. If conflicts are found, an error message will be printed and pkgadd will abort without installing the package. The error message will contain the names of the conflicting files. Example:

 $ pkgadd bash#5.0.18-1.pkg.tar.gz
 pkgadd error: listed file(s) already installed (use -f to ignore and overwrite)
No such error message is issued for already-existing directories, since the package database allows a directory to be associated with more than one package. However, the owner/group and permissions of an existing directory will not be changed to match those of the requested package.

To force the installation when conflicting files are reported, you can use the option -f (or --force). Example:

 $ pkgadd -f bash#5.0.18-1.pkg.tar.gz

The package system allows a file to be owned by exactly one package. When forcing an installation the ownership of the conflicting files will be transferred to the package that is currently being installed.


It is often not a good idea to force the installation unless you really know what you are doing. If a package conflicts with already installed files it could be a sign that the package is broken and installs unexpected files. Use this option with extreme care, preferably not at all.

As earlier, the package file itself does not contain any meta data. Instead, the package manager uses the package filename to determine the package name and version. Thus, when installing a package file named bash#5.0.18-1.pkg.tar.gz, the package manager will interpret this as a package named bash at version 5.0.18-1. If pkgadd is unable to interpret the filename (e.g. # is missing or the filename does not end with .pkg.tar.gz) an error message will be printed and pkgadd will abort without installing the package.

Upgrading a Package

Upgrading a package is done using pkgadd with the -u option. Example:

 $ pkgadd -u bash#5.0.18-1.pkg.tar.gz

This will replace the previously installed bash package with the new one. If you have not previously installed bash, pkgadd will print an error message. The package system does not care about the version number of the package in that you can “upgrade” version 5.0.18-1 with version 5.0.16-1 (or even with version 5.0.18-1 itself). The installed package will be replaced with the specified package.

Upgrading a package is not simply a wrapper for pkgrm followed by pkgadd, because you usually want to preserve your customizations of the config and log files that are owned by the already-installed package. Therefore, pkgadd -u conducts some upgrade-specific checks of the filesystem and the package database to construct what is called a “keep list” (in addition to the “non-install list” which is initialized for every pkgadd transaction). The construction of both lists is governed by the file /etc/pkgadd.conf.

/etc/pkgadd.conf can contain rules describing how pkgadd should behave when installing or upgrading any package. A rule is built out of three fragments; event, pattern and action. The event names the kind of operation (INSTALL or UPGRADE) to which this rule will be applied. The pattern is a filename pattern expressed as a regular expression and the action applicable to the INSTALL or UPGRADE event is YES or NO. More than one rule of the same event type is allowed, in which case the first rule will have the lowest priority and the last rule will have the highest priority.

 # /etc/pkgadd.conf: pkgadd(8) configuration

 UPGRADE         ^etc/.*$                NO
 UPGRADE         ^var/log/.*$            NO
 UPGRADE         ^etc/X11/.*$            YES
 UPGRADE         ^etc/X11/xorg.conf$     NO

 # End of file

The above example will cause pkgadd to never upgrade anything in /etc/ or /var/log/ (subdirectories included), except files in /etc/X11/ (subdirectories included), unless it is the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf. The default rule is to upgrade everything, rules in this file are exceptions to that rule.


A pattern should never contain an initial “/” since you are referring to the files in the package, not the files on the disk.

If pkgadd finds that a specific file should not be upgraded, it will install it under /var/lib/pkg/rejected/. Files in this directory are never added to the package database. The user is then free to examine, use and/or remove that file manually. Another option is to use rejmerge. For each rejected file found in /var/lib/pkg/rejected/, rejmerge will display the difference between the installed version and the rejected version. The user can then choose to keep the installed version, upgrade to the rejected version or perform a merge of the two. Example (using the above /etc/pkgadd.conf):

 $ pkgadd -u ports#1.6-3.pkg.tar.gz
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/compat-32.rsync.inactive, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/contrib.rsync.inactive, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/core.rsync, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/opt.rsync, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/, keeping existing version
 pkgadd: rejecting etc/ports/xorg.rsync, keeping existing version

 $ tree -L 3 /var/lib/pkg/rejected/

If this pkgadd.conf had been in place during an upgrade from CRUX 3.6 to 3.7, and you neglected to check the contents of /var/lib/pkg/rejected/ (either manually or by running rejmerge), then ports -u would synchronize your ports tree with the older branch! Hence you should always pay attention to warnings and errors reported by pkgadd.

Removing a Package

Removing a package is done by using pkgrm. This utility requires one argument, the name of the package you want to remove. Example:

 $ pkgrm bash


This will remove all files owned by the package, no questions asked. Think twice before doing it and make sure that you did not misspell the package name since that could remove something completely different (e.g. think about what could happen if you misspelled glib as glibc).

Querying the Package Database

Querying the package database is done using pkginfo. This utility has a few options to answer different queries.

-i, --installedList installed packages and their version.
-l, --list package|fileList files owned by the specified package or contained in file
-o, --owner patternList owner(s) of file(s) matching pattern.


 $ pkginfo -i
 acl 2.3.1-1
 alsa-utils 1.2.7-1
 yasm 1.3.0-2
 zip 3.0-2
 zlib 1.2.12-1
 zstd 1.5.2-1
 $ pkginfo -l bash
 $ pkginfo -l grep#3.7-1.pkg.tar.gz
 $ pkginfo -o bin/ls
 e2fsprogs  usr/bin/lsattr
 fileutils  bin/ls
 modutils   sbin/lsmod

Package Management Frontend: prt-get

In its current form pkgutils does not have a concept of dependency handling. To address this a frontend utility called prt-get was created. It supports dependency handling (with the caveat mentioned below) as well as some overlap with pkgutils features and has been an official part of CRUX for some time.


Some examples of prt-get's functionality and use are as follows:

Listing installed ports:

$ prt-get listinst

$ prt-get listinst -v
acl 2.3.1-1
alsa-utils 1.2.7-1

Querying information about a port:

$ prt-get info acl
Name:         acl
Path:         /usr/ports/core
Version:      2.3.1
Release:      1
Description:  Access Control Lists library
Maintainer:   CRUX System Team, core-ports at crux dot nu
Dependencies: attr

Searching for ports by name:

$ prt-get search glibc

$ prt-get search --regex '(ba|z)sh$'

Searching for ports by installed file:

$ prt-get fsearch gconv
Found in /usr/ports/core/glibc:

Found in /usr/ports/core/glibc-32:

Searching for ports by words in their descriptions:

$ prt-get dsearch shell

Viewing dependency lists:

$ prt-get depends bash
-- dependencies ([i] = installed)
[i] ncurses
[i] readline
[i] bash

$ prt-get quickdep bash
ncurses readline bash

$ prt-get deptree bash
-- dependencies ([i] = installed, '-->' = seen before)
[i] bash
[i]   readline
[i]     ncurses

Installing ports:

$ prt-get install xterm


The 'install' command does NOT process dependencies and it is usually recommended to use 'depinst' (next) instead!
$ prt-get depinst xterm

Viewing and updating outdated ports (generally after 'ports -u'):

Listing installed ports which are out of date:

$prt-get diff
Differences between installed packages and ports tree:

Port                Installed           Available in the ports tree

inkscape            1.2-1            1.2.1-1

Updating an individual port:

$ prt-get update inkscape

Updating all installed ports:

$ prt-get sysup


Currently 'update' and 'sysup' do not process new dependencies introduced after the initial installation of a port. To show such additions to the dependency lists of installed ports, you can chain together several invocations of prt-get with one invocation of awk as follows.
$ prt-get isinst $(prt-get quickdep $(prt-get quickdiff)) | awk '/not installed/ {print $2}'

Configuring prt-get


prt-get's main configuration file, '/etc/prt-get.conf', contains options that can be used to change prt-get's behavior. Notably in this file the following options can be configured:

prtdir - This option can occur multiple times and specifies a directory with a 'collection' that prt-get should search for ports. By default the 'core', 'opt', and 'xorg' collections are enabled. The 'compat-32' and 'contrib' collections are disabled by default, see sections "Enabling the 'contrib' collection" and "Enabling the 'compat-32' collection".

logfile - This option configures a file for prt-get to log its operation if desired.

runscripts - This option configures prt-get to run pre-/post-install scripts if they exist in ports being installed or updated. It is recommended that this be enabled as in many cases if a pre- or post-install script exists in a port, it is required to be run for proper operation.


prt-get has a concept of aliases which can be used in a fashion similar to the concept of 'provides' in some other Linux distributions. This file is /etc/prt-get.aliases and contains lines in the following format:

postfix: sendmail
exim: sendmail
qmail: sendmail
masqmail: sendmail

The above set of aliases indicates that postfix, exim, qmail, and masqmail are all considered sufficient to satisfy a dependency on 'sendmail' in a port.

Sometimes the port maintainer will list among the required dependencies a lightweight library, to save on compilation time for the majority of users. If you already have the more powerful library installed, you can use prt-get.aliases to avoid automatic installation of the lightweight alternative. For example, on a system with mozjs91 already built, you would not want prt-get depinst polkit to build duktape as well. This can be accomplished with the following line in prt-get.aliases:

mozjs91: duktape

Another situation that can be handled with prt-get aliases is when you have a fork of port X in your personal overlay, renamed to describe how it differs from the original port, and port X appears somewhere in the dependency tree of port Y. For example, suppose the Pkgfile for foo explicitly disables qt and hard depends on Xorg, so that prt-get depinst foo on a Wayland-only system would bring in all of Xorg. If you create a custom port of foo that disables Xorg in favor of qt, calling it foo-qt, then by appending foo-qt: foo to /etc/prt-get.aliases you can ensure that prt-get does not try to build all of Xorg when foo shows up in some other port's dependency tree.


prt-get's alias function does NOT automatically replace ports during an install or depinst operation. If a port depends on 'duktape' and neither 'duktape' nor 'mozjs91' are installed, prt-get will install 'duktape' as listed in the port's dependencies. If 'mozjs91' was installed before the depending port's install or depinst operation, on the other hand, prt-get will consider the dependency satisfied.

This is NOT an exhaustive list of all of prt-get's commands, features, and configuration options, merely a starting point. More information can be found in the manual and quick start documentation.

Creating Packages

Creating a package is done using pkgmk. This utility uses a file called Pkgfile, which contains information about the package (such as name, version, etc) and the commands that should be executed in order to compile the package in question.

To be more specific, the Pkgfile file is actually a bash(1) script, which defines a number of variables (name, version, release and source) and a function (build). Below is an example of what a Pkgfile file might look like. The example shows how to package the grep(1) utility. Some comments are inserted for explanation.

# Specify the name of the package.

# Specify the version of the package.

# Specify the package release.

# The source(s) used to build this package.

# The build() function below will be called by pkgmk when
# the listed source files have been unpacked.
build() {
   # The first thing we do is to cd into the source directory.
   cd $name-$version

   # Run the configure script with desired arguments.
   # In this case we want to put grep under /usr/bin and
   # disable national language support.
   ./configure --prefix=/usr --disable-nls

   # Compile.

   # Install the files, BUT do not install it under /usr, instead
   # we redirect all the files to $PKG/usr by setting the DESTDIR
   # variable. The $PKG variable points to a temporary directory
   # which will later be made into a tar.gz-file. Note that the
   # DESTDIR variable is not used by all Makefiles, some use prefix
   # and others use ROOT, etc. You have to inspect the Makefile in
   # question to find out. Some Makefiles do not support redirection
   # at all. In those cases you will have to create a patch for it.
   make DESTDIR=$PKG install

   # Remove unwanted files, in this case the info-pages.
   rm -rf $PKG/usr/info

In reality you do not include all those comments, thus the real Pkgfile for grep(1) looks like this:

# Description: GNU grep, egrep and fgrep
# URL:
# Maintainer:  Per Lid&#65533;n, per at fukt dot bth dot se


build() {
  cd $name-$version
  ./configure --prefix=/usr --disable-nls
  make DESTDIR=$PKG install
  rm -rf $PKG/usr/info


The build() function in the example above is just an example of how grep is built. The contents of the function can differ significantly if the program is built in some other way, e.g. does not use autoconf.

When the build() function has been executed, the $PKG directory will be made into a package named <name>#<version>-<release>.pkg.tar.gz. Before the package creation is completed, pkgmk will check the contents of the package against the .footprint file. If this file does not exist, it will be created and the test will be skipped. The .footprint file will contain a list of all files that should be in the package if the build was successful or a list of all the files that were installed in $PKG (if the .footprint did not already exist). If there is a mismatch the test will fail and an error message will be printed. You should not write the .footprint file by hand. Instead, when a package has been upgraded and you need to update the contents of the .footprint file you simply do pkgmk -uf. This test ensures that a rebuild of the package turned out as expected.

If the package built without errors it's time to install it by using pkgadd and try it out. I highly recommend looking at the Pkgfile in another package(s), since looking at examples is a great way to learn.


Please see the Package Guidelines for additional recommendations regarding Pkgfile variables (name, version, release, build) and the footprint.

Adjusting/Configuring the Package Build Process

Many settings pertaining to the package build process can be adjusted by editing the pkgmk(8) configuration file /etc/pkgmk.conf. Some of these configurable settings include:

Here are some examples:


This setting instructs pkgmk to attempt to fetch all source archives from http://fileserver.intranet/crux/sources/ before falling back to the source URL specified in the Pkgfile. Multiple URLS can be separated by spaces.


This example instructs pkgmk to store and find source archives in /usr/ports/srcfiles. An example benefit of this setup would be the ability to store /usr/ports/srcfiles on an NFS server on your local network for use by multiple crux installations. (PKGMK_PACKAGE_DIR can be set and used the same way. But if NFS is too challenging to set up on your local network and you find it easier to configure an http server instead, pkg-get from the opt collection gives you an alternative mechanism for sharing built packages.)


This example instructs pkgmk to use /usr/ports/work/$name as a work area for building the specified package. Building the grep package would result in the work area being /usr/ports/work/grep. An alternative would be to use a tmpfs as your work directory.

There are a few more settings which can be found in the pkgmk.conf man page.

Package Guidelines



/usr/bin/User command/application binaries
/usr/sbin/System binaries (e.g. daemons)
/usr/include/Header files
/usr/lib/<prog>/Plug-ins, addons, etc
/usr/share/man/Man pages
/usr/share/<prog>/Data files
/usr/etc/<prog>/Configuration files
/etc/Configuration files for system software (daemons, etc)

Remove Junk Files

Pkgfile Variables

Pkgfile Header

The commented lines at the beginning of a Pkgfile do not affect the operation of pkgmk, but prt-get and other CRUX tools will make use of the information provided there. Four headers of utmost importance are:

DescriptionA short description of the package; keep it factual
MaintainerYour full name and e-mail address, obfuscated if you want
URLA webpage with more information on this software package
Depends onA list of dependencies, separated either by spaces or commas

Depends on can be omitted if there are no dependencies. To keep this line short, runtime dependencies in the 'core' collection are omitted, unless they provide a library that is dynamically linked to the built program. See the Pkgfile man page for more details.

Two other headers you will often encounter when inspecting Pkgfiles are Optional and Nice to have. None of the official CRUX tools will be affected by the contents of these lines, but maintainers find it helpful to store in Optional the list of “soft” dependencies (libraries that will be linked to the built program, if present during compilation). This header then serves as a reminder of tests that might need to be included in the build() function in order to set the appropriate configure flags. As an end user of official ports, you might find in these headers some clues about:

Example header

# Description: CUPS - Common UNIX Printing System
# URL:
# Maintainer: Juergen Daubert, jue at crux dot nu
# Depends on: acl libusb zlib linux-pam
# Optional: dbus gnutls