From Fedora Project Wiki

m (Added a link that explains the %caps flags)
(%clean was only needed for EPEL5, which is EOL.)
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* '''%install''': Script commands to "install" the program.  The commands should copy the files from the <code>BUILD</code> directory <code>%{_builddir}</code> into the buildroot directory, <code>%{buildroot}</code>. See the %install section below for more.
* '''%install''': Script commands to "install" the program.  The commands should copy the files from the <code>BUILD</code> directory <code>%{_builddir}</code> into the buildroot directory, <code>%{buildroot}</code>. See the %install section below for more.
* '''%check''': Script commands to "test" the program. This is run after the %install procedure, so place it there if you have this section. Often it simply contains "<code>make test</code>" or "<code>make check</code>". This is separated from %build so that people can skip the self-test if they desire.
* '''%check''': Script commands to "test" the program. This is run after the %install procedure, so place it there if you have this section. Often it simply contains "<code>make test</code>" or "<code>make check</code>". This is separated from %build so that people can skip the self-test if they desire.
* '''%clean''': Instructions to clean out the build root. Note that this section is now redundant in Fedora and is only necessary for EPEL. Typically this contains only:
* '''%clean''': Instructions to clean out the build root. Note that this section is now redundant in all supported versions of Fedora and EPEL.
rm -rf %{buildroot}
* '''%files''': The list of files that will be installed. See the %files section below for more.
* '''%files''': The list of files that will be installed. See the %files section below for more.
* '''%changelog''': Changes in the package.  Use the format example above. '''Do NOT put software's changelog at here.This changelog is for RPM itself.'''
* '''%changelog''': Changes in the package.  Use the format example above. '''Do NOT put software's changelog at here.This changelog is for RPM itself.'''

Revision as of 00:22, 10 December 2017

This document is under construction to better conform to the packaging guidelines and to use Package-x-generic-16.pngfedpkg instead of rpmbuild throughout. We apologize for any conflicting or confusing information while these changes are underway.


This page describes in detail how to create an RPM package, and in particular how to create a specfile. Unlike other RPM guides, this page explains the specifics for Fedora with links to Fedora-specific guidelines and usage of Fedora-specific utilities. Despite the focus on Fedora, much of this document does apply to other RPM-based distributions.

Fedora Documentation had released a draft guide for packagers, see Packagers Guide. It is archived.

Please note that this document is merely a gentle introduction and will leave out many of the details which you may need in order to package more complicated software. It also assumes that you have familiarity with the shell and are familiar with the process of building and installing (outside of RPM) the software you wish to package. Finally, this document is NOT an official Fedora packaging guideline. This page is open for editing by the general Fedora packaging community, while the actual packaging guidelines are managed by the Packaging Committee. For reference, here are some of the most referenced guideline pages:

Packaging:Guidelines and Packaging:Naming contain the main guidelines. Having said that, this page should be compatible with them, though the guidelines do change over time and this page may diverge from them on occasion.

If you plan to submit a package to the official Fedora repository, you will also want to follow the procedure depicted in Join the package collection maintainers.

Some terminology

The package manager used by Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Mageia, OpenSUSE and others. Originally RPM stood for "Red Hat Package Manager" but now it's just the recursive acronym "RPM Package Manager".
A plain text file containing information about a package and instructions used by RPM for actually compiling the included software. It is named by appending .spec to the name of the package.
A string, generally capitalized and followed by a colon, which appears at the top of the specfile to provide some important data about the RPM, such as Name:, Version: or Summary:.
A segment of the specfile which tells RPM how to perform some portion of the package construction process. Many, but not all, sections contain code that is simply passed to the shell, though RPM has significant flexibility around this which will not be covered at all in this document.
section header
A short string, starting with % at the beginning of a line, which introduces a section. Examples include %description, %prep and %files.
A short string, always prefixed by % and generally surrounded by curly brackets ({}) which RPM will convert to a different and usually longer string. Some macros can take arguments and some can be quite complex. Some macros are provided by RPM, some are part of Package-x-generic-16.pngredhat-rpm-config and Package-x-generic-16.pngfedora-rpm-macros, but many other packages also provide them. If you're curious, running rpm --showrc will show you all of the macros currently available on your system, but note that you really don't want to use most of the ones you see there. Note that some macros have named prefixed by underscores; the reasons for this are mostly lost to time.
The packaging guidelines have various suggestions and restrictions regarding the use of various sets of macros. This document will use what the guidelines recommend, but won't necessarily explain the reasons in detail.
You may, in looking at other packages, see macros used without curly brackets. There are situations where this isn't strictly necessary, but these guidelines will use them wherever possible to make it more obvious when macros are being used and to avoid going into the rules about when the brackets are needed and when they aren't.
A system for building RPMs within their own separate small Fedora installation. This avoids the need to have a full set of build dependencies installed into your regular operating system installation, allows you to build packages for different Fedora releases, and in general is a good thing.
The main Fedora build system: [1].

Editors for editing RPM spec files

Many editors (like text editors and IDEs) that are in the official repositories of Fedora have out-of-the-box syntax-highlighting support for RPM spec files, these include:

  • CodeEditor. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • gedit. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • GNU nano. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • Joe. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • Kate. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • KWrite. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • Pluma. It does not syntax-highlight the shell script code found in RPM spec files.
  • Vim (and, of course, its graphical counterpart, gVim). It also syntax-highlights the shell script code found in RPM spec files.

while the following are present in the official Fedora repositories but do not come with out-of-the-box syntax-highlighting for RPM Spec files, but do gain said support when optional packages/plugins are installed:

  • Eclipse can develop RPM spec file editing support when the RPM Spec file editor package is also installed. This package also provides code linting (checking for RPM packaging errors) and make it easier to navigate the spec file.
  • GNU Emacs has editing support for RPM spec files when the RPM spec mode package is installed.

Editors that are not in the official repositories of Fedora but are available for Fedora and, with the appropriate plugins, can syntax-highlight RPM spec files include:

Preparing your system

Before you create RPM packages on Fedora, you need to install some packaging tools and set up the account(s) you will use. Run this as root:

dnf install fedora-packager fedora-review

This will install the Package-x-generic-16.pngfedora-packager utilities needed to work with and build packages in the same manner used to maintain official Fedora packages, including the Package-x-generic-16.pngfedora-review tool used by package reviewers to check package quality.

Stop (medium size).png
You should never create your packages as the root user. Indeed, you should never perform anything other than specific administration tasks as root. Building RPMs as root is dangerous because it is possible for situations to exist (due to mistakes or typos in the spec file) for some package building operations to attempt to write files to system locations. You must always build as a normal user to avoid corrupting parts of your system. This document will generally use the Package-x-generic-16.pngmock system to build more complicated packages in a very safe manner.

As root, add yourself to the mock group:

usermod -a -G mock yourusername

This should be the last time you need root unless you wish to install packages you have developed.

You may afterwards need to run newgrp or log out and back in for this change to take effect. Run the id command to see if the "mock" group appears in your group list.

If you have already obtained a Fedora account and accepted the contributor agreement, you can also set up your fedora certificates and such. Just run (as your user, not as root):


If you wish, you can also create a separate user and use it for doing RPM development. You should make sure that user is part of the "mock" group and has run fedora-packager-setup.

First steps

To create an RPM package, you will need to create a directory to hold the package and, within that directory, the specfile. This file provides information about the software being packaged, instructions for unpacking it, building it and installing it, as well as a list of files which will be included in the package. You then run the fedpkg command with appropriate options, which will go through a series of steps to produce your package.

The construction of the specfile is often done iteratively (one relevant piece at a time), and that's what we'll do here. But first we'll need someplace to make our package as well as something to package. Run the following to create a directory to hold packaging work (called packaging-work), within it a place to hold our package (called "howdy), and within that a simple program to package (also called "howdy). You can use any location you like but the directory name for the package should match the name of the package.

mkdir -p ~/packaging-work/howdy
cd ~/packaging-work/howdy
cat << EOF > howdy
echo "Howdy, partner!"
chmod 644 howdy

You should be able to run bash howdy and receive the expected output. Now we have something we can package, so let's start making a specfile. We'll start with a very minimal template (which will have to be expanded for anything more complicated than this example). Just start your editor on a new file called howdy.spec" and paste this in. Please use spaces and not tabs. It's not necessary to have everything like up but it does make it look nice.

Name:    howdy
Version: 1
Release: 1%{?dist}
Summary: Say hello, Texas style

License: Public Domain
Source0: howdy

A simple program to greet the user, Texas style.




So we've described the package, indicated a version and listed the one source file we have. We have an %install and a %files section, both of which are empty. Save your edits and run

fedpkg --release f36 local

This is called a "local build". Assuming no typos or other issues, you should get some output and two RPM files. One should be the source package, which contains everything necessary for someone else (or the Fedora build system) to build their own copy of your package. The other is a binary package. It doesn't actually have anything in it at this point, though, because we didn't tell RPM to actually include any files. (It would not even have been created if we hadn't included the empty %files section.)

If you like, you can look at either package using rpm -qip, or just less.

A useful package

So now we have a minimally functional specfile which builds and produces a rather useless binary package.

In order to actually make a package which does something, we must tell RPM how to install the program. Edit the specfile and add this to the %install section (immediately after the line containing %install):

mkdir -p %{buildroot}/%{_bindir}
install -p -m 755 %{SOURCE0} %{buildroot}/%{_bindir}

The contents of the %install section is just a shell script! Note that we've used three macros:

  • %{buildroot} is set to a temporary directory called "the buildroot" that's set up by RPM to hold the complete tree of files we'll install.
  • %{_bindir} is just /usr/bin.
  • %{SOURCE0} refers to the file listed earlier in the spec with the Source0: tag.

This saves us from having to care about exactly where those files and directories are located on the filesystem while the package is built; instead we only care about where those files are ending up. And without %{buildroot} we'd end up installing those files directly onto our development machine, which would be bad, especially if running as root.

Now do a local build. It failed! But why? Well, because of this:

error: Installed (but unpackaged) file(s) found:

We installed a file but didn't tell RPM about it. RPM maybe could just include everything we install, but there are plenty of good reasons why it doesn't just do that. So tell RPM about that file, by adding this to the %files section:


Note that %files is generally about files we've actually installed into the buildroot. You do not use the %{buildroot} macro when listing files there.

Now do another local build. If all goes well, you should have two updated RPMs, and the binary one should contain a file. But there's one more thing we should add to the spec to make this a complete package. Since all we're packaging is a shell script, there is no reason at all for this to be built separately on each architecture Fedora supports. So edit the spec once more and add the following immediately after the Source0: line:

BuildArch: noarch

This tells RPM that there's nothing architecture-specific about a particular package. You can reindent the spec if you like to make things line up, but please use spaces and not tabs. Delete the existing .rpm files in this directory and do another local build. Now you should have a pair of rpms: one with the updated source, and one ending in .noarch.rpm indicating an architecture-independent package. You should now have your first complete package that you built yourself! If you like, install it and try it out. You'll probably want to remove it once you're done, unless you just like Texas-style greetings.

Further things to do with our package

Have a glance at our current spec if you like.

Name:      howdy
Version:   1
Release:   1%{?dist}
Summary:   Say hello, Texas style

License:   Public Domain
Source0:   howdy
BuildArch: noarch

A simple program to greet the user, Texas style.

mkdir -p %{buildroot}/%{_bindir}
install -p -m 755 %{SOURCE0} %{buildroot}/%{_bindir}



You may recall that RPM handles dependencies, but we didn't indicate anything about that in the specfile. Let's look.

 rpm -qp --requires howdy-1-1.fc36.noarch.rpm

You'll see that RPM added some internal rpmlib dependencies, plus one on /bin/bash which matches up with the first line of the howdy program. Often RPM will handle dependencies for your binary packages automatically. Often times it won't, and we'll look into that later.

You can also replace --requires by --provides to see the other side of the dependency equation. There's not much of interest there, but if something did depend on howdy then this package would provide it.

Next thing to do is run some checks on our package:

 fedpkg --release f36 lint

This will spit out a few complaints. Four total about the lack of %prep and %build sections, one about the lack of a URL: tag, and one about the lack of a proper changelog. You may also see other complaints, perhaps about permissions. The full set of complaints may change over time as the checking program, Package-x-generic-16.pngrpmlint itself changes. You may even have noticed these complaints earlier if your editor was configured to automatically check specfiles as you edit them.

We will ignore the complaints about the lack of the two sections and a URL. We could make the complaints go away by adding empty sections and a dummy URL, but that's not productive and our next experiment will have them.

It would indeed be nice to have a changelog section, though. Your editor may have the capability to add one automatically; in Package-x-generic-16.pngvim it's \c (unless you've changed the leader key) and in Package-x-generic-16.pngemacs it's Ctrl+c Ctrl+e. If you want to do it manually, have a look at the relevant guidelines. I'll add mine here:

* Mon Sep 19 2016 Jason L Tibbitts III <> - 1-1
- Initial packaging.

Building in mock

The next interesting thing to do would be to see if our package will build in the way that the Fedora build system would do it. To do this, just run:

fedpkg --release f36 mockbuild

This will build your package in Package-x-generic-16.pngmock. Running mock will set up a complete minimal Fedora installation inside a directory and then build the package within that.

Please note that this can take a while. It has to download a number of packages and can take quite some time if you do not have a fast link. It will also take a nontrivial amount of disk space. Fortunately the data it downloads will be cached so subsequent runs will be quicker, but if the disk usage (by default in /var), the time or the bandwidth usage are an issue for you, you can skip this step. However, from this point on in the document, we will do mock builds rather than local builds, and later steps will require that mock builds be carried out. You can continue to perform local builds where possible if you prefer, but eventually you will run into dependency issues that mockbuilds do not have.

The end result should be a significant amount of output, a results_howdy directory, and a couple of levels deep a three log files and two packages. Feel free to look at those.

You can also build for other releases in this manner, by changing what you pass to the --release option. This can be useful for testing, but it takes another big download so we'll skip that now.

Building in koji

If you had your Fedora account set up at the time you started following this document, you can build your package in the central Fedora build system, though the syntax can be a bit odd:

fedpkg --release f36 scratch-build --target f36 --srpm

This will create a source package, upload it to the build servers, and give you some output including a URL you can visit to watch the process and download the built packages afterwards. This can be useful to test that your package builds on the various different architectures that Fedora supports, although your current test package doesn't need such testing.

Running fedora-review

Package reviewers use Package-x-generic-16.pngfedora-review as part of the process of accepting new packages into the distribution. You can run this tool yourself as a useful set of informative checks. First, clean up your package directory:

rm -rf *rpm results*

Then create a source package and run the utility:

fedpkg --release f36 srpm
fedora-review -n howdy

This will use mock to build your package and run a number of checks on it. It will be silent while mock runs, so it may appear as if it has hung when in reality it is doing a large amount of downloading. You can add -v to make it somewhat more verbose.

When done, you should have a review-howdy directory with various files and directories. rpmlint.txt should have some additional rpmlint output for you. review.txt is the template that a reviewer would fill in (in addition to checking the functionality of the software in your package, etc.) Most of that is probably not of interest to you, but it doesn't hurt to have a look.

On to a more complex program

Now that we've covered the absolute basics, we can move on to packaging something more complicated, which comes from a real upstream and has to be unpacked and built. A good package to use as an example is GNU Hello. Have a look there, note the current version of Hello (2.10 as this document is being written) and the download URL, licensing information and such. It's helpful to keep that page open for referenceLet's create a directory and work in it:

 mkdir -p ~/packaging-work/hello
 cd ~/packaging-work/hello

And create the following specfile named hello.spec:

Name:    hello
Version: 2.10
Release: 1%{?dist}
Summary: GNU Hello
License: GPLv3+


The GNU hello program produces a familiar, friendly greeting. It allows
nonprogrammers to use a classic computer science tool which would otherwise be
unavailable to them. Because it is protected by the GNU General Public License,
users are free (in perpetuity) to share and change it.






We've filled in a few things here. There's now a URL: tag, pointing to the Hello homepage. The %description was cribbed from the homepage. The License: tag has changed, since the bottom of the homepage says that the license is "under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.". Licensing is a difficult subject, and we'll cover it in more depth later, but for now it's sufficient to note that Fedora indicates this type of license with "GPLv3+".

Perhaps the most interesting change is to the Source0: tag. It now has a URL instead of a filename: using a URL tells everyone, including the relevant Fedora utilities, where to actually get the source. And there's a macro in there: %{version} is automatically set to whatever you used for the Version: tag. Combining the two lets things automatically get an updated copy of the source whenever the version changes. But how do we actually get that source, since now we can't cut and paste that URL? Try spectool:

spectool -g *spec

This quickly grabs all of the sources mentioned in the spec, and will leave us with hello-2.10.tar.gz in our package directory. Have a look with that file:

less *tar.gz

and we see that everything in there unpacks unto a single directory named hello-2.10. We'll need to tell RPM how to unpack that archive and how to find the files within. Add this to the %prep section:


This is a rather complicated macro which RPM will replace with plain old shell code to unpack the archive, change into a directory and fix up some permissions. It by default expects the directory to be named %{name}-%{version} (where %{name} is, you guessed it, what you gave for the Name: tag). This can be changed by passing the -n option, but in our case the default is just what we need. You can see exactly what it does by executing the %prep section with:

fedpkg --release f36 prep

This will call just the %prep section of your specfile, and should leave you with a directory named hello-2.10 in your package directory. Have a look around in there. You'll see this is a standard GNU package with a configure file, and that tells us most of what we need to know in order to build it. Add this to the %build section:


This just calls the configure file with all of the arguments necessary to build in Fedora, and then calls make with the necessary options. And while we're at it, let's add this to %install:


This calls the usual make install with Fedora's special macros to get everything into the buildroot. If you do a mockbuild at this point, you'll see that the build fails, just like with the previous package, there are installed but unpackaged files. The list of files below the error heading in the output, tells us what we need to do next, but because there's an info page, a manpage and some locale files, we have a few different rules to follow.

Old document below

Beyond this point are remnants of the old document. These will all be incorporated or removed as the reorganization and cleanup continues. The information below is almost certainly out of date with regards to the current packaging guidelines. Please keep that in mind if you read further.

If there are special programs that are required to build or run the program you are packaging, install those other programs and write down what they are.

To package a program for the Fedora repository, you must package pristine (original) sources, along with the patches and build instructions; it's not okay to start with pre-compiled code. Install the file with the original source (usually a .tar.gz file) in the ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES directory (of the RPM building user account).

Read through the manual installation instructions for your program. It's often a good idea to do a "dry run" by manually building the program before attempting to do so via RPM. With a few exceptions, all binaries and libraries included in Fedora packages must be built from the source code that is included in the source package.

Creating a SPEC file

You now need to create a SPEC file in the ~/rpmbuild/SPECS directory. You should name it after the program name (e.g. "program.spec"). Use the archive name or the name advocated by the software author where you can, but be sure to follow the Package Naming Guidelines.

SPEC templates and examples


You may use the rpmdev-newspec command to create a SPEC file for you. rpmdev-newspec <package-name> can create an initial SPEC file for a new package, tailored to various types of packages. It will guess what kind of template to use based on the package name, or you can specify a particular template. See /etc/rpmdevtools/spectemplate-*.spec for available templates, and see rpmdev-newspec --help for more information. For example, to create a new SPEC file for a python module:

cd ~/rpmbuild/SPECS
rpmdev-newspec python-antigravity
vim python-antigravity.spec

According to the packaging guidelines, new spec files should be created this way. Vim and emacs can automatically create simple templates, but these are different than those made with rpmdev-newspec. This is especially true for templates with names beginning with python- or -perl.

Here is an example auto-generated .spec template:

Name:           testprogram
Release:        1%{?dist}




%setup -q




* Sun Apr  3 2016 makerpm



Here's a simple example showing a Fedora specfile for the eject program:

Summary:            A program that ejects removable media using software control
Name:               eject
Version:            2.1.5
Release:            21%{?dist}
License:            GPLv2+
Source:             %{name}-%{version}.tar.gz
Patch1:             eject-2.1.1-verbose.patch
Patch2:             eject-timeout.patch
Patch3:             eject-2.1.5-opendevice.patch
Patch4:             eject-2.1.5-spaces.patch
Patch5:             eject-2.1.5-lock.patch
Patch6:             eject-2.1.5-umount.patch
ExcludeArch:        s390 s390x
BuildRequires:      gettext
BuildRequires:      libtool

The eject program allows the user to eject removable media (typically
CD-ROMs, floppy disks or Iomega Jaz or Zip disks) using software
control. Eject can also control some multi-disk CD changers and even
some devices' auto-eject features.

Install eject if you'd like to eject removable media using software

%autosetup -n %{name}



install -m 755 -d %{buildroot}/%{_sbindir}
ln -s ../bin/eject %{buildroot}/%{_sbindir}

%find_lang %{name}

%files -f %{name}.lang
%license COPYING
%doc README TODO ChangeLog

* Tue Feb 08 2011 Fedora Release Engineering <> - 2.1.5-21
- Rebuilt for

* Fri Jul 02 2010 Kamil Dudka <> 2.1.5-20
- handle multi-partition devices with spaces in mount points properly (#608502)

SPEC file overview

Other useful guides:

You will need to follow the Fedora guidelines: Package Naming Guidelines, Packaging guidelines, and Package review guidelines.

Insert comments with a leading "#" character, and beware of macros (beginning with %) that are potentially multi-line, as they are expanded first. When commenting out a line, double the percent signs (%%) of the macros appearing after the "#". Also avoid inline comments on the same line as script commands.

The major tags are listed below. Note that the macros %{name}, %{version} and %{release} can be used to refer to the Name, Version and Release tags respectively. When you change the tag, the macros automatically update to use the new value.

  • Name: The (base) name of the package, which should match the SPEC file name. It must follow the Package Naming Guidelines and generally be lowercase.
  • Version: The upstream version number. See Version tag section of the packaging guidelines. If the version contains tags that are non-numeric (contains tags that are not numbers), you may need to include the additional non-numeric characters in the Release tag. If upstream uses full dates to distinguish versions, consider using version numbers of the form[dd] (e.g. 2008-05-01 becomes 8.05).
  • Release: The initial value should normally be 1%{?dist}. Increment the number every time you release a new package for the same version of software. When a new upstream version is released, change the Version tag to match and reset the Release number to 1. See Release tag section of the packaging guidelines. The optional Dist tag might be useful.
  • Summary: A brief, one-line summary of the package. Use American English. Do NOT end in a period.
  • Group: This needs to be a pre-existing group, like "Applications/Engineering"; run "less /usr/share/doc/rpm/GROUPS" to see the complete list. Use the group "Documentation" for any sub-packages (e.g. kernel-doc) containing documentation. Note: This tag is deprecated since Fedora 17. See Spec File Reference Preamble
  • License: The license, which must be an open source software license. Do not use the old Copyright tag. Use a standard abbreviation (e.g. "GPLv2+") and be specific (e.g. use "GPLv2+" for GPL version 2 or greater instead of just "GPL" or "GPLv2" where it's true). See Licensing and the Licensing Guidelines. You can list multiple licenses by combining them with "and" and "or" (e.g. "GPLv2 and BSD").
  • URL: The full URL for more information about the program (e.g. the project website). Note: This is not where the original source code came from which is meant for the Source0 tag below.
  • Source0: The full URL for the compressed archive containing the (original) pristine source code, as upstream released it. "Source" is synonymous with "Source0". If you give a full URL (and you should), its basename will be used when looking in the SOURCES directory. If possible, embed %{name} and %{version}, so that changes to either will go to the right place. Preserve timestamps when downloading source files. If there is more than one source, name them Source1, Source2 and so on. If you're adding whole new files in addition to the pristine sources, list them as sources after the pristine sources. A copy of each of these sources will be included in any SRPM you create, unless you specifically direct otherwise. See Source URL for more information on special cases (e.g. revision control).
  • Patch0: The name of the first patch to apply to the source code. If you need to patch the files after they've been uncompressed, you should edit the files and save their differences as a "patch" file in your ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES directory. Patches should make only one logical change each, so it's quite possible to have multiple patch files.
  • BuildArch: If you're packaging files that are architecture-independent (e.g. shell scripts, data files), then add "BuildArch: noarch". The architecture for the binary RPM will then be "noarch".
  • BuildRoot: This is where files will be "installed" during the %install process (after the %build process). This is now redundant in Fedora and is only needed for EPEL5. By default, the build root is placed in "%{_topdir}/BUILDROOT/".
  • BuildRequires: A comma-separated list of packages required for building (compiling) the program. This field can be (and is commonly) repeated on multiple lines. These dependencies are not automatically determined, so you need to include everything needed to build the program. It is possible to ensure you have specified all necessary build requires by performing a "mock build" of your package. You can specify a minimum version if necessary (e.g. "ocaml >= 3.08"). If you need the file /EGGS, determine the package that owns it by running "rpm -qf /EGGS". If you need the program EGGS, determine the package that owns it by running "rpm -qf which EGGS". Keep dependencies to a minimum (e.g. use sed instead of perl if you don't really need perl's abilities), but beware that some applications permanently disable functions if the associated dependency is not present; in those cases you may need to include the additional packages. The Package-x-generic-16.pngauto-buildrequires package may be helpful.
  • Requires: A comma-separate list of packages that are required when the program is installed. Note that the BuildRequires tag lists what is required to build the binary RPM, while the Requires tag lists what is required when installing/running the program; a package may be in one list or in both. In many cases, rpmbuild automatically detects dependencies so the Requires tag is not always necessary. However, you may wish to highlight some specific packages as being required, or they may not be automatically detected.
  • %description: A longer, multi-line description of the program. Use American English. All lines must be 80 characters or less. Blank lines indicate a new paragraph. Some graphical user interface installation programs will reformat paragraphs; lines that start with whitespace will be treated as preformatted text and displayed as is, normally with a fixed-width font. See RPM Guide.
  • %prep: Script commands to "prepare" the program (e.g. to uncompress it) so that it will be ready for building. Typically this is just "%autosetup"; a common variation is "%autosetup -n NAME" if the source file unpacks into NAME. See the %prep section below for more.
  • %build: Script commands to "build" the program (e.g. to compile it) and get it ready for installing. The program should come with instructions on how to do this. See the %build section below for more.
  • %install: Script commands to "install" the program. The commands should copy the files from the BUILD directory %{_builddir} into the buildroot directory, %{buildroot}. See the %install section below for more.
  • %check: Script commands to "test" the program. This is run after the %install procedure, so place it there if you have this section. Often it simply contains "make test" or "make check". This is separated from %build so that people can skip the self-test if they desire.
  • %clean: Instructions to clean out the build root. Note that this section is now redundant in all supported versions of Fedora and EPEL.
  • %files: The list of files that will be installed. See the %files section below for more.
  • %changelog: Changes in the package. Use the format example above. Do NOT put software's changelog at here.This changelog is for RPM itself.
  • ExcludeArch: If the package does not successfully compile, build or work on a particular architecture, list those architectures under this tag.
  • You can add sections so that code will run when packages are installed or removed on the real system (as opposed to just running the %install script, which only does a pseudo-install to the build root). These are called "scriptlets", and they are usually used to update the running system with information from the package. See the "Scriptlets" section below for more.

RPM also supports the creation of several packages (called subpackages) from a single SPEC file, such as name-libs and name-devel packages.

Stop (medium size).png
Do NOT use these tags
  • Packager
  • Vendor
  • Copyright

Do not create a "relocatable" package; they don't add value in Fedora and make things more complicated.

SPEC file sections explained

%prep section

The %prep section describes how to unpack the compressed packages so that they can be built. Typically, this includes the "%autosetup" command. Alternatively, you can use "%setup" and "%patch" commands with reference to the Source0 (and Source1 etc.) lines. See the Maximum RPM section on %setup and %patch for more details.

The %{patches} and %{sources} macros are available since RPM 4.4.2 and are useful if you have a large list of patches or sources and %autosetup is not what you want, then you can do:

for p in %{patches}; do

However, keep in mind that using these will make your SPEC incompatible with RPMS used in RHEL and other RPM-based dirstributions.

%prep section: %autosetup command

The "%autosetup" command unpacks a source package. Switches include:

  • -n name : If the Source tarball unpacks into a directory whose name is not the RPM name, this switch can be used to specify the correct directory name. For example, if the tarball unpacks into the directory FOO, use "%autosetup -n FOO".
  • -c name : If the Source tarball unpacks into multiple directories instead of a single directory, this switch can be used to create a directory named name and then unpack into it.

If you use "%setup" command instead, then -q' is commonly used to suppress unecessary output.

There are more %setup options if you are unpacking multiple files, which is primarily useful if you are creating subpackages (see below). The key ones are:

-a number Only unpack the Source directive of the given number after changing directory (e.g. "–a 0" for Source0).
-b number Only unpack the Source directive of the given number before changing directory (e.g. "–b 0" for Source0).
-D Do not delete the directory before unpacking.
-T Disable the automatic unpacking of the archives.

%prep section: %patch commands

If you have used "%autosetup" command, the following manual patch management is not necessary. If you have complex requirements or need compatibility with EPEL, you may still need this. The "%patch0" command applies Patch0 (and %patch1 applies Patch1 etc.). Patches are the normal method of making necessary changes to the source code for packaging. The usual "-pNUMBER" option applies, which passes that argument onto the program patch.

Patch file names often look like "telnet-0.17-env.patch", which is the format %{name} - %{version} - REASON.patch" (though sometimes version is omitted). Patch files are typically the result of "diff -u"; if you do this from the subdirectory of ~/rpmbuild/BUILD then you won't have to specify a -p level later.

This is a typical procedure for creating a patch for a single file:

cp foo/bar foo/bar.orig
vim foo/bar
diff -u foo/bar.orig foo/bar > ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES/PKGNAME.REASON.patch

If editing many files, one easy method is to copy the whole subdirectory underneath BUILD and then do subdirectory diffs. After you have changed directory to "~rpmbuild/BUILD/NAME", do the following:

cp -pr ./ ../PACKAGENAME.orig/
... many edits ...
diff -ur ../PACKAGENAME.orig . > ~/rpmbuild/SOURCES/NAME.REASON.patch

If you edit many files in one patch, you can also copy the original files using some consistent ending such as ".orig" before editing them. Then, you can use "gendiff" (in the rpm-build package) to create a patch with the differences.

Try to ensure that your patch match the context exactly. The default "fuzz" value is "0", requiring matches to be exact. You can work around this by adding "%global _default_patch_fuzz 2" to revert to the value found in older versions of RPM in Fedora, but it is generally recommended to avoid doing this.

As explained in Packaging/PatchUpstreamStatus, all patches should have a comment above them in the SPEC file about their upstream status. This should document the upstream bug/email that includes it (including the date). If it is unique to Fedora, you should mention why it is unique. The Fedora Project tries not to deviate from upstream; see PackageMaintainers/WhyUpstream for the importance of this.

%prep section: Unmodified files

Sometimes, one or more of the Source files do not need to be uncompressed. You can "prep" those into the build directory like this (where SOURCE1 refers to the relevant Source file):

cp -p %SOURCE1 .

%build section

The "%build" section is sometimes complicated; here you configure and compile/build the files to be installed.

Many programs follow the GNU configure approach (or some variation). By default, they will install to a prefix of "/usr/local", which is reasonable for unpackaged files. However, since you are packaging it, change the prefix to "/usr". Libraries should be installed to either /usr/lib or /usr/lib64 depending on the architecture.

Since GNU configure is so common, the macro "%configure" can be used to automatically invoke the correct options (e.g. change the prefix to /usr). Some variation of this often works:


To override makefile variables, pass them as parameters to make:

 %make_build CFLAGS="%{optflags}" BINDIR=%{_bindir}

More more information, see "GNU autoconf, automake, and libtool" and "Open Source Development Tools: An Introduction to Make, Configure, Automake, Autoconf" by Stefan Hundhammer.

Some programs use cmake. See Packaging/cmake.

%install section

This section involves script commands to "install" the program, copying the relevant files from %{_builddir} to %{buildroot} (which usually means from ~/rpmbuild/BUILD to ~/rpmbuild/BUILDROOT) and creating directories inside %{buildroot} as necessary.

Some of the terminology can be misleading:

  • The "build directory", also known as %{_builddir} is not the same as the "build root", also known as %{buildroot}. Compilation occurs in the former directory, while files to be packaged are copied from the former to the latter.
  • During the %build section, the current directory will start at %{buildsubdir}, which is the subdirectory within %{_builddir} that was created during %prep stage. This is usually something like ~/rpmbuild/BUILD/%{name}-%{version}.
  • The %install section is not run when the binary RPM package is installed by the end-user, but is only run when creating a package.

Normally, some variation of "make install" is performed here:


Ideally you should use %make_install which is equivalent to DESTDIR=%{buildroot} if the program supports it, as it redirects file installations to the specified directory and is exactly what we want to happen during the %install section.

If the program does not support DESTDIR (and only if), you can workaround it in one of several (inferior) ways:

  • Patch the makefile so that is supports DESTDIR. Create directories inside DESTDIR where necessary and submit the patch upstream.
  • Use the "%makeinstall" macro. This method might work, but can lead to subtle failures. It expands to something like "make prefix=%{buildroot}%{_prefix} bindir=%{buildroot}%{_bindir} ... install", which can result in some programs failing to work properly. Create directories inside %{buildroot} where necessary.
  • Consider using the auto-destdir package. This requires "BuildRequires: auto-destdir", and changing "make install" to "make-redir DESTDIR=%{buildroot} install". This only works well if the installation uses only certain common commands to install files, like cp and install.
  • Perform the installation by hand. This would involve creating the necessary directories under %{buildroot} and copying files from %{_builddir} to %{buildroot}. Be especially careful with updates, which often contain new or changed filenames. An example of this procedure:
mkdir -p %{buildroot}%{_bindir}/
cp -p mycommand %{buildroot}%{_bindir}/

%check section

If self-tests are available, it is generally a good idea to include them. They should be placed in the %check section (which immediately follows the %install section, since files in %buildroot may be tested) instead of within the %build section itself, so that they can be easily skipped when necessary.

Often, this section contains:

make test

Sometimes it can be:

make check

Please explore the Makefile and choose the appropriate way.

%files section

This section declares which files and directories are owned by the package, and thus which files and directories will be placed into the binary RPM.

%files basics

The %defattr sets the default file permissions, and is often found at the start of the %files section. Note that this is no longer necessary unless the permissions need to be altered. The format of this is:

%defattr(<file permissions>, <user>, <group>, <directory permissions>)

The fourth parameter is often omitted. Usually one uses %defattr(-,root,root,-), where "-" uses the default permissions.

You should then list all the files and directories to be owned by the package. Use macros for directory names where possible, which can be viewed at Packaging:RPMMacros (e.g. use %{_bindir}/mycommand instead of /usr/bin/mycommand). If the pattern begins with a "/" (or when expanded from the macro) then it is taken from the %{buildroot} directory. Otherwise, the file is presumed to be in the current directory (e.g. inside %{_builddir}, such as documentation files that you wish to include). If your package only installs a single file /usr/sbin/mycommand, then the %files section can simply be:


To make your package less sensitive to upstream changes, declare all files within a directory to be owned by the package with a pattern match:


To include a single directory:


Note that %{_bindir}/* does not claim that this package owns the /usr/bin directory, but only the files contained within. If you list a directory, then you are claiming that the package owns that directory and all files and subdirectories contained within. Thus, do not list %{_bindir} and be careful of directories that may be shared with other packages.

An error will occur if:

  • a pattern match does not match any file or directory
  • a file or directory is listed or matched more than once
  • a file or directory in the %{buildroot} has not been listed

It is also possible to exclude files from a previous match by using the %exclude glob. This can be useful for including almost all of the files included by a different pattern match, but note that it will also fail if it does not match anything.

%files prefixes

You may need to add one or more prefixes to lines in the %files section; seperate them with a space. See Max RPM section on %files directives.

Usually, "%doc" is used to list documentation files within %{_builddir} that were not copied to %{buildroot}. A README and INSTALL file is usually included. They will be placed in an appropriate directory under /usr/share/doc, whose ownership does not need to be declared.

Note: If specifying a %doc entry, rpmbuild < 4.9.1 removes the doc directory it installs files into before installing them. This means that files already in it, for example installed in the %install section, are removed and do not end up in the package. If you want to install some files in the %install section, install them into a temporary staging directory inside the build dir (not build root), for example _docs_staging, and include them in the in the %files list like %doc _docs_staging/*.

Configuration files should be placed in /etc and are normally specified like this (which makes sure user changes aren't overwritten on update):

%config(noreplace) %{_sysconfdir}/foo.conf

If the update uses a non-backwards-compatible configuration format, then specify them like this:

%config %{_sysconfdir}/foo.conf

"%attr(mode, user, group)" can be used for finer control over permissions, where a "-" means use the default:

%attr(0600, root, root) FOO.BAR

"%caps(capabilities)" can be used to give certain POSIX capabilities to a file (also check the flags):

%caps(cap_net_admin=pe) FOO.BAR

If a file is in particular natural language, use %lang to note that:

%lang(de) %{_datadir}/locale/de/LC_MESSAGES/tcsh*

Programs using Locale files should follow the recommended method of handling i18n files:

  • find the filenames in the %install step: %find_lang ${name}
  • add the required build dependencies: BuildRequires: gettext
  • use the found filenames: %files -f ${name}.lang

The %readme prefix is not valid in Fedora.

%files and Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS)

You should follow the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS). Executables go in /usr/bin, global configuration files go in /etc, libraries go into /usr/lib (or /usr/lib64) and so on. Executables that should not normally be executed directly by users or administrators should (but are executed by other parts of your package) go in a subdirectory of /usr/libexec, which is referred to as %{_libexecdir}/%{name}.

Do not install files into /opt or /usr/local. (reference)

Unfortunately, many programs do not follow the FHS by default. In particular, architecture-independent libraries get placed in /usr/lib instead of /usr/share. The former is for architecture-dependent libraries, while the latter is for architecture-independent libraries, which means that systems with different CPU architectures can share /usr/share. There are many exceptions in Fedora (such as Python, Perl and Systemd), but Fedora applies this rule more strictly than some distributions. rpmlint will generally complain if you put anything other than ELF files into /usr/lib.

%files example

Here's a simple example of a %files section:

%config(noreplace) %{_sysconfdir}/*.conf

Finding duplicates

You can list any duplicates of two binary packages by doing:

cd ~/rpmbuild/RPMS/ARCH # Substitute "ARCH" for your architecture
rpm -qlp PACKAGE1.*.rpm | sort > ,1
rpm -qlp PACKAGE2.*.rpm | sort > ,2
comm -12 ,1 ,2


When an end-user installs the RPM, you may want some commands to be run. This can be achieved through scriptlets. See Packaging:Scriptlets.

Scriptlets can be run:

  • before (%pre) or after (%post) a package is installed
  • before (%preun) or after (%postun) a package is uninstalled
  • at the start (%pretrans) or end (%posttrans) of a transaction

For example, every binary RPM package that stores shared library files in any of the dynamic linker's default paths, must call ldconfig in %post and %postun. If the package has multiple subpackages with libraries, each subpackage should also perform the same actions.

%post -p /sbin/ldconfig
%postun -p /sbin/ldconfig

If only running a single command, then the "-p" option runs the adjacent command without invoking the shell. However, for several commands, omit this option and include the shell commands beneath.

If you run any programs within the scriptlets, then you must specify any requirements in the form "Requires(CONTEXT)" (e.g. Requires(post)).

%pre, %post, %preun, and %postun provide the argument $1, which is the number of packages of this name which will be left on the system when the action completes. Don't compare for equality with 2, but instead check if they are greater than or equal to 2. For %pretrans and %posttrans, $1 is always 0.

For example, if the package installs an info manual, then the info manual index must be updated with install-info from the info package. Firstly, there is no guarantee that the info package will be available unless we explicitly declare it as required, and secondly, we don't want to fail completely if install-info fails:

Requires(post): info
Requires(preun): info
/sbin/install-info %{_infodir}/%{name}.info %{_infodir}/dir || :
if [ $1 = 0 ] ; then
/sbin/install-info --delete %{_infodir}/%{name}.info %{_infodir}/dir || :

There is one other glitch related to installing info manuals. The install-info command will update the info directory, so we should delete the useless empty directory from the %{buildroot} during the %install section:

rm -f %{buildroot}%{_infodir}/dir

Another scriptlet-like ability are "triggers", which can be run for your package when other packages are installed or uninstalled. See RPM Triggers.


Macros are text in the format %{string}. Typical macros:

Macro Typical Expansion Meaning
%{_bindir} /usr/bin Binary directory: where executables are usually stored.
%{_builddir} ~/rpmbuild/BUILD Build directory: files are compiled within a subdirectory of the build directory. See %buildsubdir.
%{buildroot} ~/rpmbuild/BUILDROOT/%{name}... Build root: where files are "installed" during the %install stage, which copies files from a subdirectory of %{_builddir} to a subdirectory of %{buildroot}. (Historically, %{buildroot} was in "/var/tmp/".)
%{buildsubdir} %{_builddir}/%{name} Build subdirectory: a subdirectory within %{_builddir} where files are compiled during the %build stage. It is set after %autosetup.
%{_datadir} /usr/share Share directory.
%{_defaultdocdir} /usr/share/doc Default documentation directory.
%{dist} .fcNUMBER Distribution+version short name (e.g. ".fc36")
%{fedora} NUMBER Number of fedora release (e.g. "36")
%{_includedir} /usr/include
%{_infodir} /usr/share/info
%{_initrddir} /etc/rc.d/init.d
%{_libdir} /usr/lib
%{_libexecdir} /usr/libexec
%{_localstatedir} /var
%{_mandir} /usr/share/man
%{name} Name of package, set by Name: tag
%{_sbindir} /usr/sbin
%{_sharedstatedir} /var/lib
%{_sysconfdir} /etc
%{version} Version of package, set by Version: tag

Learn more about macros by looking in /etc/rpm/* and /usr/lib/rpm, especially /usr/lib/rpm/macros. Also use rpm --showrc to show values that RPM will use for macros (altered by rpmrc and macro configuration files).

You can set your own macro values using %global, but be sure to define them before you use them. (Macro definitions can also refer to other macros.) For example:

%global date 2012-02-08

Use the "-E" option of rpmbuild to find the value of a macro in a SPEC file:

rpmbuild -E '%{_bindir}' myfile.spec

Also see Packaging/RPMMacros and RPM Guide chapter 9.

Other tags

In addition to Requires and BuildRequires tags, you can also use these for controlling dependencies:

  • Provides: list virtual package names that this package provides. For example, there might be a package "foo" that demands a particular functionality "bar" from another program. If there are several packages that can satisfy that demand, those packages can specify "Provides: bar" and the "foo" package can specify "Requires: bar". You could also use the "alternatives" system, but avoid if multiple users on the same system might want different default, as these settings are system-wide. Use "rpm -q --provides PACKAGENAME" to see what a given package provides. Some examples of virtual packages in Fedora:
    • MTA: Used for mail transport agents, such as sendmail.
    • tex(latex): Used for latex
  • Obsoletes: remove another named package(s) when this package is installed. Use when the package name changes or when it totally replaces a different package.
  • Conflicts: state what other packages cannot be installed simultaneously to this one. Avoid this if you can. See Packaging/Conflicts.
  • BuildConflicts: state what packages cannot be installed when building this package. Avoid this if you can.

To manage different architectures, there are two tags:

  • ExcludeArch: to exclude an architecture on which the package doesn't build. For example:
ExcludeArch: ppc
  • ExclusiveArch: to include only the specified architecture. Avoid this unless absolutely correct.

Valid architectures are listed at Architectures.


A SPEC file can define several binary package. In other words, one SRPM with one SPEC file can result in several RPMS. Note that there is still only one creation (%prep, %build, %install etc.) process. name-doc and name-devel subpackages are common for documentation and development files respectively.

Use the %package directive to start defining a subpackage:

%package subpackage_name

After each %package directive, list the tags for the subpackage. This should at least include the Summary and Group tags, as well as the %description subpackage_name and %files subpackage_name directives:

Anything not specified by the subpackage will be inherited from its parent.

By default, if the package name is "foo" and the subpackage name is "bar", then the resulting subpackage will be "foo-bar". You can override it with the "-n" option (but you'll need to use it in all other directives too if you specify it here):

%package -n new_subpackage_name

See the RPM Guide section on subpackages for more information.


You can insert conditional statements, for example to test if you are creating a binary for a certain architecture:


the negated version with:


or the more general conditional:


There is an optional "%else" section; all of these are closed with "%endif".

Application Specific Guidelines

There are many application-specific guidelines that can help you (e.g., for specific programming languages, applications, libraries, and build systems). Many of them are listed as part of the Application Specific Guidelines of Packaging/Guidelines. Examples of application-specific guidelines are those for:

Failing that, some other ways of finding application-specific help are:

Miscellaneous hints

Packaging/FrequentlyMadeMistakes has information on frequently-made mistakes. There are also some recommendations and controversial tricks on PackageMaintainers/Packaging Tricks.

Try to write your SPEC files so that it is likely to work when a new release is made upstream, without any changes aside from bumping the version number and refreshing the source files. For example, if it contains *.txt files with execute bits, instead of doing

 chmod a-x Filename1.txt Filename2.txt Filename3.txt

consider doing this, which will handle new filenames that use the same file naming convention:

 chmod a-x *.txt

If you want to see lots of examples of scriptlets, you can show all the scriptlets on installed programs using:

 rpm -qa --queryformat "\n\nPACKAGE: %{name}\n" --scripts | less

Don't try to interact with the user; RPM is designed to support batch installs. If an application needs to show a EULA, that needs to be part of its initial execution, not its installation.

You might not want to start services, because in a big install that could slow things down. If you install an init or systemd script, consider using chkconfig or systemctl to arrange for the service to be started/stopped on the next reboot. Before uninstalling, you should normally try to stop its services if they are running.

Uninstalling should reverse most changes made during installation, but don't remove any user-created files.

Normally, if there are binary executables, then debugging symbols are stripped from the normal binary packages and placed into a name-debug subpackage. If this shouldn't happen, you can disable the stripping and creation of this subpackage by putting this at the top of your SPEC:

%global _enable_debug_package 0
%global debug_package %{nil}
%global __os_install_post /usr/lib/rpm/brp-compress %{nil}

To prevent stripping you may also need to do this in the %install section:

export DONT_STRIP=1

A way to check for the version of Fedora in a SPEC file for conditional builds is:

%if 0%{?fedora} <= <version>

The ? causes the macro to evaluate to evaluate to blank if %fedora is not defined. This causes the end result to be the 0 (which is a number and thus fine), while not interfering with the result if there is actually a value for %fedora. (Note that this trick does not work in Koji "scratch" builds, where %fedora is set during the creation of a SRPM.)

GUI programs must have a desktop entry so that people can invoke it from the graphical desktop menu. For .desktop files, see Fedora packaging guidelines for desktop files and desktop entry spec. For icons within /usr/share/icons, see icon theme spec.

Building the binary package

Test with rpmlint

To catch many common errors early, run rpmlint on your SPEC file before trying to build anything from it:

$ rpmlint program.spec

If the reported error doesn't make sense, run it again with the "-i" option for longer messages.

Aim to have no errors, but sometimes rpmlint reports false positives. The Fedora packaging guidelines explains which ones to ignore.

Create binary RPMS from the SPEC file

Once you've created your SPEC file, build the SRPM and binary RPMS by running this:

$ rpmbuild -ba program.spec

If successful, RPMS will be created within ~/rpmbuild/RPMS and SRPMS will be created within ~/rpmbuild/SRPMS.

If it fails, go to the appropriate directory and see what is left over. To help debug, you can skip earlier stages that succeeded with the "--short-circuit" option. For example, to restart at the %install stage (skipping earlier stages), do this:

$ rpmbuild -bi --short-circuit program.spec

If you just want to create an SRPM (which does not run the %prep or %build or other stages), run this:

rpmbuild -bs program.spec

Testing binary RPMS with rpmlint

rpmlint can be run on SPEC files, RPMS and SRPMS to check for errors. You need to eliminate or justify warnings before posting a package. This page offers explanations for some of the common issues that come up. If you are in the SPECS directory, do this:

$ rpmlint NAME.spec ../RPMS/*/NAME*.rpm ../SRPMS/NAME*.rpm

Enter the ~/rpmbuild/RPMS directory and into the architecture subdirectory. You will find some binary RPMS. Quickly see their files and permissions (to check whether they are correct) by doing:

$ rpmls *.rpm

If they look fine, install them as root:

# rpm -ivp package1.rpm package2.rpm package3.rpm ...

Test the programs in a few different ways to see if everything works correctly. If it is a GUI tool, make sure it shows up in the desktop menu, otherwise the .desktop entry is wrong.

Uninstall packages later by doing:

# rpm -e package1 package2 package3

Mock and Koji

Mock is a powerful tool that uses the SRPM you have created to build binary packages within a nearly empty environment. This can reveal if you have accurate build dependencies. If it fails, then you forgot to list something in BuildRequires. See Using Mock to test package builds. Once your account is a member of the "mock" group, you can run commands like this to do local testing:

$ mock -r fedora-23-i386 rebuild path_to_source_RPM

You can use Koji (which uses mock) to do builds on many different systems, some of which you may not have. PackageMaintainers/Join and PackageMaintainers/UsingKoji have more information about Koji. Once it's set up, you can test your SRPM on a variety of platforms by running commands like:

$ koji build --scratch f23 path_to_source_RPM

Replace f23 with any later release of Fedora, or rawhide.

Your Koji builds can only depend on packages that are actually in the TARGET distribution repository. Thus, you can't use Koji to build for released distributions if your package depends on other new packages that Bodhi hasn't released yet. If you need to build against a package that is not yet a stable released update, submit a Koji buildroot override request via Bodhi. If it's not your own package you depend on, contact its maintainer(s). [Before Bodhi could handle Koji buildroot override requests, the old method has been to file a ticket with rel-eng at: and request that that package be added as a buildroot override.]

Helpful tools

The rpmdevtools package has a number of helpful tools; "rpm -qil rpmdevtools" will show you what it installs.

  • rpmdev-bumpspec : bump the release tag in the spec file and add a changelog comment with the right date and version format:
rpmdev-bumpspec --comment=COMMENT --userstring=NAME+EMAIL_STRING SPECFILES

DNF download plugin (from core DNF plugins) is also useful:

  • dnf download : download the SRPM of the package by running:
dnf download --source PACKAGENAME

The auto-buildrequires package has a pair of nice tools for helping to figure out the proper BuildRequires entries. After installing this package, replace "rpmbuild" with "auto-br-rpmbuild" and you'll see an automatically generated BuildRequires list.

You might find RUST useful (GPL), though it does not create SPEC files of suitable quality for Fedora packages. Alien converts between package formats. It won't produce clean SRPMS, but converting an existing package might provide helpful information.

If you are thinking about packing your rpm for Fedora, be sure you run your packages through Fedora Review, which helps ensure that you comply to the Packaging Guidelines.

Finally, docker-rpm-builder (APL 2.0) uses Docker to build RPM packages; while using rpmbuild requires building on the same host distro as the target, and mock works fine on Fedora/Centos/RHEL distributions for any target, this last tool works fine whenever Docker can run.

If you want to build your package for diferent distribution and architectures and to have publicly accesible dnf repository, you can submit your src.rpm to Copr.

If you need to sign your new package, use rpmsign tool from rpm-sign package.

Guidelines and rules

When you create your packages, you'll need to follow the following rules and guidelines:

There are many official guidelines that will help you with specific circumstances (e.g. Java programs, OCaml programs, GNOME programs). You can also learn more from the SIGs and Package Maintainers sections.

You can also see the list of all Wiki pages about Packaging to see if any apply.

Failing that, you might find some useful recommendations in the unofficial draft guidelines category and Packaging Drafts To Do.

You might find ideas from SuSE, Debian, but distributions differ in their rules, so do not presume they can be used directly.

The .spec files that you create must be open source software, as noted in the FPCA.

Maintaining the package

Once your package has been accepted, you and your co-maintainers will need to maintain it. See Package update HOWTO and Package update guidelines. If you update the version in multiple releases of Fedora, do it backwards in time (e.g. release for Fedora N, then once that's accepted, Fedora N-1). The system presumes that later versions of Fedora have the same or later versions of programs.

Encourage the upstream developers to use standard source code release conventions. Using standard conventions makes packaging much easier. For more information, see:

For more information

The Package Maintainers page links to many other useful pages, and the Package update HOWTO describes how to update an existing package you already maintain in Fedora.

For more information, outside of the Fedora Wiki, see:

Note: The site has some documentation, but do not depend on it; that is the home of a fork of RPM maintained by Jeff Johnson. The RPM used by Fedora (and Novell/SuSE) is instead based at has a brief article about this.