alps (AryaLinux Packaging System) Documentation

In this article
  1. Introduction
  2. alps Components
  3. Adding new build scripts to repository
  4. Installing applications not in repository

Introduction

Alps is the package management tool in AryaLinux. alps can be used to install packages as of now(Work is in progress to add the update functionality in AryaLinux). Alps comes installed by default even in the minimalistic install of AryaLinux. Alps is not a package manager but provides a package manager kind of interface to install and update applications. Alps is not similar to or compatible with any other package manager for a different distribution.

An integral part of alps is the application build scripts. These are bash scripts which have commands needed to download, build and install the packages from their source tarballs or git repository. Build scripts also contain other information like dependencies and package name and section. This information is used by alps to prepare a dependency chain when a package needs to be installed. Before installing any package in Linux, its dependencies need to be installed. Usually figuring out these dependencies and building them in the right order before installing the application in question is a very tedious process if one intends to install the application from its source. Alps simplifies this process by doing depenedency resolution and dependency chain building before installing any application.

As of now alps does dependency resolution manually. We intend to automate this process in the time to come.

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alps Components

The components of alps are listed below:

  • The alps tool: The core of alps is the alps tool. It is a tool written in python3. The alps script refers to other functions defined in /var/lib/alps. Also present in /var/lib/alps are bash scripts that are called by the python code to carry out certain operations like installing from URL or source tarballs or from the downloaded tarballs of packages.
  • Configuration: The configuration for alps is present in /etc/alps/alps.conf. This file defines path of the various directories where the source code would be downloaded and where the build process would take place. The configuration file also defines the name of the file where the list of installed packages and their versions are listed. The list of installed packages along with the time of install are present in /etc/alps/installed-list and the versions of installed packages is present in /etc/alps/versions. The AUTOCLEAN option in the configuration file if set to true would instruct alps to delete the source tarballs once the installation is done. Last but definitely not the least, the configuration file also lists the REPO_VERSION. This is the branch in bitbucket from which the build scripts would be downloaded. Normally a branch in bitbucket refers to a release. Sometimes these releases are made public and Sometimes they are not. A process of updating AryaLinux using alps would involve simply changing this version to a more latest number and then instructing alps to build everything from that version of repository.
  • Build scripts: Build scripts are bash scripts that have the commands needed to download, build and install a given package. These build scripts are stored in an online repository in bitbucket and are constantly updated to included the latest versions of packages and new packages. Build scripts are stored in /var/cache/alps/scripts directory. The build scripts also define the dependencies(lines that start with #DEP:). The build scripts in the end make an entry in the installed-list file and versions file.
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Adding new build scripts to repository

The path to AryaLinux online repository is https://bitbucket.org/chandrakantsingh/aryalinux/src/master/applications/. So if you come up with build scripts for a given application, please clone the repository mentioned above, put the build scripts in the applications directory and raise a merge request and we would review it and add it to the respoitory.

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Installing applications not in repository

If the application you want to install cannot be installed using alps, you can still use alps to install the package. There are two ways of doing it. You may search over the internet for the source code of the application. Usually source code of applications are distributed as source tar.gz or tar.xz or tar.bz2 files. If you have the URL of any such package you can run the following command to install the package:

alps urlinstall url_of_the_tar_file

You may also go ahead and download the file and give the path to the file to alps and alps would build and install the package. Use the following command to install downloaded source tarball.

alps srcinstall /path/to/the/downloaded/file

Sometimes source code for applications are not released. In such cases, alps would not be able to install the package. Also some packages have exotic build/install mechanisms not understood by alps. We would request you to mail us if you find one such package and we would try figuring out how it can be installed.

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