New Hint: Encap Pacakge Management

Andre Masella andre at
Sat Sep 14 10:30:00 PDT 2002

I would like to submit the attached hint for LFS package management using 
encap/epkg. Thank you.
--Andre Masella (andre at [169231229]
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TITLE:		Encap/ePkg Package Management
LFS VERSION:	20020912
AUTHOR:		Andre Masella - andre at

	Encap package management involves putting programs in an encap directory
and then the epkg program symlinks each package into say, /usr. This is very 
convenient for LFS users since it involves building no actual packages
(.rpm/.deb) but provides version management.


LFS is great for completely customising a system, but once it's been compiled, 
that's it. Uninstalling programs by doing "make uninstall" and the like is not 
practical -- sometimes not even possible. Doing something like this with RPM or 
dpkg would be possible but probably very difficult and using install-log lets 
you keep track of files, but not really manage them. That's were encap comes in.

Encap is a package management system based on symlinks. Packages exist in an 
encap source directory (usually /usr/encap) and then the epkg program symlinks 
/usr/encap/package-version/* to /usr/*. Since packages are packagename-version, 
multiple versions can be installed and switched without a problems -- great for 
testing new versions.

How to Insane are You?

Here's the problem, how fanatical are you? I admit to being very fanatical. epkg 
manages *all* of the packages on my system except glibc and epkg. Everything 
else, even gcc and all of the basic LFS packages are controlled by epkg. That 
may be more than you want controlled. epkg can control just your /usr/local
programs. I think your decision for deciding whether or not to install a package 
as an encap package should be based on "am I ever going to upgrade this?" Glibc 
is never going to be upgraded without a complete system recompile, so that 
should not be epkged. Also there is a certain impracticality in installing epkg 
as an epkg. I'm going to assume you are completely insane and want to install 
everything as an encap package. Start when ever you want.


To start, where do you want to install the packages?
I personally, have one big partition, so I installed my packages for / in 
/Software/Root, my packages for /usr in /Software/User, my packages for 
/usr/local in /Software/Local and for /opt/kde in /Software/KDE. If you want to 
keep things (eg /usr) on a separate partition, you could mount /usr and have the 
packages in /usr/Software or /usr/encap or your could keep /usr/* on your root 
partition since it's almost all symlinks and mount /Software/User. Point is, 
make package directories now. Depending on what you have installed, I recommend 
making a directory for /, /usr, /usr/local, /usr/X11R6, /opt/kde or /usr/kde and
/opt/gnome or /usr/gnome.

Encap trees *can* overlap, but epkg will issue meaningless warnings. Overlapping 
is not a problem. This is useful later.

Get epkg from Right after compiling glibc, compile
epkg like so:

./configure --disable-encap --with-encap-source=/Software/User \

Note the lack of trailing slashes. If you want the user packages from elsewhere
use /usr/encap or whatever.
Now *don't make install*. Copy epkg/epkg to /usr/bin/epkg-usr and
mkencap/mkencap to /usr/bin/mkencap-usr

Now repeat this for each tree you want like:
--with-encap-source=/Software/local --with-encap-target=/usr/local
--with-encap-source=/Software/KDE --with-encap-target=/opt/kde

but copy epkg/epkg to epkg-local or epkg-kde and mkencap/mkencap to 
mkencap-local or mkencap-kde.
cp doc/*.1 /usr/share/man/man1
cp doc/*.3 /usr/share/man/man3
cp doc/*.7 /usr/share/man/man7

If you are managing root (/) then
./configure --disable-encap --with-encap-source=/Software/Root \
--with-encap-target="" \
cp epkg/epkg /usr/bin/epkg-root
cp mkencap/mkencap /usr/bin/mkencap-root

The excludes are important. We don't want epkg wandering into dev, proc, tmp, 
home or Software. If your package directory is elsewhere, then change the name
appropriately. You may want it to wander into opt. None of my root packages 
touch things in opt and this speeds things up since it won't take so long.
Now you have everthing need to make packages!

Building programs

Programs are stupid. Some more than others. For most standard, pleasant
programs, do something like:
./configure --prefix=/usr --localstatedir=/var --sysconfdir=/etc
make install prefix=/Software/User/package-1.0
epkg-usr package

But not all programs are like that. *Most* FSF, KDE and GNOME programs are like 
that. Many others are not. Some user "make install
PREFIX=/Software/User/package-1.0" or possibly "make install
DESTDIR=/Software/User/package-1.0". But some use just DEST, or INSTDIR, or
BASEDIR and some have each path hardcoded like BINDIR=/usr/bin, MANDIR=/usr/man. 
The best way is to run the configure process, then look at the Makefile and hope 
you can figure out what to change.

If also, "make" the package before specifying any kind of /Software/User prefix.

One very pleasantly notable exception is perl. Rather than 
run ./Configure. It will ask you where perl will be, say /usr, and where the
perl files will reside, say /Software/User/perl-5.xx. The just "make && make 
make check && make install".

Not the sysconfdir and localstatedir. These are optional, but if they are not
there, then the package will put its config files in /usr/etc, /usr/lib or other
strange places. Some, like samba, you may even want to say,

Some progams will not create subdirectories if they don't exists, meaning you 
have to manually use mkdir to create the directories and it may do lovely things 
like cp /Software/xyz-1.0/lib . If lib doesn't exist, you now have a 
file called lib, rather than lib/

Also, before running epkg to install the package, check out the package
directory. Many programs will put man pages in /usr/man rather than
/usr/share/man. Same with info files. You can adjust all of that before you
install the package. Also, delete any info/dir or share/info/dir files if they

It's too messy, just put it in /usr/X11R6 and any additional X programs can be
installed as packages and integrated into the /usr/X11R6 tree. Then, if you
upgrade, blast away /usr/X11R6, reinstall X11 and then epkg-x11 -b and all of
your X11 packages will be restored.

Root Programs

Some programs like: bash, bzip2, e2fsprogs, fileutils, grep, gzip, kbd, less,
man, modutils, net-tools, pam, pcmcia-cs, ppp, procps, psmisc, sed, sh-utils,
shadow, sysvinit, tar, textutils and util-linux
need to be on the root directory, but have man pages or other programs that
should be in /usr. Encap trees can overlap!
So install bash like this:
./configure --prefix=/usr --bindir=/bin &&
make &&
make install prefix=/Software/Root/bash-2.05a/usr \

There are other programs that have a prefix=/usr and something else, usually
When you epkg-root bash, it will install bash in /bin and the manpages in /usr.

Keeping Things Clean

I suggest making a cleansystem script that does something like this:

#!/bin/sh -

cd /
epkg-root $@ -s /Software/Root/ -t .. -c | grep -v "not an Encap link"
epkg-root $@ -b | grep -v "not an Encap link"

for EPKG in /usr/bin/epkg-*
	if [ $EPKG != /usr/bin/epkg-root ]
		$EPKG $@ -c | grep -v "not an Encap link"
		$EPKG $@ -b | grep -v "not an Encap link"

echo "Regenerating Info Cache..."
rm /usr/share/info/dir
for INFO in /usr/share/info/*.info
        install-info $INFO /usr/share/info/dir

cd $PWD

Running the cleansystem -n will pretend to clean the system and -v will provide 
verbose output. It will regenerate the info directory regardless.

Note that epkg-XXX will complaing about every symlink that it finds that does
not point to /Software/XXX. That's annoying, especially for the files that
overlap from the root directory. The grep prevents us from hearing its whining.

If you epkg-root -c, it will not find any encap related files, even though they 
exist. This is because it tries to open directory "" which fails. The directory
for -s *should* have a trailing /.

Epkg will also alert your to any conflicting files. On the freshest LFS install
you will find that /usr/lib/libiberty.a and /usr/bin/c++filt conflict between
gcc and binutils. Which one do you keep? I dunno. If this were a normal LFS
system, binutils is made after gcc, so it should be there. Other things tend to
get installed multiple times. Many packages seem to install the pidof.1 manpage.
Pick the one you like best and remove the rest.

The Pain that is KDE

I link KDE, but it is a pain. Some things will not work properly if you use the 
encap symlinking. Anything in $KDE/share/templates that is a symlink won't 
work properly. For instance if you have a kword symlink in there and go 
New | Text Document, it will copy the symlink to the root-owned file rather than 
copy a blank kword document. Just "mv /Software/KDE/*/share/templates/*
/opt/kde/share/templates". Also the Konqueror side bar can break, due again to
symlink copying. Either "mv /Software/KDE/*/share/apps/konqsidebartng/* 
/opt/kde/share/apps/konqsidebartng" or you can mess around in
~/.kde/share/apps/konqsidebar. I have no doubt that there are other broken KDE
parts I have forgotten or not discovered. The advantage is that this provides a
*really* easy way to switch KDE versions.

I also recommend you create a /Software/KDE/hostname directory. This allows you
to put things that are not going to change from KDE version to version that are
specific to your system -- global wallpapers, applnks for programs and other
stuff like that. Just "epkg-kde hostname" and all that stuff is accessible.


Why ./configure --prefix=/usr, why not ./configure
--prefix=/Software/User/package-1.0 like the encap documentation says?

That may work for some programs, but gcc and many libraries will not. You see,
some libraries make a lib-config file (gtk, pcre, cups, glib, libpng) to tell
programs building against it where its prefix is. If you do it the 
/Software/User way, then anything built against that library will point to
/Software/User rather than /usr making it more difficult to upgrade the library.
And we did this for upgradeability, right?

Some programs need special attention, right?
Yes: tcl/tk/tclx, iptables, QT <3 (3+ is fine), ppp and f#!/ing man
Be highly suspicious of anything that does not come with a configure script.
Also don't bother installing anything living in /lib/modules (ie
alsa-drivers) as a package (alsa-lib and alsa-utils can be nicely packaged)

I accidentally installed xyz into /usr. Can I fix it easily?
Yes, install it to /Software/User/xyz-1.0 and attempt to epkg xyz. That will
complain that it cannot replace the non-encap symlinks. Delete the files from
the /usr tree and then epkg xyz.

Program abc installed its man pages directly in /usr/man or /usr/share man. Is
there any easy way to fix that?
Not really, you can pick them out by hand, or pull them out of the program's
build directory. If this is an LFS, or BLFS package, maybe it should be added to
the list of stupid programs.

Are all of your packages really installed as encap packages?
No, glibc, XFree86, epkg, j2sdk and teTeX are not. Glibc isn't going to be
upgraded, epkg is impractical to have as an encap package. X11 is a mess that
best to just leave alone. Java and teTeX live in /opt/j2sdk and /opt/teTeX so
there's no point in having packages.

sh should be symlinked to bash, should that go in /Software/Root/bash-2.05a/bin
or /bin?
Depends. I say, if sh is always -> and it's in the same package, do it in the
/Software tree. Same with cc -> gcc. If sh might point to bash or csh or ksh
then do it in /bin. Whatever makes you happier.

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