Towards the Better Packages - Rpmlint News

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Rpmlint is one of the major tools used by every ROSA maintainer to control package quality. This tool checks whether packages meet the distribution packaging policies. It is launched automatically at the end of every build performed in ABF. In addition, we constantly monitor ROSA repositories with Rpmlint andpublish results at the FBA site.

Packaging policies are not carved in stone and are subjected to changes as the distribution evolves. From time to time new ideas come to developers' minds about new useful checks that could be implemented. As a result, Rpmlint is also constantly evolving. Not long ago we performed a significant refactoring of its code and dropped some checks that are not relevant for ROSA anymore - such as invocation of ldconfig in post-scripts, definition and clean up of BuildRoot and so on. These checks have not been used for a long time, but they made the code larger and decrease the speed of the tool.

Besides code clean up, we have implemented some new interesting features in our Rpmlint.

First of all, we have implemented stricter checks for packages containing executable files or libraries with RPATH parameter. This parameter affects the order of folders where the search is performed by dynamic loader when looking for libraries during application start - the paths listed in RPATH are looked in the first order. This feature should be used with care, especially in libraries that can be used by other distribution components. In ROSA, if you need to use RPATH in your package, it is recommended to put all libraries which should be accessed using RPATH in a separate subfolder of the /usr/lib directory (it is recommended to name this subfolder in the same way as the package itself - e.g., /usr/lib/fglrx contains libraries specific to fglrx). If RPATH points to a directory which contains libraries not expected by maintainer, then application behavior can become surprising and unpredictable. A common example of such situation is the case when RPATH contains system directories such as /lib or /usr/lib. As the practice shows, adding these values to RPATH can have fatal consequences - for example, we have recently fixed a problem with Empathy which failed with segmentation fault on a system with Nvidia drivers due to RPATH set in libwebkit library (used by Empathy). From now on, Rpmlint automatically detects such situations at the end of package build and stops the build with a non-zero exit code if it detects a shared library or executable file that have RPATH containing /lib, /usr/lib, /lib64 or /usr/lib64.

Next, by request of our Russian localization team, we have added checks for untranslated names and comments in package desktop files. Localization of such files is very important since they are used to provide user with information about application that will be launched by clicking on particular icon in SimpleWelcome or RocketBar. Since these checks are used by Russian localization team only, we have not included them to the main branch of Rpmlint shipped with ROSA distributions. The checks are used only when launching tests at FBA and their results can be observed in corresponding sections of the site. For example, for the main repository of ROSA Desktop Fresh R1:

Untranslated names

Untranslated descriptions

The same checks can be easily implemented for other languages if corresponding localization teams are willing to monitor and fix the whole set of desktop files.

Finally, Rpmlint can now check correctness of package suffixes. In ROSA, packages of every distribution version have their own suffix (to distinguish packages from different versions) which is automatically set by ABF when package is built. However, it sometimes happens when a package is not built in ABF but copied to repository manually from corresponding repository of a previous ROSA version. This is usually used in cases when packages have cycled build dependencies, and the easiest way to rebuild such package for a new distribution version is to use uts dependencies from the previous one. Normally such "manually added" packages are dropped from the repository as soon as they are no longer needed. However, it sometimes happens that maintainers forget to drop the old package so it remains in the repository like a garbage. It would be nice to automatically detect packages with wrong suffixes in repositories, and no this possibility is implemented in Rpmlint by means of non-standard-distsuffix check. The list of allowed suffixes is defined in Rpmlint settings, in the ValidDistSuffixes parameter.

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