Creating local SmartOS packages

Aug 23, 2012
tags: pkgin, pkgsrc, smartos

Ok, so you have a SmartOS machine set up, and are using pkgin to install packages. Now you may want to also handle your local software using the same tools, so that you can take advantage of easily installing and upgrading packages. This post describes how you can do this.

We will be creating a hypothetical package meminfo, containing a script of the same name which prints basic memory information, and just enough metadata for it to be understood by the packaging tools. This guide assumes you are running a standard dataset which includes packaging tools in /opt/local/sbin, that is:

$ /opt/local/sbin/pkg_info

should give you a list of currently installed packages.

Files to install

First, let’s start in a clean directory, and then create a files sub-directory which will hold the files we want to package. The files in this directory will be installed relative to the packaging prefix, which for most SmartOS installs will be /opt/local.

$ mkdir package
$ cd package
$ mkdir -p files/bin

Now we create the meminfo script. You will probably just copy your binaries into place at this stage.

$ vi files/bin/meminfo
# This is just a subset of 'sm-summary' from the 'smtools' package.
SM_ID=$(zoneadm list -p | awk -F: '{ print $1 }');
SM_MEMCAP=$(kstat -p -c zone_caps -n lockedmem_zone_${SM_ID} -s value | awk '{print $2/1024/1024 }');
SM_MEMUSED=$(prstat -Z -s rss 1 1 | awk -v zone=${SM_UUID} '$8 ~ zone { printf("%d", $4 ) }');
SM_MEMFREE=$(echo "${SM_MEMCAP}-${SM_MEMUSED}" | bc);
cat <<EOF
Memory (RSS) Cap    ${SM_MEMCAP}M
Memory (RSS) Used   ${SM_MEMUSED}M
Memory (RSS) Free   ${SM_MEMFREE}M

Ensure the script is executable!

$ chmod +x files/bin/meminfo

Finally for this part, generate a packlist file which simply contains a list of files we want packaged, relative to the files directory:

$ (cd files; find * -type f -or -type l | sort) >packlist

The packlist file supports many directives which are lines beginning with @<cmd>. These let you do things such as change file permissions once the file has been installed. See the ‘PACKING LIST DETAILS’ section of pkg_create(1) for more information.

Package metadata

In order to successfully create a package, we need a few metadata files which describe the package.


This file contains basic information about the package, and is primarily used to ensure that the package can be installed on the target machine. The minimum information required is:

  • MACHINE_ARCH. On SmartOS this is either i386 or x86_64 depending upon whether you chose a base/smartos or base64/smartos64 dataset. Attempting to install a package intended for one architecture with package tools built for a different architecture will work due to SmartOS being able to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications, but you will get warnings when installing.
  • OPSYS. On SmartOS this is SunOS, i.e. the output of uname -s.
  • OS_VERSION. On SmartOS this is 5.11, i.e. the output of uname -r.
  • PKGTOOLS_VERSION. An integer describing the version of the pkg_install tools required to understand this package. At the current time pkgsrc sets a base version of 20091115 so just use this.

The easiest way to generate this file is simply to get it from an existing package, for example:

$ pkg_info -X pkg_install \
$ cat build-info


This is a short string describing the package which is shown in the default pkg_info or pkgin list output. Keep this short, preferably under 60 characters, so that it displays correctly in 80-column terminals.

$ echo "Show basic memory information on SmartOS" >comment


This is a longer multi-line description of the package which is output by pkg_info <package name> or pkgin pkg-descr <package name>. Format this to 80-columns.

$ cat >description <<EOF
meminfo prints basic information about available memory on a SmartOS machine,
listing the total memory size, used, and free.  The information provided
should be understood in light of how memory is used and reported on SmartOS,
for more information refer to:

So we should now have:

build-info          # basic package information
comment             # one-line comment
description         # multi-line comment
files/bin/meminfo   # the file we wish to package
packlist            # package listing

Create the package

We now have enough information to create a basic package. The magic invocation to perform the operation is:

$ pkg_create -B build-info -c comment -d description -f packlist \
  -I /opt/local -p files -U meminfo-1.0.tgz

The -B, -c, -d and -f arguments simply pull in the metadata files we’ve written.

The -I argument specifies the destination prefix. As we are creating a package outside of this prefix we need to tell pkg_create of the ultimate destination.

The -p argument is used in conjunction with -I to tell pkg_create where our files to be packaged can be found.

The -U argument means we should just create the package, and not register it.

And finally, we provide the package file. The packaging tools understand version numbers, so we can just provide the file name and it will determine the package name and version from that.

To verify the package, you can run:

$ pkg_info -X meminfo-1.0.tgz
COMMENT=Show basic memory information on SmartOS
DESCRIPTION=meminfo prints basic information about available memory on a SmartOS machine,
DESCRIPTION=listing the total memory size, used, and free.  The information provided
DESCRIPTION=should be understood in light of how memory is used and reported on SmartOS,
DESCRIPTION=for more information refer to:


For a single machine, you can now simply install the package with:

$ pkg_add meminfo-1.0.tgz

If you want to publish the package so that it is available to pkgin you need to create a pkg_summary file and put it alongside the package for download. This file is usually compressed to speed things up, and pkgin supports both .gz and .bz2.

$ pkg_info -X meminfo-1.0.tgz | gzip -9 >pkg_summary.gz

For example purposes I will simply use file://, but of course you can use http:// instead if you put the packages and pkg_summary file somewhere accessible:

$ mkdir /var/tmp/packages
$ cp meminfo-1.0.tgz pkg_summary.gz /var/tmp/packages

Add this repository to pkgin and reload:

$ echo "file:///var/tmp/packages" >>/opt/local/etc/pkgin/repositories.conf
$ sudo pkgin -fy up

Now the package should show up:

$ pkgin avail | grep meminfo
meminfo-1.0          Show basic memory information on SmartOS

and be installable:

$ sudo pkgin -y install meminfo
$ /opt/local/bin/meminfo
Memory (RSS) Cap    8192M
Memory (RSS) Used   92M
Memory (RSS) Free   8100M

This covers the basics and should be enough to get started. As mentioned, there are many other options available, and I suggest that if you need additional functionality you take a look at the pkg_create manual page, or simply use pkg_info -X on more complicated packages to see what they do.

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