Building Packages for OpenSolaris: Easier than Ever

In a previous entry I documented in detail how I contributed an open-source package (Ploticus) to OpenSolaris using SourceJuicer, starting with how to write a spec file and ending with the inclusion of the package in the contrib repository. In truth, at the time I published the information I had not actually taken the last step to promote the package from the pending repository to the contrib repository due to a Ploticus bug I discovered during testing. Ploticus ran okay, but it was not configured as I had wanted. It took me some time to create appropriate patch files, rebuild the package, re-test it, etc.

In retrospect, I'm glad I was delayed because in the meantime OpenSolaris 2009.06 and SourceJuicer 1.2.0 were both released, which gave me a chance to see if any improvements had been made in the contribution process. I am happy to report that improvements were definitely made. Read on for details.

Most important, SourceJuicer documentation has been much improved. See, for example, How to Use OpenSolaris SourceJuicer for a good overview of the submission process. In addition, the short (9 min) video below, which walks through the mechanics of submitting files using SourceJuicer, is also an excellent resource:

SourceJuicer itself has also been improved significantly with this latest release. For example, it is now possible to delete a submitted file if it is no longer needed---I was able to use SourceJuicer 1.2.0 to remove an incorrect copyright file I had created when I first submitted Ploticus. While I appreciated that improvement, I found the following much more intriguing:

The screendump above shows the results of recent SourceJuicer builds, including Ploticus. I was happy to see Ploticus built successfully with the patches I had created on my first try. I was also curious about the implied promise of the new Install column. Since I next wanted to install and test this latest package on my 2009.06 system, I clicked on the Install link. And saw this:

Hey, cool. Firefox knows it should invoke the Package Manager to handle my request. How? With OpenSolaris 2009.06 we've enhanced the Package Manager to support a web installer mode and created a new mime type (application/vnd.pkg5.info) to pass package installation requests from a web page to Package Manager. This works from any web browser so long as the web server is configured to handle .p5i files correctly. See John Rice's blog entry on 2009.06 Package Manager enhancements for more details.

I clicked OK and then saw:

Package Manager promises to not only install the requested package, but to automatically add the required repository to my configuration as well. Surely it can't be this simple. I clicked on Proceed:

Apparently, it can be that simple. :-)

I've now tested my patched version of Ploticus on 2009.06 and requested the package be promoted to contrib by sending a note to sw-porters-discuss@opensolaris.org. I'm hopeful Ploticus will soon be available to the entire OpenSolaris community.

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