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Some of below info may be outdated and is taken from Meego.


Spectacle is the toolset for packaging maintenance from Mer, including the tool to generate spec files from metadata file in YAML format, and tools to convert spec files or spec-builder's ini files to YAML format.

For spectacle managed packages, all generic packaging information will be stored in the YAML file, and it also allows maintaining customizations in the spec file directly with special enclosure tags.

Three separated tools will be installed:

  • specify: the tool to generate or to update spec file, based on YAML
  • ini2spectacle: the tool to convert spec-builder .ini to YAML and new spec file
  • spec2spectacle: the tool to convert original spec to YAML and new spec file



Several methods available for spectacle installation:

  • Via your package manager on your linux dist.
  • Platform_SDK has it installed from beginning.
  • Or Build from the latest source and install it by ``make install``
 The latest code in git tree can be found on Github


  • python 2.x, above 2.5
  • PyYAML, the python module for YAML parsing
  • cheetah, one popular templating system for python
   In many linux distributions, the needed package might be "python-cheetah".


  • specify
   Usage: specify [options] [yaml-path]
     --version             show program's version number and exit
     -h, --help            show this help message and exit
                           Path of output spec file
     -s, --skip-scm        Skip to check upstream SCM when specified in YAML
     -N, --not-download    Do not try to download newer source files
     -n, --non-interactive
                             Non interactive running, to use default answers
      --new=NEWYAML         Create a new yaml from template
      --newsub=NEWSUB       Append a new sub-package to current yaml

For example, `specify widget.yaml` will create (or update) the file widget.spec. The update will clobber/delete everything that is not enclosed in the customization sections (<<< and >>>). Note that the %changelog section will always be clobbered (see Tips below about changelogs).

  • ini2spectacle
   Usage: ini2spectacle [options] [ini-path]
     --version             show program's version number and exit
     -h, --help            show this help message and exit
                           Path of output yaml file
     -f, --include-files   To store files list in YAML file
  • spec2spectacle
   Usage: spec2spectacle [options] [spec-path]
     --version             show program's version number and exit
     -h, --help            show this help message and exit
                           Path of output yaml file
     -r, --replace-macros  To replace self-defined macros in spec file
     --no-builder-parsing  Do NOT try to parse build/install scripts
     -f, --include-files   To store files list in YAML file

Syntax of spectacle YAML

The syntax of YAML can be refered here: <>

Two example spectacle YAML files are placed to examples/ directory in source code:

  • xfce4-session.yaml, a real world sample with most of the elements
  • general.yaml, a fake spectacle contains all the available elements with comments

All available directives for spectacle are listed as the following:

  • Name: **string**
  • Summary: **string**
  • Version: **string**, version string
  • Release: **string**
  • Epoch: **string**, *optional*
  • Group: **string**
  • License: **string**
  • URL: **string**, *optional*
  • BuildArch: **string**, *optional*
  • ExclusiveArch: **string**, *optional*
  • Prefix: **string**, *optional*
  • LocaleName: **string**, *optional*
  • LocaleOptions: **string**, *optional*
  • Description: **text**, *optional*
  • Sources: **list** of **string**
  • SourcePrefix: **string**, *optional*, specify the prefix path in source package
  • ExtraSources: **list** of **string**, *optional*
  • SetupOptions: **string**, *optional*, the options string for %setup
  • Patches: **list** of **string**, all patches need to be in 'p1' level
  • Requires: **list** of **string**
  • RequiresPre: **list** of **string**
  • RequiresPreUn: **list** of **string**
  • RequiresPost: **list** of **string**
  • RequiresPostUn: **list** of **string**
  • PkgBR: **list** of **string**, packages required in building, or BuildRequires
  • PkgConfigBR: **list** of **string**, pkg-config requires in building
  • Provides: **list** of **string**
  • Conflicts: **list** of **string**
  • Obsoletes: **list** of **string**
  • BuildConflicts: **list** of **string**
  • Configure: **string**, *optional*, valid values: **autogen**, **configure**, **reconfigure**, **none**
    • If not specified, the default value "configure" will be used
  • ConfigOptions: **list**, *optional*, extra options for ``Configure``
  • Builder: **string**, *optional*, valid values: **make**, **single-make**, **python**, **perl**, **qmake**, **none**
    • If not specified, the deault value "make" will be used. If do not want a automatic builder, please use "none".
  • QMakeOptions: **list**, *optional*, extra options for **qmake** ``Builder``
  • Files: **list** of **string**, *optional*, content of ``%files`` for small packages
  • FilesInput: **string**, *optional*, extra input source for %files
  • NoFiles: **boolean**, *optional*, if to be set as True, means no %files section for this package and it cause no rpm generated
  • RunFdupes: **list** of **string**, paths under %{buildroot} to run ``%fdupes`` macro in %install
  • RpmLintIgnore: **list**, *optional*, list of skip items for ``rpmlint``
  • Check: **boolean**, whether need ``%check`` section in spec
  • SupportOtherDistros: **boolean**, whether need to check for other distros (besides MeeGo)
  • UseAsNeeded: **boolean**, whether export LD\_AS\_NEEDED=1 environ variable before building
  • NoAutoReq: **boolean**, whether add 'AutoReq: 0' to spec
  • NoAutoProv: **boolean**, whether add 'AutoProv: 0' to spec
  • NoSetup: **boolean**, whether to skip using ``%setup`` in ``%prep``
  • NoAutoLocale: **boolean**, whether to use ``%find_lang`` to search locale data when found 'intltool' in PkgBR
  • NoDesktop: **boolean**, whether to install the desktop files in package
  • UpdateDesktopDB: **boolean**, whether to run 'update-desktop-database' to flush cache when package (un)installation
  • NoIconCache: **boolean**, whether to run 'gtk-update-icon-cache' if icon files found in package
  • AutoDepend: **boolean**, for subpackages only, whether to add Require to main package automatically
  • AsWholeName: **boolean**, for subpackages only, whether to use **Name** as the whole package name
  • AutoSubPackages: **list** of **string**, mainly for '-devel'
  • SubPackages: **list** of **dict**, the **dict** item is the lower level directives for sub packages:
   * Name
   * Summary
   * Description, *optional*
   * Group, *optional*
   * License, *optional*
   * Requires, *optional*
   * etc.

CAUTION: The following cases of value string have special meaning in YAML syntax:

  • string with leading **``%``** charactor
  • string with leading **``*``** charactor
  • string contains **``:``** charactor and one or more spaces/tabs after **``:``**
  • string end with **``:``** charactor

Then these string values need to be quoted by ``'``(single-quote) or ``"`` (double-quote), and the choice of quote char should not conflict with the value string self.

Mandatory and valid keywords for all packages

Mandatory keywords

The following keywords are mandatory for main package:

  • Name
  • Summary
  • Description
  • Version
  • Group
  • License

The following keywords are mandatory for sub-package:

  • Name
  • Summary
  • Description
  • Group

Valid keywords for sub-packages

For sub-packages, only a subset of keywords can be specified:

  • Name
  • Summary
  • Description
  • Group
  • License
  • Version
  • Release
  • Epoch
  • URL
  • BuildArch
  • Files
  • Prefix
  • Requires
  • RequiresPre
  • RequiresPreUn
  • RequiresPost
  • RequiresPostUn
  • Provides
  • Conflicts
  • Obsoletes
  • NoAutoReq
  • NoAutoProv
  • NoAutoReqProv
  • NoIconCache
  • FilesInput

Keywords only for sub-packages

The following keywords are only valid for sub-packages:

  • AsWholeName
  • AutoDepend

Namespace support for multi-architecture in several keywords

For the following spectacle YAML keywords:

  • Requires
  • PkgBR
  • PkgConfigBR
  • Patches
  • ConfigOptions
  • QMakeOptions

If one of the items need to be architecture specified, we can add arch prefix to it. The supported prefix and the corresponding architectures as the followings:

  • ``ix86:`` - x86 platform
  • ``arm:`` - arm platform
  • ``armv5:`` - armv5 platform, will expand to "armv5el armv5tel armv5tejl"
  • ``armv7:`` - armv7 platform, will expand to "armv7el armv7tel armv7l armv7hl armv7nhl"

Here's some samples:

       - arm:pkg-need-in-arm-image
       - ix86:pkg-need-in-x86-image
       - normal-pkg
       - arm:--arm-specific-opt
       - ix86:--ix86-specific-opt
       - --common-opt

Customizations in spec

Generated spec files by specify will have many placeholders for customizations, such as:

   # >> build pre
   # << build pre

You can add any custom code between the markers, next time when you run ``specify``, the text between the markers will be kept as is, all other sections relying on the meta data from the YAML file will be changed depending on the values in the YAML file.

The following placeholders in spec can be customized:

  • Private Macros, used in this package's spec
   With placeholder:
       # >> macros
       # << macros
  • Extra setup scripts in the last of ``%prep``
   With placeholder:
       # >> setup
       # << setup
  • Pre-Build, scripts before package building
   With placeholder:
       # >> build pre
       # << build pre
  • Post-Build, scripts after package building
   With placeholder:
       # >> build post
       # << build post
  • Pre-Install, scripts before package installation
   With placeholder:
       # >> install pre
       # << install pre
  • Post-Install, scripts after package installation
   With placeholder:
       # >> install post
       # << install post
  • Files, files list in packaged rpm
   With placeholder:
       # >> files [sub-package]
       # << files [sub-package]

NOTE**: "sub-packge" stands for the name of sub-package, and it is optional. If no sub-package name specified, it means the files of **main** package. NOTE**: If the file list is simple enough, you can use YAML *Files* keyword instead to record it.

  • Scriptlets for %check section
   With placeholder:
       # >> check
       # << check

NOTE**: Only if YAML boolean *Check* is specifed as ``yes``, %check with placeholder lines will be generated in .spec.

  • Scriptlets for %pre section
   With placeholder:
       # >> pre
       # << pre

NOTE**: The placeholder lines will NOT generated in spec by default. If you need customized %pre scripts, it need be added manually, and only once.

  • Scriptlets for %preun section
   With placeholder:
       # >> preun
       # << preun

NOTE**: The placeholder lines will NOT generated in spec by default. If you need customized %preun scripts, it need be added manually, and only once.

  • Scriptlets for %post section
   With placeholder:
       # >> post
       # << post

NOTE**: The placeholder lines will NOT generated in spec by default. If you need customized %post scripts, it need be added manually, and only once.

  • Scriptlets for %postun section
   With placeholder:
       # >> postun
       # << postun

NOTE**: The placeholder lines will NOT generated in spec by default. If you need customized %postun scripts, it need be added manually, and only once.

Internal Implementation

Spectacle uses cheetah templates to generate the spec file, based the metadata from YAML file. But the end users need not tackle it.


To upgrade the pkg to a newer version, you can just edit the version string in spectacle YAML file, and when you run ``specify``, it will download the needed files for you automatically.

For packages with locale data, *LocaleName* is needed. If package maintainers cannot confirm whether there are locale files, they can just do not use *LocaleName* at first, and whenever "unpackaged files" rpm packaging errors encountered, it means *LocaleName* should be added. And please do not use it for packages without locale data to keep them clean, though it will not block the building and packaging.

When using spec2spectacle/ini2spectacle to generate spectacle, the following problems should be checked:

  • Remove duplicate Requires(include pre/post/preun/postun) which were added automatically based on the analysis of file list.
  • Review and clean up the reserved scripts in "build|install pre|post" sections in new generated spec file.

User can use "series.conf" file to specify multiple patches under package directory. The "series.conf" can be used by ``quilt`` and the content can be updated to spec automatically when running ``specify``.

When you use ``specify`` to update a .spec file, any %changelog section will be removed in total. This is because the Packaging Guidelines require using *.changes files instead of an explicit %changelog section in your .spec. (And spectacle doesn't have any changelog support for the .yaml file.) Before rebuilding a package, OBS will add the .changes file to the end of the .spec. (So, if you're building packages without OBS/osc, then you will need to do this manually.)

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