Packaging Portal

Community Packaging

by Neal Brooks

Have you noticed something different, while perusing the PCLinuxOS forums? Perhaps it was the Packagers area of the forum. You haven't seen it yet? From the forum home page scroll down almost to the bottom of the page and have a look. It is right there in the section called Developers Corner. This is the place where some of the magic of our distro happens.

PCLinuxOS is a community distro. It should come as no surprise then that there are community packagers. These packages are all members of the community. They are people you know. Go ahead. Have a look. Read through some of the threads. You'll see several things going on there - a strong sense of community, a giving of time and effort, a sharing of knowledge and a willingness to learn. Do you see more? Good! Yes, they're open. Open as in "Open Source." This is packaging done by the people of the community for the people of the community.

So how open is this community of packagers? Could you get involved? First off, they are right there; before your eyes they are packaging RPMs. Second, if you have an interest in packaging and are willing to learn, it is as easy as it can be.

To start off, go to the Packagers area and read the stickied topics. You'll find the links for reading online or downloading the RPM tutorial, tips to get you started and more information that will bring you up to speed.

Next, read through some more of the threads on various packages. Pay careful attention to the problems posted and the solutions found; learn from the experience of other packagers. Check out Texstar's tips on packaging in the Living Wiki at MyPCLinuxOS. This will get you well on your way to becoming a packager.

Now that you're ready to start, go to the Package Suggest area and choose a package to get started with. Look for something simple and easy. If your first choice seems too difficult, try another. Until you are sure you can package the application, it would be best not to respond to the suggest thread. Don't worry about someone else doing it. For now, you are practicing. If you are successful at creating the RPM, go to the Packagers area and start a thread about it. Use a title like "Name-of-App Ready for testing." If you are running into problems creating the RPM, you can start a topic on it and get some helpful input from others. Be sure to be as complete as possible in reporting any errors and other information.

Those are the steps necessary to become a community packager. Enjoy packaging for yourself and others.

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