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PACKAGE(5) File Formats Manual PACKAGE(5)

packageformat for OpenBSD binary packages

Binary packages for OpenBSD can be created using pkg_create(1) and are usually manipulated using pkg_add(1), pkg_mklocatedb(1), or pkg_info(1).

The basic underlying format is an archive following the ustar specification that can be handled with tar(1) and compressed using gzip(1).

Package names always end in “.tgz”; the file name itself should conform to packages-specs(7).

Note that the base distribution tarballs of OpenBSD (e.g. baseXX.tgz, compXX.tgz, ...) are not binary packages fit for pkg_add(1).

All types of archive contents can be present in a package, including files, directories, hardlinks, symlinks, fifos, block and character devices.

In order to allow just-in-time extraction, packages always begin with a table of contents, named +CONTENTS. This table of contents can be read using the API described in OpenBSD::PackingList(3p).

All the remaining information in the archive should be referenced in the packing-list, including all relevant information: symlinks destinations, special permissions, and file owners (pkg_create(1) and pkg_add(1) actually enforce this). See pkg_create(1) for annotation details.

This table of contents is always followed by a few special files, some of which are optional: the package description (+DESC), a display message (+DISPLAY), etc.

The basic ustar format has some limitations with respect to file names. Accordingly, the package tools will replace very long names with LongName#n and long link names with LongLink#n. The packing-list will hold the real file names, and the package tools will reconstitute the correct names behind the scenes. Extended ustar headers are currently recognized, but not supported.

User annotations are described in pkg_create(1). The following annotations are automatically inserted during package creation and installations:

List of architectures for which this package is intended. This corresponds to -A arches of pkg_create(1)

Historical accident. This specific comment encodes the actual -D FULLPKGPATH, -D CDROM, and -D FTP arguments to pkg_create(1).

Record a dependency declared using the option -P of pkg_create(1).

Record a digital signature of the packing-list, corresponding to pkg_create(1)'s -s option.

Added after a file entry by package to record that the entry is actually a hard link.

Used internally to record the settings of -L option.

Set the name of the package. This name is potentially different than the name of the file it came in, and is used when keeping track of the package for later deinstallation. pkg_create(1) will derive this field from the package file name.

Some options are automatically inserted by the package tools:
Set by fw_update(1) to trigger firmware-specific handling. In particular, firmwares are hidden from normal updates.
Record that a package has been explicitly installed by the user, and not as a result of a dependency look-up. Refer to pkg_add(1)'s -a option for details.

Added after a file entry by pkg_create(1) to record the files's cryptographic checksum, as a sha256 digest encoded in base64.

Added after a file entry by pkg_create(1) to record a file size.

Added after a file entry by pkg_create(1) to record that the entry is actually a symbolic link.

Original location of the package, automatically recorded in installed packages by pkg_add(1).

Internal annotation necessary to identify packages signed with signify(1) keys, as those keys don't carry any identity.

Record a library requirement declared using the option -W of pkg_create(1).

All information within a package is checksummed, using SHA256 since OpenBSD 4.4. During creation and installation, meta-information, such as file owners and permissions, are also checked: any important stuff that isn't recorded in the packing-list is an error.

Packing-lists can be signed. If a signature is found, then it will be checked during installation, and failure to verify will prevent the package from installing correctly. Currently, signify(1) and X.509-style signatures are supported. X.509 signatures rely on a certificate authority file being present as /etc/ssl/pkgca.pem and all signatures will be checked against it. Once the packing-list signature is checked, all individual packing elements will be checksummed, resulting in a ‘just-in-time’ signature checking.

Fat packages were removed in OpenBSD 5.1, since no practical application was found.

pkg_add(1), pkg_create(1), pkg_info(1), pkg_sign(1), packages(7), packages-specs(7)

Packages are valid gzip'ed ustar archives that can be extracted using tar(1). In particular, hardlink names should be valid, and all items will extract to different names. However, it may be a bit difficult to make sense of the package contents without peeking at the packing-list.

February 11, 2014 OpenBSD-5.5