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BULK(8) System Manager's Manual BULK(8)

bulkbuilding OpenBSD packages in bulk

There are quite a few steps necessary to build packages on a cluster. They are:

  1. Choose master machine setup and create partitions.
  2. Setup chrooted builds on the master.
  3. Add slaves and do a full bulk.
  4. Clean up and do subsequent bulks.
  5. Perform additional maintenance.

Setup a master machine with enough room for a chroot, say /build. Assuming you are using a cluster of machines, this chroot should contain NFS exportable partitions for distfiles, plists, and packages (one single partition can be used for simplicity). A full setup currently requires on the order of 70GB for distfiles and 50GB for packages. Expect these numbers to grow. 100GB for each should last a few years.

It is possible to build packages without a chroot, but the space requirement difference is negligible (a full OpenBSD install is less than 1GB), and having everything chrooted means you may install useful tools to help with the process outside of the chroot (for instance rsync(1)).

Reserve one "scratch" partition under the chroot for WRKOBJDIR (for instance, mfs, async, or SSD). This partition should be roughly 10GB if you want to be able to build all ports. This can often double as /tmp under the chroot.

Alternately, you can setup your whole chroot as a scratch partition, and reserve one more permanent space under it for distfiles, packages, and plists.

Choose a strategy for the ports tree itself. There must be a copy under /build. You can either copy it from outside the chroot, have it in an NFS partition, or manually make sure all machines on the cluster have the same ports tree (cvs checkout, rsync ...).

Note that logs are only produced on the master, and thus do not need to be nfs exportable, nor even inside the chroot.

OpenBSD now comes with default users for package builds, namely _pbuild and _pfetch.

The default login.conf(5) is appropriate for most setups, but _pbuild's datasize-cur will need to be bumped for a few ports, like pypy. Likewise, maxproc-cur is too small for machines with more than 4-6 cpus.

Note that _pbuild does not need network access, and is now blocked by default in pf(4).

Recent OpenBSD systems do not need any kind of doas(1) setup for bulk ports builds, as dpb(1) is run as root and drops permissions appropriately.

However, you may still want to setup doas(1) for root, if you want to manually fix ports, as PORTS_PRIVSEP relies on it.

Populate the initial chroot with proot(1). Point DISTDIR, PACKAGE_REPOSITORY, PLIST_REPOSITORY, WRKOBJDIR to appropriate locations.

Pay attention to nodev and wxallowed warnings. A chroot setup that can't have devices won't work at all. A setup without wxallowed in /usr/local and WRKOBJDIR won't build a lot of things.

Check that this setup can build ports by running dpb -B /build as root. Fix any issues related to file ownership at this point. See dpb(1) for details.

If your WRKOBJDIR is a temporary partition, make sure it belongs to _pbuild:_pbuild after a reboot.

Create identical slave machines with the same release material. Have them import the NFS partitions from the master, they don't need root access to the partitions. Set up ssh(1) so that the master can connect to the slaves, using ssh protocol 2, as root, preferably without a password or passphrase (however, dpb(1) uses a master connection, so a password would be required just once per host).

Note that code on slave machines will only run as _pbuild (during builds) or root (during dependency installation). Slave machines only require highly restricted network access. They just need to act as nfs clients to the master and to be reachable through ssh from the master.

Use a similar proot(1) config to populate each slave.

You should now be able to build ports on the slaves. A simple config will just have

DEFAULT chroot=/build

Check that the full config can still build ports.

You're now ready for a full bulk. Beware that even fast configs (3 amd64 with 8 cores each) may take over 24 hours to finish. It's generally appropriate to run dpb(1) under tmux(1).

Before running the next bulk, you should set up rotating logs and move the PACKAGE_REPOSITORY away. Save the PLIST_REPOSITORY and DISTDIR though. PLIST_REPOSITORY will catch problems in packing-lists. ${PLIST_REPOSITORY}/${ARCH}/history is also used to store sha256(1) history, necessary to reorder files inside packages to speed updates up.

The DISTDIR contains history information as well as DISTDIR/build-stats to speed further runs up.

How you wipe things out depends on your setup. If you run proot(1) again each time, most things will get cleaned up automatically (/build/usr/local, /build/var/db/pkg ...). Note that known directories such as WRKOBJDIR do not get cleaned up automatically, so you may want to set up a STARTUP_SCRIPT in dpb(1).

clean-old-distfiles(1) should be run occasionally since the DISTDIR will continue growing.

pkg_check-problems(1) should be run occasionally to find out conflicts and dependency issues.

clean-old-distfiles(1), dpb(1), pkg_check-problems(1), proot(1), register-plist(1), tmux(1),, release(8)

June 27, 2019 OpenBSD-7.1