Alexander Kojevnikov | Blog

Arch Linux + yaourt + customizepkg = beauty!

I recently switched my main desktop from Ubuntu to Arch Linux, mostly for its rolling release model. I really like Ubuntu but I got tired of dealing with lots of custom PPAs. Arch Linux not only provides the latest stable version for all packages, it also has tools to customise the packages to your liking and selectively build them from source.

In this post I will explain how to do it, taking as an example my pet peeve – the vertical Gnome panel. Carey Underwood has recently posted a (mostly) working patch, let's get it into our box.

First thing you need is to install yaourt and customizepkg, both are available in AUR. ArchWiki has a great tutorial on how to do it. Actually you only need the tutorial to install yaourt, afterwards installing packages from AUR is as simple as running:

% yaourt -S customizepkg

customizepkg allows to tweak PKGBUILDs. You just add a file to /etc/customizepkg.d/ with the same name as the package you want to change. The file format is not well documented, but it's pretty intuitive.

In our case we need to create /etc/customizepkg.d/libwnck with the following text (in one line):

replace#global#cd "${srcdir}\/${pkgname}-${pkgver}"
#cd "${srcdir}\/${pkgname}-${pkgver}"\nwget -O vertical.patch
|| return 1\npatch -Np2 -i vertical.patch || return 1

The file will tell customizepkg to add two lines to libwnck's PKGBUILD:

 build() {
   cd "${srcdir}/${pkgname}-${pkgver}"
+wget -O vertical.patch || return 1
+patch -Np2 -i vertical.patch || return 1
   ./configure --prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc
               --localstatedir=/var --disable-static || return 1
   make || return 1

Then you just install the package as you always do, but using yaourt instead of pacman:

% yaourt -S libwnck

Et voilà, yaourt realises that you want to build libwnck from source, gets its PKGBUILD, changes it, and builds. When building, the patch is downloaded and applied to the source code of libwnck before it's made.

But wait, there's more to it! Next time you upgrade the system with yaourt -Syu, if there is a new version of libwnck, it will be automatically patched and built from source.

Hope you find this useful, and if you haven't tried Arch yet – do it today, you won't be disappointed ;)

Published: 2009-09-05

Tags: linux