slackrpm - convert a Slackware package to RedHat RPM format
slackrpm [ -bdeilrsxyCL ] [ -p prefix ] [ package ... ]
slackrpm converts Slackware software packages into RedHat
Package Manager (RPM) format. It is useful for quickly
creating RPM packages for public distribution or for con
verting a Slackware Linux system to use RPM as the stan
dard package manager. It can also provide an alternate
way of viewing details of Slackware packages. After con
verting packages to RPM, the tools rpm(8) and glint(8) can
then be used to manage them in a consistent manner.
slackrpm's core function is to create RPM spec files. The
information it requires comes from the information files
left behind by pkgtool(8) and installpkg(8) after they
install Slackware packages. By default, slackrpm displays
a spec file representation of the given Slackware package
without any side effects.
A complete conversion using the -C command-line option
o generating a spec file for the Slackware package,
o manually editing the spec file,
o building an RPM package,
o installing the RPM package,
o and deleting the RPM package file.
Each of these steps except for the last may also be per
formed independently using the appropriate command-line
option in place of -C.
The selected package may be the name of an installed
Slackware package or the path to a Slackware `packages'
file. When a path is given, the corresponding Slackware
package installation script, if any, is ignored and a
warning to that effect is displayed.
A Slackware installation script is needed whenever a
Slackware package includes symbolic links or needs to mod
ify files already on the system. The complete script is
copied during Slackware package installation and is used
during slackrpm's conversion process.
If it exists, a Slackware installation script corresponds
to the %post section in an RPM spec file. slackrpm parses
the script and recognizes symbolic link creation commands
and certain other script commands which are safe to
ignore. If an installation script consists entirely of
these commands, symbolic links will be added to the %files
section and the other commands will be ignored. This elim
inates the need for the %post section for such packages.
If commands are are found in the script that slackrpm does
not know how to handle, the entire script will be added to
the %post section and the %files section will be
unchanged. Since Slackware packages don't supply uninstal
lation scripts, there is no simple way to fully undo the
effects of the installation script. Instead, a message is
added to the %preun section to warn the user doing an RPM
uninstall operation of possible installation side effects
which aren't undone.
There is not a direct correlation between the information
required in spec files and the information supplied by the
Slackware package tools; several items must be inferred
from the information available.
Following is a list of data contained in the generated RPM
Marks a configuration file in the %files section.
This attribute is applied to files which match cer
tain patterns characteristic of configuration
files. For instance, all files ending in rc except
for files ending in .arc, .src (and a few other
exceptions) are marked with %config.
The entire multi-line Slackware package descrip
%dir Marks a directory in the %files section. Normally,
directories listed as part of the Slackware package
are ignored unless no files are actually placed
into the directory. Such directories are included
and marked with %dir. Some Slackware packages cre
ate irrelevant directories which ought to be manu
ally removed from the spec file during the editing
%doc Marks a documentation file in the %files section.
This attribute is applied to files which match cer
tain patterns characteristic of documentation files
or man pages. For instance, all files in a direc
tory called man are marked as %doc files.
%files The list of files listed as part of the Slackware
package. Certain entries are marked with the %con
fig, %dir and %doc attributes.
%post This section only exists if a Slackware installa
tion script exists but could not be added to the
%files section. If so, the entire Slackware
installation script is included here. If the -x
option is given, this section is not created.
%preun This section only exists if a Slackware installa
tion script exists but could not be added to the
%files section. If so, then this contains a mes
sage which is displayed during the uninstallation
stage to warn the user that the package may not be
completely uninstalled. This is because it is
impossible to automatically undo everything that
could possibly be done in an installation script,
based only on the script itself. If the -x option
is given, this section is not created.
Set to `distributable' if this package appears to
have been installed by pkgtool (and therefore from
an original Slackware distribution) and `unknown'
otherwise. You should change this line to reflect
the true copyright status of the package.
Group: If the package was installed with pkgtool, the
group name is taken from the disk set containing
the original package. The group has the form
`Slackware/disk set'; the list of disk sets can be
viewed using the -d option. If the package appears
to have been installed with installpkg -r this is
set to `Slackware/Custom'. Otherwise, it is set to
Name: The Slackware package name with the -p prefix. The
name can be the archive file name if the package
was installed with installpkg. If so, it should be
edited to a plain name (without the .tar.gz suf
`Converted from Slackware package by slackrpm ver.
This line is always commented out since it is
impossible to tell if a given Slackware package can
appears, its use is valid from the viewpoint of rpm
and you may uncomment the line if the software
allows relocation. If you decide to do this AND an
installation script was included in the %post sec
tion, AND you install the package with rpm's --pre
fix option, you must provide a --prefix that ends
with the contents of the Prefix: line. For
instance, if Prefix: is set to /usr/bin, then
--prefix /usr/share/usr/bin is valid but --prefix
/usr/share/bin is not. This is the only way to
guarantee that the installation script (which uses
relative path names) will execute correctly. Bro
ken installation scripts (probably from other than
an original Slackware distribution) that use abso
lute path names will not work properly and may even
overwrite files on your disk. For this reason, it
is best not to uncomment the Prefix: line when a
%post section exists. If you change the Prefix:
path, you must change the path in the first non-
comment line in the %post and %preun sections as
Fixed at 1. You may optionally increase this value
while editing if this is not the first time you
have released this version of the package.
The first line of the description. If this line is
longer than 50 characters, a warning comment line
is placed on the next line. The line should be
shortened manually during the edit phase.
The first line of the description is scanned for
what looks like a version number. Sometimes what is
found is not actually a version number and some
times no version number can be found in which case
this field is set to `unknown'. In either case it
ought to be changed during the editing stage. If
you edit the version number, the -b and -i options
will not work and you will have to rename the spec
file and build and install the package manually.
There is not a one-to-one mapping between standard Slack
ware and RPM packages. This can cause grief with package
maintainance since pieces of one Slackware package can
overlap with parts of several RPM packages (and vice-
It is best to convert all Slackware packages before start
ing to add new RedHat RPM packages. This avoids problems
overwrite old Slackware files.
Once you've converted your system to RPM, you should stop
using the Slackware package deletion function. Slackware
checks for shared files before deleting a package to avoid
breaking anothers, but once you start installing RPM pack
ages Slackware has no knowledge of the files they use.
Installing new Slackware packages should be safe, but
remember that Slackware doesn't back up your old configu
Since RPM package dependencies depend on the proper pack
age name, dependencies will not be satisfied by Slackware
packages which are prefixed with sl-. You may wish to
delete such packages once they are converted, then install
the RPM equivalents.
The least confusion results if Slackware packages are con
verted before their configuration files are edited. The
rpm -V (verify) command will then properly show changed
configuration files. This is unlikely to be the case if
you are converting a Slackware system that has been in use
for a while, so don't worry too much about it.
Several shared files are installed by more than one Slack
ware package. Converting the second package to RPM format
poses a problem since RPM will refuse to overwrite a file
that has already been installed. This can be overcome by
manually invoking rpm with the --replacefiles option.
The recommended order for converting packages is larger
packages with many files first (like man*, info*, bin,
util, etc.), leaving smaller packages last. This is so if
a smaller Slackware or RPM package overwrites some files
you will have finer control after installation. If you
have installed a mixture of packages from different Slack
ware distributions, it is best to convert the older pack
The -i option installs the package using rpm's -i and
--justdb options. All files in the package are marked as
having just been installed, including configuration files
marked %config. This means that if you changed a configu
ration file between installing the Slackware package and
running slackrpm, RPM assumes that the configuration file
was unaltered. The next time you delete or upgrade this
package, RPM will not preserve the configuration file by
renaming the original with an .rpmsave extension. You may
wish to copy these configuration files manually before
removing or upgrading a slackrpm converted package if you
want to save the edits.
-e Edit spec file after creation
-i Install converted package into the rpm database
-l List Slackware packages installed on this system
Add prefix to RPM package names (defaults to `sl-';
this lets you see at a glance which are legacy
-r Remove RPM package file after successful install
-s Write spec files to SPECS directory instead of std
-x Exclude install script from spec file (from %files,
%post and %preun sections)
-y Overwrite spec file if it exists
-C Convert package; equivalent to -sebir
-L Display software license
Directory containing Slackware package and script
directories. This defaults to /var/adm, but may
need to be set to /var/log for Slackware ver. >=
EDITOR Editor to use with -e option (defaults to vi)
Directory containing Slackware package files
(defaults to $ADMIN_DIR/packages)
Directory containing Slackware installation scripts
(defaults to $ADMIN_DIR/scripts )
slackrpm's exit status is 1 when given a bad command-line
option and 0 otherwise.
RPM system configuration file
RPM custom configuration file
RPM user configuration file
slackrpm program code
Daniel Fandrich <firstname.lastname@example.org>
slackrpm is copyright © 1997,1998 by Daniel Fandrich. It
is provided "as is", without any express or implied war
ranties. See the file COPYING for details.
glint(8), installpkg(8), pkgtool(8), rpm(8)
Man(1) output converted with