Chapter 16. Options handling

Table of Contents

16.1. Global default options
16.2. Converting packages to use
16.3. Option Names
16.4. Determining the options of dependencies

Many packages have the ability to be built to support different sets of features. is a framework in pkgsrc that provides generic handling of those options that determine different ways in which the packages can be built. It's possible for the user to specify exactly which sets of options will be built into a package or to allow a set of global default options apply.

There are two broad classes of behaviors that one might want to control via options. One is whether some particular feature is enabled in a program that will be built anyway, often by including or not including a dependency on some other package. The other is whether or not an additional program will be built as part of the package. Generally, it is better to make a split package for such additional programs instead of using options, because it enables binary packages to be built which can then be added separately. For example, the foo package might have minimal dependencies (those packages without which foo doesn't make sense), and then the foo-gfoo package might include the GTK frontend program gfoo. This is better than including a gtk option to foo that adds gfoo, because either that option is default, in which case binary users can't get foo without gfoo, or not default, in which case they can't get gfoo. With split packages, they can install foo without having GTK, and later decide to install gfoo (pulling in GTK at that time). This is an advantage to source users too, avoiding the need for rebuilds.

Plugins with widely varying dependencies should usually be split instead of options.

It is often more work to maintain split packages, especially if the upstream package does not support this. The decision of split vs. option should be made based on the likelihood that users will want or object to the various pieces, the size of the dependencies that are included, and the amount of work.

A further consideration is licensing. Non-free parts, or parts that depend on non-free dependencies (especially plugins) should almost always be split if feasible.

16.1. Global default options

Global default options are listed in PKG_DEFAULT_OPTIONS, which is a list of the options that should be built into every package if that option is supported. This variable should be set in mk.conf.

16.2. Converting packages to use

The following example shows how should be used by the hypothetical ``wibble'' package, either in the package Makefile, or in a file, e.g., that is included by the main package Makefile.

PKG_OPTIONS_VAR=                PKG_OPTIONS.wibble
PKG_SUPPORTED_OPTIONS=          wibble-foo ldap
PKG_OPTIONS_GROUP.database=     mysql pgsql
PKG_SUGGESTED_OPTIONS=          wibble-foo
PKG_OPTIONS_LEGACY_OPTS+=       foo:wibble-foo

.include "../../mk/"

# this package was previously named wibble2
.if defined(PKG_OPTIONS.wibble2)
PKG_LEGACY_OPTIONS+=            ${PKG_OPTIONS.wibble2}
        "Deprecated variable PKG_OPTIONS.wibble2 used, use ${PKG_OPTIONS_VAR} instead."

.include "../../mk/"

# Package-specific option-handling

### FOO support
.if !empty(PKG_OPTIONS:Mwibble-foo)
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --enable-foo

### LDAP support
.if !empty(PKG_OPTIONS:Mldap)
.  include "../../databases/openldap-client/"
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --enable-ldap=${BUILDLINK_PREFIX.openldap-client}

### database support
.if !empty(PKG_OPTIONS:Mmysql)
.  include "../../mk/"
.if !empty(PKG_OPTIONS:Mpgsql)
.  include "../../mk/"

The first section contains the information about which build options are supported by the package, and any default options settings if needed.

  1. PKG_OPTIONS_VAR is the name of the make(1) variable that the user can set to override the default options. It should be set to PKG_OPTIONS.pkgbase. Do not set it to PKG_OPTIONS.${PKGBASE}, since PKGBASE is not defined at the point where the options are processed.

  2. PKG_SUPPORTED_OPTIONS is a list of build options supported by the package.

  3. PKG_OPTIONS_OPTIONAL_GROUPS is a list of names of groups of mutually exclusive options. The options in each group are listed in PKG_OPTIONS_GROUP.groupname. The most specific setting of any option from the group takes precedence over all other options in the group. Options from the groups will be automatically added to PKG_SUPPORTED_OPTIONS.

  4. PKG_OPTIONS_REQUIRED_GROUPS is like PKG_OPTIONS_OPTIONAL_GROUPS, but building the packages will fail if no option from the group is selected.

  5. PKG_OPTIONS_NONEMPTY_SETS is a list of names of sets of options. At least one option from each set must be selected. The options in each set are listed in PKG_OPTIONS_SET.setname. Options from the sets will be automatically added to PKG_SUPPORTED_OPTIONS. Building the package will fail if no option from the set is selected.

  6. PKG_SUGGESTED_OPTIONS is a list of build options which are enabled by default.

  7. PKG_OPTIONS_LEGACY_VARS is a list of USE_VARIABLE:option pairs that map legacy mk.conf variables to their option counterparts. Pairs should be added with += to keep the listing of global legacy variables. A warning will be issued if the user uses a legacy variable.

  8. PKG_OPTIONS_LEGACY_OPTS is a list of old-option:new-option pairs that map options that have been renamed to their new counterparts. Pairs should be added with += to keep the listing of global legacy options. A warning will be issued if the user uses a legacy option.

  9. PKG_LEGACY_OPTIONS is a list of options implied by deprecated variables used. This can be used for cases that neither PKG_OPTIONS_LEGACY_VARS nor PKG_OPTIONS_LEGACY_OPTS can handle, e. g. when PKG_OPTIONS_VAR is renamed.

  10. PKG_OPTIONS_DEPRECATED_WARNINGS is a list of warnings about deprecated variables or options used, and what to use instead.

A package should never modify PKG_DEFAULT_OPTIONS or the variable named in PKG_OPTIONS_VAR. These are strictly user-settable. To suggest a default set of options, use PKG_SUGGESTED_OPTIONS.

PKG_OPTIONS_VAR must be defined before including If none of PKG_SUPPORTED_OPTIONS, PKG_OPTIONS_OPTIONAL_GROUPS, and PKG_OPTIONS_REQUIRED_GROUPS are defined (as can happen with platform-specific options if none of them is supported on the current platform), PKG_OPTIONS is set to the empty list and the package is otherwise treated as not using the options framework.

After the inclusion of, the variable PKG_OPTIONS contains the list of selected build options, properly filtered to remove unsupported and duplicate options.

The remaining sections contain the logic that is specific to each option. The correct way to check for an option is to check whether it is listed in PKG_OPTIONS:

.if !empty(PKG_OPTIONS:Moption)

16.3. Option Names

Options that enable similar features in different packages (like optional support for a library) should use a common name in all packages that support it (like the name of the library). If another package already has an option with the same meaning, use the same name.

Options that enable features specific to one package, where it's unlikely that another (unrelated) package has the same (or a similar) optional feature, should use a name prefixed with pkgname-.

If a group of related packages share an optional feature specific to that group, prefix it with the name of the main package (e. g. djbware-errno-hack).

For new options, add a line to mk/defaults/options.description. Lines have two fields, separated by tab. The first field is the option name, the second its description. The description should be a whole sentence (starting with an uppercase letter and ending with a period) that describes what enabling the option does. E. g. Enable ispell support. The file is sorted by option names.

16.4. Determining the options of dependencies

When writing files, it is often necessary to list different dependencies based on the options with which the package was built. For querying these options, the file pkgsrc/mk/ should be used. A typical example looks like this:

pkgbase := libpurple
.include "../../mk/"

.if !empty(PKG_BUILD_OPTIONS.libpurple:Mdbus)

Including here will set the variable PKG_BUILD_OPTIONS.libpurple to the build options of the libpurple package, which can then be queried like PKG_OPTIONS in the file. See the file for more details.