Deplist improved, with suggested and recommended entries

make sure to document how to use `make DEPLIST DEPTYPE=sug DISTRO=devuan` and default of `make DEPLIST DEPTYPE=dep DISTRO=devuan` and make DEPLIST DEPTYPE=rec DISTRO=devuan

Here is my improved method for using target deplist.

In the Makefile:

   @# deplist 2020-04-18 input must be comma separated
   @# DEPTYPE( dep , rec , sug ) for depends, recommends, or suggests
   @if test -z "${DISTRO}" ; then ${echobin} "Please run \`make deplist\` with DISTRO= one of: `make deplist_opts 2>&1 1>/dev/null | ${xargsbin}`. Aborted." 1>&2 ; exit 1 ; fi
   @if ! ${echobin} "${DEPTYPE}" | grep -qE "^(dep|rec|sug)$$" ; then ${echobin} "Please run \`make deplist\` with DEPTYPE= one of: dep, rec, sug. Undefined will use \`dep\`. Aborted." 1>&2 ; exit 1; fi
   @${grepbin} -h --exclude-dir='doc' -riIE "\<${DEPTYPE}-" ${SRCDIR} | ${awkbin} -v "domain=${DISTRO}" -v "deptype=${DEPTYPE}" 'tolower($$2) ~ deptype"-"domain {$$1="";$$2="";print}' | tr ',' '\n' | ${sortbin} | ${uniqbin} | ${sedbin} -r -e 's/^\s*//' -e "s/\s*\$$/${SEPARATOR}/" | ${xargsbin}

   @# deplist_opts 2020-04-18 find all available dependency domains
   @${grepbin} -h -o -riIE '\<(dep|rec|sug)-[^\ :]+:' ${SRCDIR} | ${sedbin} -r -e 's/(dep|rec|sug)-//;' -e 's/:$$//;' | ${sortbin} | ${uniqbin} 1>&2

Observe how these all depend on variables being defined earlier:

awkbin     :=$(shell which awk)
chmodbin   :=$(shell which chmod)
cpbin      :=$(shell which cp)
echobin    :=$(shell which echo)
falsebin   :=$(shell which false)
findbin    :=$(shell which find)
grepbin    :=$(shell which grep)
gzipbin    :=$(shell which gzip)
installbin :=$(shell which install)
rmbin      :=$(shell which rm)
rmdirbin   :=$(shell which rmdir)
sedbin     :=$(shell which sed)
sortbin    :=$(shell which sort)
truebin    :=$(shell which true)
uniqbin    :=$(shell which uniq)
xargsbin   :=$(shell which xargs)

In the source files in the project, you can use entries like these:

# dep-devuan: mawk | gawk, lightdm, upower
# dep-raw: awk, grep, sed, lightdm
# rec-devuan: lightdm-gtk-greeter
# sug-devuan: logout-manager
# dep-centos: lightdm, upower

Obviously this is a poor substitute for the make_shlibs from debhelper (which probably just wraps around ldd). But for my shell-driven packages, it’s pretty nice if you add the dependencies to each individual file.

Makefile trick: deplist

I whipped together a snippet for a Makefile I plan on using more in the future.

This target, deplist, searches the entire source tree for my “# Dependencies:” tags, by distribution name, and lists them on standard out.

	@if test -z "$(DISTRO)" ; then echo "Please run \`make deplist\` with DISTRO= one of: `make deplist_opts 2>&1 1>/dev/null | xargs`. Aborted." ; exit 1 ; fi
	@grep -h --exclude='Makefile' --exclude-dir='doc' -A5 -riIE dependencies $(SRCDIR) | \
	   awk -v 'distro=$(DISTRO)' 'tolower($$0) ~ distro {$$1="";$$2="";print}' | \
	   awk 'BEGIN{cmd="xargs -n1"} $$0 !~ /\(/{print $$0 | cmd ; close(cmd);} $$0 ~ /\(/{print;}' | \
	   sort | uniq | sed -r -e 's/$$/$(SEPARATOR)/' | xargs

	@echo "el7" 1>&2
	@echo "devuan" 1>&2

And, of course, probably place these in your .PHONY list because these are not real files to be built.

.PHONY: clean install uninstall list deplist deplist_opts

Every file in the project that has an external dependency should have some comments in this format:

# Dependencies:
#    devuan: python3-tk python3-pil
#    el7: python36 python36-pil

To use this target in a debuild recipe, so that it will dynamically build the dpkg dependency list, use:

	printf "misc:Depends=" > debian/${APPNAME}.substvars
	make -C src deplist DISTRO=devuan SEPARATOR=',' | grep -vE 'make\[[0-9]' >> debian/${APPNAME}.substvars


Inspiration from rpm’s Dynamic Build Dependency feature.

Original research.

Depending on third-party packages or repos

A recent incident has caught my attention, where a Ubuntu PPA owner decided to restrict access to his PPAs after some bad feelings he got from an interaction with a stingy company.

As many in the reddit thread commented, it is unwise to pull in dependencies from third-parties. You cannot always expect them to remain available, or always trust them. In fact, you probably shouldn’t trust them. Obviously, there is a wide spectrum of opinions on the topic. This isn’t a moral issue, but it is an important possibly business-continuity one.

Disclosures for my public repositories

I package some programs myself, for Fedora/CentOS and Devuan ceres. Of course they have dependencies, and a few even have some third-party dependencies. For some of my projects, I have actually taken the effort to package up their dependencies as well so my repositories are sufficient (with main distro repos of course) for the actual package I care about.

I made the decision on CentOS 6, because I don’t actually have any extant systems myself, that I will rely on third-party repositories for some key dependencies. I am uncertain this information is publicly viewable on the copr, and I do not wish to hide it. The copr front page shows that the various repos are “[Modified]” but they do not provide links to what additional repositories they depend on. And the EPEL8 dependencies are because there were no official repos hosting certain packages yet, but that should rectified over time.

Holiday greetings

Also, happy holidays or Merry Christmas or whatever holiday greetings you want. This post was originally published on December 22, 2019 so it’s the last one before Christmas.

Fedora and scanners

If you are running Fedora and you want to use a scanner, you probably already have sane (backends at least) and simple-scan installed.

What is incredibly frustrating is when scanimage -L shows you the scanner, but simple-scan does not list it.

What you are missing is

sudo dnf install libnsl

This package is different from libnsl2, which is probably already installed. But some applications must depend on libnsl, including simple-scan. Thanks to suspiciousmilk of Ask Fedora.



  1. Brother scanner driver don’t work []

dnf install build deps

If you want to build a package, but need all of its buildrequires packages, use this command:

sudo dnf builddep wxGTK3

I leave my source repositories off, so be sure to do any –enablerepo=fedora-source,updates-source as necessary.

For debian family

Try a cool tool named “mk-build-deps” as documented over at



Automatically install build dependencies prior to building an RPM package []

Dnf ignore weak dependencies


dnf --setopt=install_weak_deps=False --best install newpackage

dnf do not install weak dependencies

In the new paradigm for rpm package management (rpmpm?), we use dnf. I am fine with using the latest and greatest, but sometimes yum looks nicer in hindsight than dnf.

One of the more recent features added to rpms is weak dependencies. Debian has had weak dependencies for a longer time, so it’s nice to see rpm adding such a feature.

I recently went through a spell where I wanted to install my own package but exclude the recommended options.

After a lot of research and man dnf dnf.conf, I derived the command I needed.

dnf --setopt=install_weak_deps=False --best install newpackage


I tried an ugly hack, which technically worked.

dnf --disablerepo=* install ./bgscripts*

But all it does is disable all repos. I was using a local file, so it could get to the rpm I required, but any hard dependencies would be not found. I then tried another option, which technically worked.

dnf install ./bgscripts* -x freerdp

But I had to run a dnf command to see what packages would be installed, and then manually named the packages in the exclude list.




Man pages