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bpkg Build Status Backers on Open Collective Sponsors on Open Collective

JavaScript has npm, Ruby has Gems, Python has pip and now Shell has bpkg!

bpkg is a lightweight bash package manager. It takes care of fetching the shell scripts, installing them appropriately, setting the execution permission and more.

You can install shell scripts globally (on /usr/local/bin) or use them on a per-project basis (on ./deps/), as a lazy-man "copy and paste".


You can install bpkg from three distinct ways:

0. Dependencies

1. Install script

Our install script is the simplest way. It takes care of everything for you, placing bpkg and related scripts on /usr/local/bin.

Paste the following on your shell and you're good to go:

$ curl -Lo- "" | bash

2. clib

clib is a package manager for C projects. If you already have it, installing bpkg is a simple matter of:

$ clib install bpkg/bpkg

3. Source Code

To directly install bpkg from its source code you have to clone its repository and run the script:

$ git clone
$ cd bpkg
$ ./                             # Will install bpkg in $HOME/.local/bin
$ sudo ./                        # Will install bpkg in /usr/local/bin.
$ PREFIX=/my/custom/directory ./ # Will install bpkg in a custom directory.


You use bpkg by simply sending commands, pretty much like npm or pip.

Installing packages

Packages can either be global (on /usr/local/bin if installed as root or $HOME/.local/bin otherwize) or local (under ./deps).

For example, here's a global install for the current user of the term package:

$ bpkg install term -g
$ term

And the same package as a local install:

$ bpkg install term
$ ./deps/term/

After a local install the script is copied as term to the deps/bin directory, you can add this directory to the PATH with

export PATH=$PATH:/path_to_bkpg/deps/bin

As a bonus, you can specify a specific version:

$ bpkg install jwerle/ -g

Note: to do that the packages must be tagged releases on the repository.

You can also install packages without a package.json. As long as there is a Makefile in the repository it will try to invoke make install as long as the -g or --global flags are set when invoking bpkg install.

For example you could install git-standup with an omitted package.json because of the Makefile and the install target found in it.

$ bpkg install stephenmathieson/git-standup -g

    info: Using latest (master)
    warn: Package doesn't exist
    warn: Missing build script
    warn: Trying `make install'...
    info: install: `make install'
cp -f git-standup /usr/local/bin

Packages With Dependencies

You can install a packages dependencies with the bpkg getdeps command. These will recursively install in deps/ sub-folders to resolve all dependencies.

Note: There is no protection against circular dependencies, so be careful!

Retrieving package info

After installing a package, you can obtain info from it using bpkg.

Supposing you're on the root of a package directory, the following commands show that package metadata:

# Asking for single information
$ bpkg package name
$ bpkg package version
# Dumping all the metadata
$ bpkg package
["name"]        "bpkg"
["version"]     "0.0.5"
["description"] "Lightweight bash package manager"
["global"]      true
["install"]     "make install"

Package details

Here we lay down some info on the structure of a package.


Every package must have a file called package.json; it specifies package metadata on the JSON format.

Here's an example of a well-formed package.json:

  "name": "term",
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "description": "Terminal utility functions",
  "scripts": [ "" ],
  "install": "make install"

All fields are mandatory except when noted. Here's a detailed explanation on all fields:


The name attribute is required as it is used to tell bpkg where to put it in the deps/ directory in you project.

  "name": "my-script"

version (optional)

The version attribute is not required but can be useful. It should correspond to the version that is associated with the installed package.

  "version": "0.0.1"


A human readable description of what the package offers for functionality.

  "description": "This script makes monkeys jump out of your keyboard"


Indicates that the package is only intended to be install as a script. This allows the omission of the -g or --global flag during installation.

  "global": "true"


Shell script used to invoke in the install script. This is required if the global attribute is set to true or if the -g or --global flags are provided.

  "install": "make install"


This is an array of scripts that will be installed into a project.

  "scripts": [""]


This is an array of files that will be installed into a project.

  "files": ["bar.txt", "foo.txt"]

dependencies (optional)

This is a hash of dependencies. The keys are the package names, and the values are the version specifiers. If you want the latest code use 'master' in the version specifier. Otherwise, use a tagged release identifier. This works the same as bpkg install's package/version specifiers.

  "dependencies": {
    "term": "0.0.1"

Packaging best practices

These are guidelines that we strongly encourage developers to follow.

Package exports

It's nice to have a bash package that can be used in the terminal and also be invoked as a command line function. To achieve this the exporting of your functionality should follow this pattern:

if [[ ${BASH_SOURCE[0]} != $0 ]]; then
  export -f my_script
  my_script "${@}"
  exit $?

This allows a user to source your script or invoke as a script.

# Running as a script
$ ./ some args --blah
# Sourcing the script
$ source
$ my_script some more args --blah


bpkg wouldn't be where it is today without the help of its authors, contributors, and sponsors:

Support this project by becoming a sponsor. Your logo will show up here with a link to your website. [Become a sponsor]


This project exists thanks to all the people who contribute. [Contribute].


Thank you to all our backers! 🙏 [Become a backer]


bpkg is released under the MIT license.

See file LICENSE for a more detailed description of its terms.

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