Effing package managers! Build packages for multiple platforms (deb, rpm, etc) with great ease and sanity.
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Effing Package Management


Package maintainers work hard and take a lot of shit. You can't please everyone. So, if you're a maintainer: Thanks for maintaining packages!

What is fpm?

It helps you build packages quickly and easily (Packages like RPM and DEB formats).


Here is a presentation I gave on fpm at BayLISA: http://goo.gl/sWs3Z (I included speaker notes you can read, too)

At BayLISA in April 2011, I gave a talk about fpm. At the end, I asked "What can I package for you?"

Someone asked for memcached.

Google for 'memcached', download the source, unpack, ./configure, make, make install, fpm, deploy.

In 60 seconds, starting from nothing, I had both an RPM and a .DEB of memcached ready to deploy, and I didn't need to know how to use rpmbuild, rpm specfiles, dh_make, debian control files, etc.


Sometimes packaging is done wrong (because you can't do it right for all situations), but small tweaks can fix it.

And sometimes, there isn't a package available for the tool you need.

And sometimes if you ask "How do I get python 3 on CentOS 5?" some unhelpful trolls will tell you to "Use another distro"

Further, a job switches have me flipping between Ubuntu and CentOS. These use two totally different package systems with completely different packaging policies and support tools. Learning both was painful and confusing. I want to save myself (and you) that pain in the future.

It should be easy to say "here's my install dir and here's some dependencies; please make a package"

The Solution - FPM

I want a simple way to create packages without all the bullshit. In my own infrastructure, I have no interest in Debian policy and RedHat packaging guidelines - I have interest in my group's own style culture and have a very strong interest in getting work done.

(This is not to say that you can't create packages with FPM that obey Debian or RedHat policies, you can and should if that is what you desire)

The goal of FPM is to be able to easily build platform-native packages.

  • Creating packages easily (deb, rpm, etc)
  • Tweaking existing packages (removing files, changing metadata/dependencies)
  • Stripping pre/post/maintainer scripts from packages

Get with the download

You can install fpm with gem:

gem install fpm

Building a package named "awesome" might look something like this:

fpm -s <source type> -t <target type> [list of sources]...

"Source type" is what your package is coming from; a directory (dir), a rubygem (gem), an rpm (rpm), a python package (python), a php pear module (pear), etc.

"Target type" is what your output package form should be. Most common are "rpm" and "deb" but others exist (solaris, etc)

You have two options for learning to run FPM:

  1. If you're impatient, just scan through fpm --help; you'll need various options, and they're reasonably straightforward. Impatient learning is totally welcome, and if you run into issues, ask questions in #fpm on freenode irc or on fpm-users@googlegroups.com!
  2. The wiki has explanations and examples. If you run into problems, I welcome you to ask questions in #fpm on freenode irc or on fpm-users@googlegroups.com!

Things that are in the works or should work:


  • gem (even autodownloaded for you)
  • python modules (autodownload for you)
  • pear (also downloads for you)
  • directories
  • tar(.gz) archives
  • rpm
  • deb
  • node packages (npm)


  • deb
  • rpm
  • solaris
  • tar
  • directories
  • Mac OS X .pkg files (osxpkg)

Need Help or Want to Contribute?

All contributions are welcome: ideas, patches, documentation, bug reports, complaints, and even something you drew up on a napkin.

It is more important to me that you are able to contribute and get help if you need it..

That said, some basic guidelines, which you are free to ignore :)

  • Have a problem you want fpm to solve for you? You can email the mailing list, or join the IRC channel #fpm on irc.freenode.org, or email me personally (jls@semicomplete.com)
  • Have an idea or a feature request? File a ticket on github, or email the mailing list, or email me personally (jls@semicomplete.com) if that is more comfortable.
  • If you think you found a bug, it probably is a bug. File it on jira or send details to the mailing list.
  • If you want to send patches, best way is to fork this repo and send me a pull request. If you don't know git, I also accept diff(1) formatted patches - whatever is most comfortable for you.
  • Want to lurk about and see what others are doing? IRC (#fpm on irc.freenode.org) is a good place for this as is the mailing list

Contributing by forking from GitHub

First, create a github account if you do not already have one. Log in to github and go to the main fpm github page.

At the top right, click on the button labeled "Fork". This will put a forked copy of the main fpm repo into your account. Next, clone your account's github repo of fpm. For example:

$ git clone git@github.com:yourusername/fpm.git

If you don't already have the bundler gem installed, install it now:

$ gem install bundler

Now change to the root of the fpm repo and run:

$ bundle install

This will install all of the dependencies required for running fpm from source. Most importantly, you should see the following output from the bundle command when it lists the fpm gem:

Using json (1.8.1) 
Using fpm (0.4.42) from source at .
Using hitimes (1.2.1) 

Next, run make in root of the fpm repo. If there are any problems (such as missing dependencies) you should receive an error

At this point, the fpm command should run directly from the code in your cloned repo. Now simply make whatever changes you want, commit the code, and push your commit back to master.

If you think your changes are ready to be merged back to the main fpm repo, you can generate a pull request on the github website for your repo and send it in for review.

More Documentation

See the wiki for more docs