Jonathan Perkin edited this page May 30, 2017 · 2 revisions


  1. Introduction
  2. Compiler/Linker Flags
  3. The Substitution Framework
  4. Patches
  5. Summary


Currently pkgsrc is able to build over 16,000 packages on SmartOS and over 15,000 packages on OS X, however pkgsrc carries over 18,000 packages in total, so there is a chance that you will come across a package which will not produce a binary package.

Let's have a look at some of the most common failure modes and the facilities pkgsrc provides for them to be fixed.

Compiler/Linker Flags

Probably the most common failures on SmartOS are those caused by incorrect compiler or linker flags, where the author of the software has not taken into account differences across Unix platforms. Examples include:

  • the usage of u_int* types (e.g. u_int32_t) instead of the portable uint* C99 types (e.g. uint32_t).

  • missing -lsocket -lnsl when using the socket interface.

pkgsrc provides an easy way to pass CFLAGS, LDFLAGS and other common environment variables to the build, and these are often enough to resolve such issues.

Taking net/nsd as an example:

$ cd net/nsd
$ bmake
gcc -I/opt/local/include -I/opt/local/include -I. -I. -O -I/opt/local/include -c ./util.c
./util.c:745:1: error: unknown type name 'u_int32_t'
*** [util.o] Error code 1

If we edit the Makefile and add the following line below CONFIGURE_ARGS:

CFLAGS.SunOS+=	-Du_int32_t=uint32_t

then a rebuild resolves the problem and results in a binary package.

By using CFLAGS.SunOS rather than the global CFLAGS this is only performed on systems where uname is SunOS.

We can resolve missing libraries in a similar way, taking net/rootprobe as an example:

$ cd net/rootprobe
$ bmake
gcc -Wl,-R/opt/local/lib  rootprobe.o -o rootprobe
Undefined                       first referenced
 symbol                             in file
recv                                rootprobe.o
send                                rootprobe.o
getsockname                         rootprobe.o
socket                              rootprobe.o
getdomainname                       rootprobe.o
connect                             rootprobe.o
recvfrom                            rootprobe.o
inet_aton                           rootprobe.o
inet_ntoa                           rootprobe.o
shutdown                            rootprobe.o
ld: fatal: symbol referencing errors. No output written to rootprobe
collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
*** [rootprobe] Error code 1

Add the following to the Makefile:

LDFLAGS.SunOS+=	-lsocket -lnsl

and the build now succeeds.

$ bmake clean
$ bmake install
gcc -lsocket -lnsl -Wl,-R/opt/local/lib  rootprobe.o -o rootprobe
=> Creating binary package /home/pbulk/build/net/rootprobe/work/.packages/rootprobe-200301.tgz

Not all packages can be fixed directly like this, only those which obey the normal ${CC} and ${LD} environment variables, as pkgsrc creates wrappers for those commands where it can insert these alterations. For packages which directly call e.g. gcc, some additional digging will be required to see how the arguments can be passed.

Taking net/3proxy as an example, the build fails with missing socket libraries:

$ cd net/3proxy
$ bmake
gcc -opop3p -Wall -O2 -pthread  sockmap.o pop3p.o sockgetchar.o myalloc.o common.o  
Undefined                       first referenced
 symbol                             in file
bind                                pop3p.o
send                                sockgetchar.o
getsockname                         common.o
accept                              pop3p.o
listen                              pop3p.o
gethostbyname                       common.o
sendto                              sockmap.o
socket                              pop3p.o
setsockopt                          pop3p.o
connect                             common.o
recvfrom                            sockmap.o
shutdown                            sockmap.o
ld: fatal: symbol referencing errors. No output written to pop3p
collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status
*** [pop3p] Error code 1

but adding LDFLAGS.SunOS+= -lsocket -lnsl to the Makefile as before does not resolve the problem. Delving further into the Makefile we can see that the build is driven from a custom Makefile rather than through autoconf/automake:

MAKE_FILE=      Makefile.unix

and it is there we will need to perform the changes. First, let's go into the work area, which we can do using the cdwrk alias.

$ cdwrk
$ ls -l Makefile.unix 
-rw-r--r-- 1 11001 10512 675 Apr 30  2005 Makefile.unix

Picking out the relevant bits from Makefile.unix:

CC = gcc
LDFLAGS = -Wall -O2 -pthread

Here, the author has provided no functionality for adding to the environment, and has instead chosen to hardcode a specific compiler and build flags, significantly reducing the portability of their software - good luck to Clang/LLVM or SunStudio users!

If the author had provided a way in to add to these flags, for example:

LDFLAGS += -Wall -O2 -pthread

then we could have fixed that in the main pkgsrc Makefile with

MAKE_ENV+=	LDFLAGS="-lsocket -lnsl"

or similar, however we now have no choice but to directly edit Makefile.unix. Thankfully, pkgsrc provides a couple of ways to easily do this, which we will look at over the next few sections.

The Substitution Framework

The subst framework allows basic editing of files within the work area. I will show the solution for the above problem, and then discuss it:

SUBST_STAGE.libs=	pre-build
SUBST_MESSAGE.libs=	Adding SunOS socket libraries
SUBST_FILES.libs=	Makefile.unix
SUBST_SED.libs=		-e '/^LDFLAGS/s/$$/ -lsocket -lnsl/'

Firstly, we need to limit this to SunOS systems, else we would break platforms which do not have libsocket or libnsl. We do this by using SUBST_CLASSES.SunOS. If we had specified just SUBST_CLASSES then it would have been performed on all OS.

Next we set up the substitution framework:

  • SUBST_CLASSES creates a new class, which in this case is named libs. This class name is then appended to the remaining SUBST_* variables to assign them to that class.

  • SUBST_STAGE defines the make stage when the substitution will be run, and should almost always be pre-build, to ensure it is done after any configuration stage which could rewrite files itself.

  • SUBST_MESSAGE is optional, and is simply a line which will be printed to the user when the substitution takes places.

  • SUBST_FILES is a list of files the substitution operates on.

  • SUBST_SED is the actual substitution, in the form of a sed(1) operation. Here we append -lsocket -lnsl to any line beginning with LDFLAGS. Note $$ is required to get make to escape a $.

$ bmake clean
$ bmake install
=> Creating binary package /home/pbulk/build/net/3proxy/work/.packages/3proxy-

Two other subst features you may want are:

  • VARNAME is a shortcut for the -e 's,@VARNAME@,${VARNAME},g' operation, common with autoconf-based packages.

  • <cmd> allows you to run an arbitrary command, rather than the default of sed.

For more information, see the implementation in pkgsrc/mk/


While CFLAGS, LDFLAGS and the substitution framework allow for simple one-liner fixes, often more significant changes are required, and in those cases the only sensible option is to create patches. Thankfully, there are some tools provided in pkgsrc to make this a relatively easy process.

First, let's take a broken package, devel/bglibs:

$ cd devel/bglibs
$ bmake
./ltcompile net/cork.c
net/cork.c: In function 'socket_cork':
net/cork.c:39:27: error: 'SOL_TCP' undeclared (first use in this function)
net/cork.c:39:27: note: each undeclared identifier is reported only once for each function it appears in
*** [net/cork.lo] Error code 1

which comes from the following function:

 * ..It is known to work on Linux (with the TCP_CORK option) and to at least
 * compile on BSD (with the TCP_NOPUSH option).  On OS's which lack either of
 * these two options, this function is essentially a no-op.
int socket_cork(int sock)
#if defined(TCP_CORK)
  int flag = 1;
  return setsockopt(sock, SOL_TCP, TCP_CORK, &flag, sizeof flag) == 0;
#elif defined(TCP_NOPUSH)
  int flag = 1;
  return setsockopt(sock, SOL_SOCKET, TCP_NOPUSH, &flag, sizeof flag) == 0;
  return 1;

Unfortunately, while SmartOS provides the TCP_CORK flag, it does not understand SOL_TCP, and so we need to modify the test and add an additional one. We use the pkgvi(1) wrapper to simplify the task of generating patches.

$ cdwrk
$ pkgvi net/cork.c

This is what the function is changed to:

int socket_cork(int sock)
#if defined(TCP_CORK) && defined(SOL_TCP)
  int flag = 1;
  return setsockopt(sock, SOL_TCP, TCP_CORK, &flag, sizeof flag) == 0;
#elif defined(TCP_CORK) && defined(SOL_SOCKET)
  int flag = 1;
  return setsockopt(sock, SOL_SOCKET, TCP_CORK, &flag, sizeof flag) == 0;
#elif defined(TCP_NOPUSH)
  int flag = 1;
  return setsockopt(sock, SOL_SOCKET, TCP_NOPUSH, &flag, sizeof flag) == 0;
  return 1;

This still isn't ideal, and would be better converted to a proper autoconf test where we can test functionality instead of definitions, but it will do for example purposes.

The final step is storing the diff into a patch file, and that is accomplished with:

: Return to the pkgsrc directory
$ cd -
$ mkpatches
$ bmake mps

The mkpatches command creates a new file in the patches directory called patch-net_cork.c, and the bmake mps (short for the makepatchsum target) regenerates the distinfo file with the correct checksum for that patch.

Finally, you can rebuild:

$ bmake clean
$ bmake

and, hey presto .. another failure!

--- net/uncork.lo ---
net/uncork.c: In function 'socket_uncork':
net/uncork.c:30:27: error: 'SOL_TCP' undeclared (first use in this function)
net/uncork.c:30:27: note: each undeclared identifier is reported only once for each function it appears in

Now that you know how to fix this, I'll leave it to you to come up with a patch ;)

One final word on this, you will perhaps notice during the build some warnings:

=> Applying pkgsrc patches for bglibs-1.106nb1
=> Ignoring patchfile /data/pkgsrc/devel/bglibs/patches/patch-ab.orig
=> Ignoring patchfile /data/pkgsrc/devel/bglibs/patches/patch-ac.orig
=> Ignoring patchfile /data/pkgsrc/devel/bglibs/patches/patch-net_cork.c.orig

These files are left by mkpatches, and to remove them you can run

$ mkpatches -c

Also note that both patch-ab and patch-ac changed, even though we only modified the net/cork.c file. This is due to differences in diff(1) output, and is ultimately harmless.


pkgsrc provides a number of ways to fix up broken software:

  • CFLAGS, LDFLAGS, and other environment variables.

  • The framework for simple file changes.

  • Patch files for more substantial changes.

The important thing, after using any of these features, is to feed back your changes so that we can integrate them into pkgsrc and everyone can benefit. Probably the easiest way to do that is simply raise an issue against our GitHub pkgsrc fork so that we can commit the patch upstream.