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HowTo Package an Application as an RPM and Build It Using Mock

This HowTo is not really written yet, but I have created a fully realized example specfile (and source files) demonstrating a very simple program (a couple bash scripts). I use this RPM specfile template and source code structure all the time to wrap appplications into an RPM.

This example spec and source include:

  • working simple commandline application -- a bash while loop
  • working simple gnome-terminal application -- while loop in a terminal
  • working simple daemon -- daemonized while loop
  • working simple system service -- daemonized while loop that writes to journal
  • systemd service configuration that will use email alerts if set up appropriately
    (I will describe that process eventually)
  • logrotation example configuration (though we don't log anything yet)
  • firewalld application example definition file (though we don't use a port)
  • everyhing placed in fairly "best practice" locations

Start browsing here:
In particular look at the specpattern RPM specfile found here: and the source tarballs in

The specfile is long-ish and noisy because of all the desktop icons and whatnot, but this program is pretty straight forward once you dive in a bit. I may make a super simplified version as well.

Setting up your build environment

RPM? How? What?:

In order to build from a source RPM, you first need to set up your environment. If you have not already, do this as your normal user (not root) from the commandline:

# Install needed packages
sudo dnf install @development-tools rpmdevtools rpm-sign
# optional
#sudo dnf install fedora-packager
# create your working folder ~/rpmbuild/[SOURCES,SRPMS,SPECS,RPMS]

# Add yourself to the mock group
# mock group membership allows you to build in mock build # environments
sudo usermod -a -G mock $USER
# refresh your login so that the new group shows up for this user
# (not as reliable as logging out and logging back in again)
newgrp -

If that fails, you need to read more about setting up your development environment at the link that was provided earlier.

Note, it suggests using a separate user on your system to build RPMs… you can do that, but for our examples, I am assuming you are doing it with whatever user you want. I execute these commands from my personal normal user account usually.

Configure mock

Copy /etc/mock/site-defaults.cfg to ~/.config/mock.cfg

mkdir -p ~/.config
cp -i /etc/mock/site-defaults.cfg ~/.config/mock.cfg

and then edit ~/.config/mock.cfg and configure it similarly to this (this is what I have uncommented and configured in mine.

# ~/.config/mock.cfg
config_opts['basedir'] = '/var/lib/mock/'
config_opts['cache_topdir'] = '/var/cache/mock'
config_opts['rpmbuild_networking'] = True
config_opts['bootstrap_module_enable'] = []
config_opts['bootstrap_module_install'] = []
config_opts['environment']['LANG'] = os.environ.setdefault('LANG', 'en_US.UTF-8')

# I use 'tree', 'vim', 'less' in my testing
config_opts['chroot_additional_packages'] = ['tree', 'vim-enhanced', 'less']

# I turn off "cleanup" when doing a lot of testing.
#config_opts['cleanup_on_success'] = 0
#config_opts['cleanup_on_failure'] = 0

Building something with mock

Let's use this 'specpattern' RPM as an example (that's what it is here for).

  1. Clone this github repo and cd into it...
git clone
cd howto/source/
  1. Assemble a source RPM for Fedora 27

Note that you can see all available OS distibutions and architectures available here: ls /etc/mock/

mock -r fedora-27-x86_64 --buildsrpm --spec SPECS/specpattern.spec --sources SOURCES/ --resultdir ./tmp/
  1. Build the binary RPM from that source RPM
# This filename is an example. Look in that 'tmp' directory for whatever
# .src.rpm you just assempted.
mock -r fedora-27-x86_64 ./tmp/specpattern-1.0.1-0.6.testing.fc27.taw0.src.rpm --sources SOURCES/ --resultdir tmp/
  1. Examine the RPM you just built
# This filename is an example. Look in that 'tmp' directory for whatever
# binary rpm you just built.
rpm -qlp ./tmp/specpattern-1.0.1-0.6.testing.fc27.taw0.x86_64.rpm
  1. Install it!

Note that I am assuming the package's build target matches the OS you are running.

# This filename is an example. Look in that 'tmp' directory for whatever
# binary rpm you just built.
sudo dnf install  ./tmp/specpattern-1.0.1-0.6.testing.fc27.taw0.x86_64.rpm
  1. All done with building stuff? Purge the mock environment and return everything back to a fairly pristine state...
mock --scrub all

Pretty slick. Mock allows you to build stuff without polluting your everyday environment.