The X Binary Package System
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Latest commit 66c6331 Feb 19, 2017 @xtraeme xtraeme NEWS: sync

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The X Binary Package System (in short XBPS) is a binary package system designed and implemented from scratch. Its goal is to be fast, easy to use, bug-free, featureful and portable as much as possible.

The XBPS code is totally compatible with POSIX/SUSv2/C99 standards, and released with a Simplified BSD license (2 clause). There is a well documented API provided by the XBPS Library that is the basis for its frontends to handle binary packages and repositories. Some highlights:

  • Supports multiple local and remote repositories (HTTP/HTTPS/FTP).
  • RSA signed remote repositories (NEW in 0.27).
  • SHA256 hashes for package metadata, files and binary packages.
  • Supports package states (ala dpkg) to mitigate broken package installs/updates.
  • Ability to resume partial package install/updates.
  • Ability to unpack only files that have been modified in package updates.
  • Ability to use virtual packages.
  • Ability to check for incompatible shared libraries in reverse dependencies.
  • Ability to replace packages.
  • Ability to put packages on hold (to never update them. NEW in 0.16).
  • Ability to preserve/update configuration files.
  • Ability to force reinstallation of any installed package.
  • Ability to downgrade any installed package.
  • Ability to execute pre/post install/remove/update scriptlets.
  • Ability to check package integrity: missing files, hashes, missing or unresolved (reverse)dependencies, dangling or modified symlinks, etc.

Build requirements

To build this you'll need:

and optionally:


To run the test suite make sure kyua is installed and run the following:

$ ./configure --enable-tests --enable-debug
$ make
$ make check

Build instructions

Standard configure script (not generated by GNU autoconf).

$ ./configure --prefix=/blah
$ make -jX
$ make install

By default PREFIX is set /usr/local and may be changed by setting --prefix in the configure script. The DESTDIR variable is also supported at the install stage.

There are some more options that can be tweaked, see them with ./configure --help.

Good luck!


Binaries for Linux compiled statically with the musl C library are available at this location:

Check the sha256 checksums with this file:

Usage instructions

The xbps package includes the following utilities:

  • xbps-create (1) - XBPS utility to create binary packages
  • xbps-dgraph (1) - XBPS utility to generate dot(1) graphs
  • xbps-install (1) - XBPS utility to install and update packages
  • xbps-pkgdb (1) - XBPS utility to report and fix issues in pkgdb
  • xbps-query (1) - XBPS utility to query for package and repository information
  • xbps-reconfigure (1) - XBPS utility to configure installed packages
  • xbps-remove (1) - XBPS utility to remove packages
  • xbps-rindex (1) - XBPS utility to handle local binary package repositories

In the following sections there will be a brief description of how these utilities currently work.

Package expressions

In the following examples there will be commands accepting an argument such as <package expression>. A package expression is a form to match a pattern; currently XBPS >= 0.19 supports 3 ways to specify them:

  • by specifying a package name, i.e foo.

  • by specifying the exact package name and version, i.e foo-1.0_1.

  • by specifying a package name and version separated by any of the following version comparators:

    • < less than
    • > greater than
    • <= less or equal than
    • >= greater or equal than

    Such example would be foo>=2.0 or blah-foo<=1.0.


Repositories can be declared in a configuration file of the configuration or system configuration directories:

  • <sysconfdir>/xbps.d - The configuration directory (set to /etc/xbps.d)
  • <sharedir>/xbps.d - The system directory (set to /usr/share/xbps.d)

A configuration file bearing the same filename in /etc/xbps.d overrides the one from <sharedir>/xbps.d. By default the XBPS package provides only the main Void repository in the /usr/share/xbps.d/00-repository-main.conf file.

Additional repositories can be added by installing any of the following XBPS packages or creating new configuration files manually:

$ xbps-query -Rs void-repo
[*] void-repo-debug-3_1            Void Linux drop-in file for the debug repository
[*] void-repo-multilib-3_1         Void Linux drop-in file for the multilib repository
[*] void-repo-multilib-nonfree-3_1 Void Linux drop-in file for the multilib/nonfree repository
[*] void-repo-nonfree-3_1          Void Linux drop-in file for the nonfree repository

NOTE repositories specified in the configuration directory are added to the head of the list, while repositories specified via system configuration directories are appended to the existing list.

NOTE If no repositories are found it's possible to declare them manually via the command line option --repository, currently accepted in xbps-install(1) and xbps-query(1).

xbps-query - querying packages and repositories

xbps-query(1) will try to match <package expression> in local packages. This behaviour can be changed by enabling the -R or --repository option to force repository mode.

To query the list of installed packages:

$ xbps-query -l

To query the list of working repositories:

$ xbps-query -L

To query the list of installed packages that were installed manually (not as dependencies):

$ xbps-query -m

To query the list of packages on hold (won't be upgraded automatically):

$ xbps-query -H

To query the list of installed package orphans (packages that were installed as dependencies but there is not any package currently that requires it):

$ xbps-query -O

To query a package and show its meta information:

$ xbps-query <package expression>

Additionally the -p or --property option can be used to only show a specific key of a package:

$ xbps-query --property=pkgver xbps

Multiple properties can be specified by delimiting them with commas, i.e -p key,key2.

To query a package and show its file list:

$ xbps-query -f <package expression>

To query a package and show required run-time dependencies:

$ xbps-query -x <package expression>

To query a package and show required reverse run-time dependencies:

$ xbps-query -X <package expression>

To query for packages matching a file with specified pattern(s) (ownedby mode):

$ xbps-query -o <pattern>

Where <pattern> is a shell wildcard pattern as explained in fnmatch(3); e.g "*.png".

Multiple <patterns> can be specified as arguments.

To query for packages matching pkgname/version/description with specified pattern(s) (search mode):

$ xbps-query -s <pattern>

The same rules explained above in the ownedby mode shall be applied.

xbps-install - installing and updating packages

To synchronize remote repository index files:

$ xbps-install -S

The -S, --sync option can be combined while installing or updating packages, i.e xbps-install -Su.

To install a package:

$ xbps-install <package expression>

To install multiple packages at once:

$ xbps-install <package expression> <package expressions>

To update a single package:

$ xbps-install -u <package expression>

To update all packages (also known as dist-upgrade in Debian/Ubuntu):

$ xbps-install -u

The -n, --dry-run option can be used to print what packages will be updated and/or installed and doesn't need permissions in the target rootdir, which can be useful to list updates.

xbps-remove - removing packages

To remove a package:

$ xbps-remove <package name>

To recursively remove unneeded dependencies that were installed by the target package:

$ xbps-remove -R <package name>

To remove package orphans:

$ xbps-remove -o

To clean the cache directory and remove outdated packages and/or packages with wrong hash:

$ xbps-remove -O

To remove package orphans and clean the cache repository both options can be combined, i.e xbps-remove -Oo.

xbps-reconfigure - configure (or force configuration of) a package

The xbps-reconfigure(1) utility may be used to configure packages that were not previously (perhaps due to a power outage, process killed, etc) or simply to force package reconfiguration. By default and unless the -f, --force option is set, only packages that were not configured will be processed.

Its usage is simple, specify a package name or a, --all for all packages:

$ xbps-reconfigure [-f] <package name> | -a

xbps-pkgdb - checking for errors in packages and pkgdb

The xbps-pkgdb(1) utility may be used to check for errors in packages and in the package database. It is also used to update the package database format (if there have been changes). It works exactly the same way as xbps-reconfigure(1) and expects a package name or -a, --all for all packages.

$ xbps-pkgdb <package name> | -a

To put a package on hold mode (won't be upgraded in dist-upgrade mode):

$ xbps-pkgdb -m hold <package name>

To remove a package from hold mode:

$ xbps-pkgdb -m unhold <package name>

To put a package in automatic mode (as it were installed as a dependency):

$ xbps-pkgdb -m auto <package name>

To put a package in manual mode (won't be detected as orphan):

$ xbps-pkgdb -m manual <package name>

To update the pkgdb format to the latest one:

$ xbps-pkgdb -u

NOTE: updating the pkgdb format does not happen too frequently, therefore it's only necessary in rare circumstances.

xbps-rindex - Create, update and administer local repositories

This command only has 3 operation modes:

  • Add [-a, --all]: adds the specified packages into the specified repository and removes previous entry if found:

     $ xbps-rindex -a /path/to/repository/*.xbps

The -f, --force option can be used to forcefully register a package into the repository index, even if the same version is already registered.

  • Clean [-c, --clean]: cleans the index of the specified repository by removing outdated or invalid entries (nonexistent packages, unmatched hashes, etc):

     $ xbps-rindex -c /path/to/repository
  • Remove-obsoletes [-r, --remove-obsoletes]: removes obsolete packages in repository (outdated, broken and unmatched hashes):

     $ xbps-rindex -r /path/to/repository


Upgrade all packages in the system, without asking for an answer:

# xbps-install -Syu

Clean the cache directory and remove package orphans:

# xbps-remove -Oo

Show information of a package available in repositories:

$ xbps-query -R xbps

Show filelist of a package available in repositories:

$ xbps-query -Rf xbps

Find the packages that own the file /bin/ls in repositories:

$ xbps-query -Ro /bin/ls

Make a package keepable (won't be detected as orphan):

# xbps-pkgdb -m manual xbps

Search for packages in repositories matching the xbps pattern in its pkgver and short_desc objects:

$ xbps-query -Rs xbps

Remove a package and all unnecessary dependencies that were installed:

# xbps-remove -R xbmc

Appending repositories via command line:

$ xbps-query --repository=<url> ...
# xbps-install --repository=<url> ...

Switch an installed package to on hold mode (won't be updated via xbps-install -u):

# xbps-pkgdb -m hold <pkgname>

Switch an installed package to the unhold mode (will be updated if there are updates):

# xbps-pkgdb -m unhold <pkgname>

Check for errors on installed packages and in pkgdb:

# xbps-pkgdb -a

Listing all files not managed by xbps:


tmp=$(mktemp -dt xbps-disownedXXXXXX)

trap "rm -rf $tmp" EXIT

xbps-query -o \* | cut -d ' ' -f2 | sort > $pkg
find /boot /etc /opt /usr /var -xdev -type f -print | sort > $fs

comm -23 $fs $pkg