This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (September 2014)
|Original author(s)||Alexis Wilke|
|Developer(s)||The usys team|
1.0.0 / September 17, 2015
0.9.2 / September 16, 2013
|Written in||C++, C|
|Operating system||Windows, Unix-like, POSIX|
|Type||Package management system|
|License||GNU General Public License|
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As time passed, wpkg has evolved to include complex package distribution management similar to the APT suite on the front end side as well as development and repository management on the back end side.
Although a "wpkg" Debian package is provided for Microsoft Windows (and Linux), the main intent was to offer a ready to use executable: wpkg.exe, so one does not have to recompile wpkg before being able to use it to install Debian packages under Microsoft Windows. The different "wpkg" Debian packages will be of interest to programmers who want to painlessly deal with Debian packages as it includes the libdebpackages library. This library includes nearly all the capabilities that the wpkg tool offers.
wpkg was created by Alexis Wilke and is based on dpkg and APT. At first it was going to be a port of dpkg that would run under Microsoft Windows. However, dpkg is extremely heavily based on Unix and because of that, it was not possible to do a port that would be acceptable by the dpkg team.
The first few version (0.1 to 0.6) were based on a streaming concept, as used in dpkg, using different features of the Boost (C++ libraries). These versions are now difficult to compile.
Starting with 0.7.0, the streaming concept was dropped. In fact, a lot of the work needs to be done with data viewed as an object in memory instead of a passing stream of data. Also the boost library was completely dropped: for one, basic concepts such as smart pointers are now available in the standard C++ library, but the main reason for the drop: it eliminates a rather heavy dependency from the wpkg environment.
Version 0.7.0 also introduced the concept of repository that previous versions did not have. Version 0.8.0 started to manage the repositories like apt-get (think of the—update and—upgrade command line options). Version 0.9.0 added support for creating source packages and the capability of compiling such or even a complete repository of source packages.
The name wpkg was chosen as the short for "Windows Packager" although the tool perfectly functions (and is generally developed) under Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.
Front end usage
On the front end, wpkg is used to manage an installation environment. It ensures validity of an installation by enforcing package dependencies, matching architectures, and many other parameters.
When used with a list of sources, wpkg becomes as powerful as apt-get and supports commands such as update and upgrade.
Back end usage
On the back end, wpkg is primarily used by the developer although you may have a person dedicated to creating packages and another to administer your package repository.
wpkg can be used to directly create binary packages. However, since version 0.9.0, it is possible to create source packages. A wpkg source package is a .deb file which includes all the source code of your project. When source packages are saved in a repository, wpkg is then capable of recompiling your entire repository of source packages and output the corresponding binary packages in one go.
A repository can later be used by the front end to automatically install any number of packages and their dependencies.
As mentioned earlier, wpkg is based on the Debian tools dpkg and Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) which include many advanced package management features as follow:
- Verify the MD5 checksum of each file when installing files.
- Automatic upgrade to the latest version.
- Grouping of packages by Distribution and Component (area, section, and sub-section).
- Managed build dependencies, installation dependencies, conflicts, breaks.
- Dynamic libraries handling made easy with version constrained on dependencies.
- Configuration files management to avoid overwriting existing user configuration files.
- Repository support, including binary and source branches, distributions, and components.
- Upgrade suppression with the hold status.
- Prevent installation with the reject status.
- Cascading (also called recursive) package installation and removal.
- Automatic removal of unused packages.
Also in order to help packager maintainers and system administrators, the project includes tools that generate graphical output of packages (in HTML format) or of dependencies (in DOT format). Creating a full dependency tree can be extremely useful to find out problems in an existing installation or a large repository.
File format of packages handled by wpkg
The file format used for binary and source packages is the deb format. It is 100% compatible with the output of the dpkg tool. You can actually use dpkg -c to list the contents of a package created with the wpkg tool.
It also compiles and runs under Cygwin, Mingw32, Mac OS/X, OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, Fedora, and most certainly many other Unices.
The build command is used to create a .deb package from a directory tree prepared for the operation:
wpkg -b package
where package is the directory with a WPKG sub-directory with the control file information and other sub-directories with data to save in the package being built.
The control file of a package can be viewed with:
wpkg -f debFileName wpkg -f packageName
where debFileName is the name of a Debian software package and packageName of an installed package.
To install a .deb package:
wpkg -i debFileName
where debFileName is the name of the Debian software package.
To install a .deb package with its dependencies as apt-get is capable of:
wpkg -i debFileName—repository http://www.example.com/wpkg/repository
where http://www.example.com/wpkg/repository is a valid wpkg repository.
To upgrade packages to the latest version on a target installation:
The list of installed packages can be obtained with:
wpkg -l [optional pattern]
To remove an installed package:
wpkg -r packageName
If you are used to run dpkg and apt-get, you will notice that the wpkg commands are very much the same.
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- Deb file format
- Advanced Packaging Tool
- Debian build toolchain
- List of software package management systems
- Package management system
- List of installation software
- Fox, Richard (7 October 2014). "13.4.3: APT". Linux with Operating System Concepts. Routledge. p. 544. ISBN 978-1482235890. Search this book on
- "A Build System with wpkg". Alexis Wilke. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "wpkg --repository ..." Alexis Wilke. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
- "References of the wpkg code". Alexis Wilke. 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2013-08-28.
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