Building an RPM isn’t that hard

We’re installing the Amanda backup client on a bunch of servers that I administer. We’ve decided to tunnel Amanda connections through SSH though, and that feature isn’t available in the current RPM builds that are available.

We started out compiling it from scratch on each box, and then following a bunch of steps to add the appropriate users, create directories, setup SSH keys, etc. Obviously, that gets to be a tedious process pretty quick and is prone to errors and missing steps. The obvious solution is to create an RPM for this, since that is what they are for.

Creating an RPM is pretty easy. I found some useful instructions here and here. Basically, the buildrpm package goes through the standard configure; make; make install steps for you. You can create simple shell scripts to do whatever you want at each of those processes when building the RPM. Additionaly, you can also run commands before and after RPM installation, and before and after RPM removal. For this particular script, I added a bunch of stuff to the postinstall script. As an example, here is my .spec file:

Summary: Amanda Client with SSH
Name: amanda_client_ssh
Version: 2.5.2p1
Release: 2
License: GPL
Group: Amanda Backup
Source: amanda_client_ssh-2.5.2p1.tgz

BuildRoot: %{_builddir}/%{name}-root

Amanda Client compiled with SSH authentication


./configure '--a-bunch' '--of options' --'can go here'


if [[ ! -d $RPM_BUILD_ROOT/etc/amanda ]]; then
    mkdir $RPM_BUILD_ROOT/etc/amanda
cat >> $RPM_BUILD_ROOT/etc/amanda/amanda-client.conf < EOF
conf "MyConfig"
index_server ""
tape_server ""
auth "ssh"
ssh_keys "/root/.ssh/id_rsa_amrecover"


useradd -M -n -g disk -o -r -d /var/lib/amanda -s /bin/bash
        -c "Amanda user" -u 33 amanda >/dev/null 2>&1 || :

if [[ ! -d /var/lib/amanda/.ssh ]]; then
    mkdir -p /var/lib/amanda/.ssh
if [[ ! -d /var/log/amanda ]]; then
    mkdir -p /var/log/amanda

touch /etc/amandates

cat >> /etc/amanda/exclude <
mkdir ~amanda/gnutar-lists
chown amanda:disk /etc/amandates /etc/amanda/exclude ~amanda/gnutar-lists /var/log/amanda/

if [[ ! -f /root/.ssh/id_rsa_amrecover ]]; then
    ssh-keygen -t rsa -N "" -f /root/.ssh/id_rsa_amrecover

cat >> /var/lib/amanda/.ssh/authorized_keys <EOF
ssh-rsa abcdefgABigLongPublicKeyGoesHere==

userdel amanda


... a bunch of files listed here ...


It took a couple revisions of trial and error to get everything correct. That part took the longest because I didn’t see an option to skip the configure and make steps, so anytime I changed the postinstall commands it had to rebuild the whole app. But now that I’ve got the RPM, installing it should be pretty straightforward on the rest of the boxes it needs to be installed on.

One thought on “Building an RPM isn’t that hard”

  1. I had to change the spec file just a little bit to build on newer servers. Specifically, when building an RPM on a CentOS5 box, it complained about the ‘Copyright’ tag. Evidently the instructions I was following were quite old and this tag has changed to ‘icense’ instead. After changing that word, it worked fine. The spec file in the original post has been corrected to fix this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *