Peculiarities of rpmautospec

rpmautospec has few peculiarities that we are aware of. Some may get fixed, others are considered negligible, but we still want to document them here.

Known constraints

Package versions must be determinable from the spec file alone

Both the Koji plugin and fedpkg preprocess package spec files outside of the target build root. If the version field of a package depends on macros not defined in the spec file (directly or indirectly), this will likely result in unexpected behavior if the macros in question differ between the environment of the target and that where preprocessing happens.

One consistent release across the package

The Koji builder plugin has to be able to parse the spec file of packages outside the build root, therefore macros have the values of the Fedora release running on the builders, not the one the package is built for. Therefore, we can only support one release field between all sub-packages, and its contents must not depend on other macros which may differ between Fedora versions. I.e.: Don’t use other macros than %autorelease in the release field, and only have a release field for the main package.

Changelogs from merged history

If the commit history of a package merges branches, rpmautospec can’t reliably determine which changes contribute to the current state of the package in most cases, e.g. in the light of conflicting changes between the merged branches. In this case, rpmautospec will flag the issue in the changelog entry for the merge commit like this:

- RPMAUTOSPEC: unresolvable merge

To resolve this manually, take the applicable parts of the changelog from the affected branches before the merge and put them in the changelog file.

The exception to this is a merge commit which shares its file tree with one or more parents, which e.g. happens if branches are merged with git merge --strategy ours. This merge strategy means that only the file tree of one branch is used, disregarding the contents of other branches. In this case, rpmautospec will follow the first parent it encounters which has the same tree as the merge commit and disregard the others.

Rebuilding a package without changing it

In the past, rebuilding a package to pick up changed dependencies, or in the context of mass rebuilds was accomplished by bumping the release and adding a suitable changelog entry. With rpmautospec, you have to tell git that you really want to add a commit without any changes in content to accomplish the equivalent, e.g.:

git commit --allow-empty

The resulting empty head commit can be pushed into the repository of the package and built normally.

Information about rpmautospec use in a built package

When preprocessing spec files for building, rpmautospec adds a header to the top of the spec file containing, among other things, information about its version and which features are used, e.g.:

## START: Set by rpmautospec
## (rpmautospec version 0.3.0)
## RPMAUTOSPEC: autorelease, autochangelog
## END: Set by rpmautospec

The preprocessed spec file is available in the SRPM which is generated as part of a package build.