Posts tagged packaging

Installing PowerShell modules via Portage

:: dotnet, gentoo, packaging, portage, powershell

By: Maciej Barć

Building PowerShell

As a part of my work of modernizing the way .NET SDK packages are distributed in Gentoo I delved into packaging a from-source build of PowerShell for Gentoo using the dotnet-pkg eclass.

Packaging pwsh was a little tricky but I got a lot of help from reading the Alpine Linux’s APKBUILD. I had to generate special C# code bindings with ResGen and repackage the PowerShell tarball. Other than this trick, restoring and building PowerShell was pretty straight forward with the NuGet package management support from the dotnet-pkg.eclass.

Alternatively if you do not want to build PowerShell you can install the binary package, I have in plans to keep that package around even after we get the non-binary app-shells/pwsh into the official Gentoo ebuild repository.

Why install modules via Portage?

But why stop on PowerShell when we can also package multiple PS modules?

Installing modules via Portage has many benefits:

  • better version control,
  • more control over global install,
  • no need to enable PS Gallery,
  • sandboxed builds,
  • using system .NET runtime.

Merging the modules

PowerShell’s method of finding modules is at follows: check paths from the PSModulePath environment variable for directories containing valid .psd1 files which define the PS modules.

By default pwsh tries to find modules in paths:

  • user’s modules directory — ~/.local/share/powershell/Modules
  • system modules directory in /usr/local/usr/local/share/powershell/Modules
  • Modules directory inside the pwsh home — for example /usr/share/pwsh-7.3/Modules

Because we do not want to touch either /usr/local nor pwsh home, we embed a special environment variable inside the pwsh launcher script to extend the path where pwsh looks for PS modules. The new module directory is located at /usr/share/GentooPowerShell/Modules.

dotnet-pkg-utils_append_launchervar \

So every PowerShell module will install it’s files inside /usr/share/GentooPowerShell/Modules.

To follow PS module location convention we add to that path a segment for the real module name and a segment for module version. This also enables us to have proper multi-slotting because most of the time the modules will not block installing other versions.

Take a look at this example from the app-pwsh/posh-dotnet–1.2.3 ebuild:

src_install() {
    insinto /usr/share/GentooPowerShell/Modules/${PN}/${PV}
    doins ${PN}.psd1 ${PN}.psm1


And that is it. Some packages do not even need to be compiled, they just need files placed into specific location. But when compilation of C# code is needed we have dotnet-pkg to help.

Binary packages in Gentoo

:: binary packages, gentoo, packaging, portage, system

By: Maciej Barć

Binpkgs generated by user

The binary packages generated by user can have architecture-specific optimizations because they are generated after they were compiled by the host Portage installation.

In addition binpkgs are generated from ebuilds so if there is a USE flag incompatibility on the consumer system then the binpkg will not be installed on the host and Portage will fall back to from-source compilation.

Those binary packages can use two formats: XPAK and GPKG.

XPAK had many issues and is getting superseded by the GPKG format. Beware of upcoming GPKG transition and if you must use XPAKs then you should explicitly enable it in your system’s Portage configuration.

To host a binary package distribution server see the Binary package guide on the Gentoo wiki.

Bin packages in a repository

Binary packages in ::gentoo (the official Gentoo repository) have the -bin suffix.

Those packages might have USE flags but generally they are very limited in case of customizations or code optimizations because they were compiled either by a Gentoo developer or by a given package upstream maintainer (or their CI/CD system).

Those packages land in ::gentoo mostly because it is too hard (or even impossible) to compile them natively by Portage. Most of the time those packages use very complicated build systems or do not play nice with network sandbox like (e.g. Scala-based projects) or use very large frameworks/libraries like (e.g. Electron).

They can also be added to the repository because they are very desirable either by normal users (e.g. www-client/firefox-bin) or for (from-source) package bootstrapping purposes (e.g. dev-java/openjdk-bin). Such packages are sometimes generated from the regular source packages inside ::gentoo and later repackaged.