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termux-packages/CONTRIBUTING.md

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Contributing

Termux is an open source application and it is built on users' contributions. However, most of work is done by Termux maintainers on their spare time and therefore only priority tasks are being completed.

Developer's wiki is available at https://github.com/termux/termux-packages/wiki.

How you can contribute to Termux project

  • Reporting issues

    If you have found issue, let the community know about it.

    Please be prepared that issue may not be resolved immediately. We will ignore statements like "solve it quickly", "urgently need solution" and so on. Be patient.

    Avoid digging and commenting in old, already closed issues. Read them carefully - likely they already give solution. If it didn't worked, only then open a new one. Note that we will lock down issues that are really outdated.

    You may report only issues happening within our official packages. Do not submit issues happening in third-party software - we will ignore them.

    Bugs reports for legacy Termux installations (Android 5.x / 6.x) are not accepted. We already dropped support for these Android OS versions.

  • Examining existing packages for potential issues

    There could be undiscovered bugs in packages. For example: unspecified dependencies, unprefixed hardcoded FHS paths, crashes, etc.

    If you can't submit a pull request with patches fixing the problem, you can open new issue.

  • Fixing known bugs

    Take a look at https://github.com/termux/termux-packages/issues. There many issue tickets having tag bug report or help wanted. They all are waiting to be resolved.

  • Submitting new packages

    There are lots of unresolved package requests. Pay attention to tickets having tag help wanted.

  • Keeping existing packages up-to-date

    Packages do not update themselves on their own. Someone needs to update build script and patches. Usually they are handled by maintainers but things are often outdated.

    See Updating packages for details.

  • Hosting a package repository mirror

    Termux generates lots of traffic. Mirrors help to reduce load on primary server, provide better download speeds and eliminate single point of failure.

  • Donate

    See https://github.com/termux/termux-packages/wiki/Donate for details.

Requesting new package

If you are looking for specific package and didn't find it included in our repositories, you can request it.

Open a new issue filling the package request template. You will need to provide at least package description and its home page and URL to source repository. Remember that your request will not be processed immediately.

Requested package must comply with our packaging policy.

Packaging policy

There are already more than 1000 packages added to Termux repositories. All of them needs to be maintained, kept up-to-date. Unlike the major distributions, our developers team is small and we also limited on server disk space.

In order to provide service at reasonable quality, requested packages should met these conditions:

  • Packages must be active, well-known projects

    Software available in major Linux distributions has more chances to be included into Termux repositories. We will not accept outdated, dead projects as well as projects which do not have active community.

  • Packages must be licensed under widely recognized open source license

    Software should be licensed under Apache, BSD, GNU GPL, MIT or other well known open-source licenses. Software for which the source is available but distributed under non-free conditions is processed on an individual basis.

    Software which is either closed-source, contain binary-only components or is distributed under End User License Agreement is not accepted.

  • Not installable through cpan, gem, npm, or pip

    These packages should be installed through cpan, gem, npm, pip and so on.

    Packaging modules for Perl, Ruby, Node.js, is problematic, especially when it comes to cross-compiling native extensions.

  • Not taking too much disk space

    The size of resulting package should be less than 100 MiB.

    Since software is being compiled for 4 CPU architectures (aarch64, arm, i686, x86_64), effective disk usage is 4 times bigger than size of single .deb file. We are limited on disk space and prefer many small packages over one big.

    Exceptions are made on individual basis and only for packages providing important functionality.

  • Not serving duplicated functionality

    Please avoid submitting packages which duplicate functionality of already present ones.

    The more useless packages in repositories, the less overall packaging and service quality - remembering that our resources are limited?

  • Not serving hacking, phishing, spamming, spying, ddos functionality

    We do not accept packages which serve solely destructive or privacy violation purposes, including but not limited to pentesting, phishing, bruteforce, sms/call bombing, DDoS attaks, OSINT.

Packages that require root permission to get working or rely on features that are available only with SELinux permissive mode or require custom firmware are handled in a dedicated apt repository whose build recipes you can find in root-packages directory. Remember that Termux is designed primarily for non-root use and we may remove functionality requiring root from packages if it interfere with non-root usage or cause build time issues.

Submitting pull requests

Contributors take the all responsibility for their submissions. Maintainers may provide some help with fixing your pull request or give some recommendations, but that DOES NOT mean they will do all work instead of you.

Minimal requirements:

If you never used Linux distribution or Termux was your first experience with Linux environment, we strongly recommending to NOT send pull requests since we will reject low quality work.

Do not forget about packaging policy when submitting a new package, as your pull request will be closed without merge.

Do not send disruptive changes, like without reason reverting commits or deleting files, creating spam content, etc. Authors of such pull requests may be blocked from contributing to Termux project.

Submitting new packages: checklist

Besides violation of packaging policy, there is a number of typical mistakes that could be made when submittung a pull request with new package. Pay attention to things listed below.

  1. Versioning: format

    Package versions must begin with a number and should not contain special characters except . (dot), - (minus), + (plus). Under certain cases the colon symbol (:) is allowed - for specifying epoch.

    Examples of valid version specification: 1.0, 20201001, 10a.

    Example of version with epoch: 1:2.6.0

  2. Versioning: if using specific Git commit

    TERMUX_PKG_VERSION must contain a commit date in case if you are using specific Git commit. Date format should be YYYY.MM.DD or YYYYMMDD.

    Never use Git hash, branch name or something else that can break version tracking in package manager!

  3. Source URL

    Source URL must be deterministic and guarantee that it always pointing on content matching version specified in TERMUX_PKG_VERSION and checksum in TERMUX_PKG_SHA256. In very rare cases we could make exception, but don't expect that it will apply to your pull request.

    Don't hardcode version in source code URL. Reference it through variable ${TERMUX_PKG_VERSION} and remember that Bash supports slicing and other ways to manipulate content referenced through variables.

    Examples:

    TERMUX_PKG_VERSION=1.0
    TERMUX_PKG_SRCURL=https://example.com/archive/package-${TERMUX_PKG_VERSION}.tar.gz
    
    TERMUX_PKG_VERSION=5:4.11.3
    TERMUX_PKG_SRCURL=https://example.com/archive/package-${TERMUX_PKG_VERSION:2}.tar.gz
    
  4. Dependencies: build tools

    Don't specify common build tools in package dependencies. This includes packages like autoconf, automake, bison, clang, ndk-sysroot and many others.

  5. Dependencies: build & run time

    TERMUX_PKG_DEPENDS should contain only dependencies required during package run time.

    All dependencies that are used only during build time, for example static libraries, should be specified in TERMUX_PKG_BUILD_DEPENDS.

  6. Patches: format

    Patches are standard diff output generated by GNU diff or Git. Please avoid editing patches by hand, especially if you don't understand format internals.

    Patch is usually created by

    diff -uNr sourcedir sourcedir.mod > filename.patch
    
  7. Patches: hardcoded path references

    Software often relies on paths defined by Filesystem Hierarchy Standard:

    • /bin
    • /etc
    • /home
    • /run
    • /sbin
    • /tmp
    • /usr
    • /var

    These paths do not exist in Termux and have been replaced by prefixed equivalents. Termux installation prefix is

    /data/data/com.termux/files/usr
    

    and can be considered as virtual rootfs.

    Home directory is stored outside of prefix:

    /data/data/com.termux/files/home
    

    Don't hardcode home and prefix, use shortcuts @TERMUX_HOME@ and @TERMUX_PREFIX@ respectively. Patch files are preprocessed before being applied.

    Directories /run and /sbin should be replaced by @TERMUX_PREFIX@/var/run and @TERMUX_PREFIX@/bin respectively.

  8. Build configuration: compiler flags

    You should not touch CFLAGS, CXXFLAGS, CPPFLAGS or LDFLAGS variables unless this is necessary to make build working.

  9. Build configuration: autotools

    The build-package.sh does pretty much work to properly configure package builds using GNU Autotools. Therefore you do not need to specify flags like

    • --prefix
    • --host
    • --build
    • --disable-nls
    • --disable-rpath

    and some others.

    Additional options to ./configure can be passed through variable TERMUX_PKG_EXTRA_CONFIGURE_ARGS.


Working with packages

All software available in Termux repositories aims to be compatible with Android OS and is built by Android NDK. This often introduces compatibility issues as Android (specifically Termux) is not a standard platform. Do not expect there are exist package recipes available out-of-box.

Commit guidelines

Commit messages should describe the changes done, so that maintainers can understand what was done, and to what package or scope, without having to look at the code changes. One good (but not mandatory) way to make sure the commit message fulfills these requirements is to write it on the format:

<commitType>(<repo>/<package>): (Summary of change(s) made/Short description of the change)

[An optional but **highly recommended** commit message describing the changes made in the commit]

[Fixes (termux/repo)#<issue number>]
[Closes (termux/repo)#<pr number>]

Where:

  • <repo> may be one of main, root or x11. It is the repository in which the package resides. Other definition for this property can be done as the name property of the package directory as defined in repo.json file after removing the 'termux-' prefix (if any).
  • <package> is the actual name of the package.

Any line in the commit should not exceed 80 characters. In case it does, consider using different wordings or language style which better summarizes the changes done.

  • <commitType> describes the type of commit. Types of commits:
    • addpkg(<repo>/<package>): A new package was added. Commit summary should include a short description of the package. Optional extended commit message may include usage instructions for the package and/or reasons for inclusion.
    • bump(<repo>/<package>): One or more package(s) was/were updated. Commit summary should include the newer version/tag to which the package was updated to. Optional extended commit message may include new list of features in the new version, and detailed list of changes in build scripts and/or patches
    • fix(<repo>/<package>): Fix a Termux specific bug in a package Commit summary should contain a summary of old incorrect behaviour of the package. Extended commit message may contain a deeper analysis of the bug.
    • dwnpkg(<repo>/<package>): One or more package(s) was/were downgraded due to build issues or potential bugs Commit summary should justify the downgrading of the package(s). If the summary can't completely describe the reason for downgrade, extended commit message should contain full reason for downgrade.
    • disable(<repo>/<package>): A package was disabled. The short description should contain the reason for disabling of the package. If the reason doesn't fit well in the sunmary, extended commit message should contain the complete reason for disabling.
    • enhance(<repo>/<package>): Enable a feature in a package that was earlier not enabled. Optional (but highly recommended) extended commit message may contain detailed summary of the enabled feature(s) and a basic use case
    • chore: Any housekeeping change or a change which does not affect the user in any way.
    • rebuild: Rebuild a package to link against newer version of shared library Special cases:
      • When mass rebuilding packages depending on a major package (e.g. openssl), consider using this format:
        rebuild(deps:main/openssl): link against OpenSSL 3.0
        
    • scripts(path/to/script): Any change affecting our build scripts or other scripts which are not a part of build recipies including toolchain setup scripts.
    • ci(action_file_without_extension): Any change that affects GitHub Actions yaml file(s) and/or scripts used exclusively by it.

Examples of good commit messages:

  1. bump(main/nodejs): v18.2.0
    
  2. dwnpkg(main/htop): v2.2.0
    
    v3.x needs access to /proc/stat which is now restricted by Android
    
  3. enhance,bump(main/nodejs): v18.2.0 and use shared libuv
    
    # Describe the technical reasons of how using shared libuv is beneficial
    
  4. disable(main/nodejs): use LTS version instead
    
    PS: This won't ever happen. Just an example :P
    
  5. ci(package_updates): panic on invalid versions
    
  6. chore,scripts(bin/revbump): support passing path to build.sh
    
    Earlier only package directories defined in `repo.json` could be revbumped.
    Now you can pass the path to build.sh
    
  7. fix(main/nodejs{,-lts}): test failures for `process.report`
    
    This shows an example when scope can be minimised if they belong to the
    same repository, and have same initials as well as are very similar in
    nature.
    
    The same can also be used for liblua as main/liblua{51,52,53,54}
    
  8. fix(main/vim{,-python},x11/vim-gtk): cursor flickering under certain rare conditions
    
    Although the above commit message is quite long and also exceeds the
    recommended length of a line in commit message. Such commits may be accepted
    in cases where the changes are very similar for all three packages.
    

Special notes for newbies who're just getting started with Open Source

In order to encourage new contributors and help them contribute to open source, the above mentioned commit requirements should be optionally relaxed. In cases where commit messages need to be changed, the PR may be Squashed and Merged or may be merged manually from the command line.

Notes for merging PRs from command line

  1. It is recommended to use the GitHub CLI (gh) in order to fetch the contributor's branch.

    gh pr checkout <PR Number>
    
  2. After checking out the branch, amend the commit message and optionally rebase against the master branch (if necessary).

    When merging manually make sure that you give proper credits for the original patch to it's author by adding a Co-authored-by: line. See https://docs.github.com/en/pull-requests/committing-changes-to-your-project/creating-and-editing-commits/creating-a-commit-with-multiple-authors for more details. Also add a Closes #<PR number>.

    Note that the Closes and Co-authored-by lines are needed only when the PR author has disabled ability for maintainers to push to their branches. If possible, it is recommended to force-push to user's branch and then push the change to master branch since GitHub UI then will detect a merge.

    git fetch
    git rebase origin/master
    
    git commit --amend # Will open up your editor to amend the commit message
    
    # If possible push to PR author's branch
    # Note: no need to configure remote branch if you checked
    # out using GitHub CLI.
    # git push -f
    
  3. Note down the branch name

    git branch
    
  4. Merge the branch manually

    git switch master
    
    # Note depending upon your git configuration, the default
    # merge strategy may vary. It is recommended to pass the
    # merge strategy as a flag to git.
    git merge <branch name>
    
  5. Congratulate the user on sending their (probably) first OSS contribution!

  6. Note that sometimes GitHub UI may fail to detect the merge, in such cases make sure that you tell the contributor that their PR was merged manually and they'll recieve their due credits in the repository contribution graph.

Basics

Each package is a defined through the build.sh script placed into directory ./packages/<name>/ where <name> is the actual name of package in lower case. File build.sh is a shell (Bash) script that defines some properties like dependencies, description, home page through environment variables. Sometimes it also used to override default packaging steps defined in our build system.

Here is example of build.sh:

TERMUX_PKG_HOMEPAGE=https://example.com
TERMUX_PKG_DESCRIPTION="Termux package"
TERMUX_PKG_LICENSE="GPL-3.0"
TERMUX_PKG_MAINTAINER="@github"
TERMUX_PKG_VERSION=1.0
TERMUX_PKG_SRCURL=https://example.com/sources-${TERMUX_PKG_VERSION}.tar.gz
TERMUX_PKG_SHA256=0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
TERMUX_PKG_DEPENDS="libiconv, ncurses"

It can contain some additional variables:

  • TERMUX_PKG_BUILD_IN_SRC=true

    Use this variable if package supports in-tree builds only, for example if package uses raw Makefile instead of build system like CMake.

  • TERMUX_PKG_PLATFORM_INDEPENDENT=true

    This variable specifies that package is platform-independent and can run on any device regardless of CPU architecture.

TERMUX_PKG_LICENSE should specify the license using SPDX license identifier or can contain values "custom" or "non-free". Multiple licenses should be separated by commas.

TERMUX_PKG_SRCURL should contain URL only for the official source bundle. Use of forks is allowed only under a good reason.

More about build.sh variables you can read on developer's wiki.

Creating patch files

Many packages will require changes that can't be done through configuring build system. In this cases you need to directly modify the source code and obtain files that describe your changes in machine readable format.

We use patches made in Unified Format generated by either GNU diff, git or other compatible utility.

See below on how to make a patch with GNU diff:

  1. Get source code, for example with this command:

    cd ./packages/your-package
    (source build.sh 2>/dev/null; curl -LO "$TERMUX_PKG_SRCURL")
    
  2. Extract tarball and make a copy of source code tree:

    tar xf package-1.0.tar.gz
    cp -a package-1.0 package-1.0.mod
    
  3. Change current directory to source code tree:

    cd package-1.0.mod
    
  4. Make changes:

    vim sourcefile.c
    
  5. Generate difference between original and modified sources:

    cd ..
    diff -uNr package-1.0 package-1.0.mod > very-nice-improvement.patch
    

Patch file names should be self descriptive, so it will be easier for other people to understand what your patch does. Also it is preferred that every modification is stored in a separate patch file.

Updating packages

asciicast

You can check which packages are out-of-date by visiting Termux page on Repology.

General package update procedure

Usually to update packages you need to just modify few variables and commit the changes.

  1. Assign the new version value to TERMUX_PKG_VERSION. Be careful to not remove the epoch (numbered prefix, e.g 1:, 2:) accidentally.
  2. If there is TERMUX_PKG_REVISION variable set, remove it. Revision should be set only for subsequent package builds within the same version.
  3. Download the source code archive and compute SHA-256 checksum:
    cd ./packages/${YOUR_PACKAGE}
    (source build.sh 2>/dev/null; curl -LO "$TERMUX_PKG_SRCURL")
    
  4. Assign the new checksum value to TERMUX_PKG_SHA256.

Dealing with patch errors

Major changes introduced to packages often make current patches incompatible with newer package version. Unfortunately, there no universal guide about fixing patch issues as workaround is always based on changes introduced to the new source code version.

Here are few things you may to try:

  1. If patch fixing particular known upstream issue, check the project's VCS for commits fixing the issue. There is a chance that patch is no longer needed.

  2. Inspecting the failed patch file and manually applying changes to source code. Do so only if you understand the source code and changes introduced by patch.

    Regenerate patch file, e.g. with:

    diff -uNr package-1.0 package-1.0.mod > previously-failed-patch-file.patch
    

Always check the CI (Github Actions) status for your pull request. If it fails, then either fix or close it. Maintainers can fix it on their own, if issues are minor. But they won't rewrite whole your submission.

Rebuilding package with no version change

Changes to patch files and build configuration options will imply package rebuild. In order to make package recognized as update, a build number should be set. This is done through defining variable TERMUX_PKG_REVISION or incrementing its value if already set.

TERMUX_PKG_REVISION should be set exactly below TERMUX_PKG_VERSION:

TERMUX_PKG_VERSION=1.0
TERMUX_PKG_REVISION=4

If package version has been updated, TERMUX_PKG_REVISION should be removed.

Downgrading the package or changing versioning scheme

If package needs to be downgraded or for versioning scheme needs to be changed, you need to set or increment package epoch. This is needed to tell package manager force recognize new version as package update.

Epoch should be specified in same variable as version (TERMUX_PKG_VERSION), but its value will take different format ({EPOCH}:{VERSION}):

TERMUX_PKG_VERSION=1:5.0.0

Note that if you are not @termux collaborator, pull request must contain a description why you are submitting a package downgrade. All pull requests which submit package downgrading without any serious reason will be rejected.

Common build issues

No files in package. Maybe you need to run autoreconf -fi before configuring?

Means that build system cannot find the Makefile. Depending on project, there are some tips for trying:

  • Set TERMUX_PKG_BUILD_IN_SRC=true - applicable to Makefile-only projects.
  • Run ./autogen.sh or autoreconf -fi in termux_step_pre_configure. This is applicable to projects that use Autotools.
No LICENSE file was installed for ...

This error happens when build system cannot find license file and it should be specified manually through TERMUX_PKG_LICENSE_FILE.