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zc.buildout recipe for compiling and installing source distributions.

Project description

The recipe provides the means to compile and install source distributions using configure and make and other similar tools. It is inspired by the zc.recipe.cmmi recipe but provides more control over the build process.


Clone URL: git clone git://

Issue tracker:

Supported Python versions: 2.6, 2.7, 3.2, 3.3

Supported zc.buildout versions: 1.x, 2.x

Travis build: travis

Change History

2.0 (2013-04-07)

1.6 (2012-06-28)

1.5.1 (2012-05-21)

1.5.0 (2010-12-17)

  • Refactored the environment variable handling logic. Python versions prior to 2.6 have an issue clearing the environment variables using os.environ.clear() (See [dokai]

    Instead of modifying os.environ directly we use the subprocess module to run the commands in child processes which are given an explicit environment which is a copy of the current os.environ augmented with the per-part overrides. As a result, os.environ is no longer modified by this recipe.

    The Python hook scripts are passed the augmented environment dictionary as a third parameter.

    See for details.

1.4.0 (2010-08-27)

  • Added support for passing options to make with the new make-options option. See the Installing a package without an autoconf like system section below for an example. [dokai]

  • The --prefix parameter will be automatically given to the configure command if and only if

    • the configure-command is not used to specify a custom configure command and

    • --prefix is not given explicitly in the configure-options option.


  • Removed the is_build_dir() heuristic.

    Previously the recipe inspected the contents of the downloaded package to determine if it contained the necessary files for building the package (it checked if files named configure or Makefile.PL existed) and gave an error message if they were missing. However, the recipe is useful for building many different kinds of software packages and checking for particular files limited its use severely.

    Now the recipe omits any checks for particular files in the downloaded package. It is recommended that you use the md5sum option in your part configuration to assert that you are downloading the package you expect to. [dokai]

1.3.1 (2010-08-23)

  • Refactored the is_build_dir() helper method to make it easier to test and override in customized recipes. [dokai]

  • Fixed the handling of the working directory so that it is restored to the state before executing the recipe regardless whether the recipe was successful or not. Thanks to Jonathan Ballet for the report and preliminary patch. [dokai]

  • Fixed Environment variables defined in one part will no longer leak to other subsequent parts. [dokai]

1.3.0 (2009-09-20)

  • Added new options environment-section and environment to control environment variables before executing the recipe.

  • Added a new option, prefix, to override the installation prefix. Defaults to the previously hardcoded value of the part location.


  • Added new configure-command option to control the command used to generate the Makefile. This makes it possible to build slightly different packages, e.g. Perl projects where Makefile.PL replaces the configure script.


  • Don’t try to execute hooks if the option is an empty string. This will make it possible to disable hooks when extending existing parts.


  • Added new option path to allow building and installing local source trees. The path option is mutually exclusive with url.


  • Fixed a bug with ‘keep-compile-dir’ option. The location of the compilation directory was not available through the options['compile-directory'] option as documented.


  • Initial public release.

Detailed Documentation

Supported options


URL to the package that will be downloaded and extracted. The supported package formats are .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, and .zip. The value must be a full URL, e.g. The path option can not be used at the same time with url.


Path to a local directory containing the source code to be built and installed. The directory must contain the configure script. The url option can not be used at the same time with path.


Custom installation prefix passed to the --prefix option of the configure script. Defaults to the location of the part. Note that this is a convenience shortcut which assumes that the default configure command is used to configure the package. If the configure-command option is used to define a custom configure command no automatic --prefix injection takes place. You can also set the --prefix parameter explicitly in configure-options.


MD5 checksum for the package file. If available the MD5 checksum of the downloaded package will be compared to this value and if the values do not match the execution of the recipe will fail.


Path to the make program. Defaults to ‘make’ which should work on any system that has the make program available in the system PATH.


Extra KEY=VALUE options included in the invocation of the make program. Multiple options can be given on separate lines to increase readability.


Targets for the make command. Defaults to ‘install’ which will be enough to install most software packages. You only need to use this if you want to build alternate targets. Each target must be given on a separate line.


Name of the configure command that will be run to generate the Makefile. This defaults to ./configure which is fine for packages that come with a configure script. You may wish to change this when compiling packages with a different set up. See the Compiling a Perl package section for an example.


Extra options to be given to the configure script. By default only the --prefix option is passed which is set to the part directory. Each option must be given on a separate line.


Path to the patch program. Defaults to ‘patch’ which should work on any system that has the patch program available in the system PATH.


Options passed to the patch program. Defaults to -p0.


List of patch files to the applied to the extracted source. Each file should be given on a separate line.


Custom python script that will be executed before running the configure script. The format of the options is:


where the first part is a filesystem path to the python module and the second part is the name of the callable in the module that will be called. The callable will be passed three parameters in the following order:

  1. The options dictionary from the recipe.

  2. The global buildout dictionary.

  3. A dictionary containing the current os.environ augmented with the part specific overrides.

The callable is not expected to return anything.


Custom python script that will be executed before running make. The format and semantics are the same as with the pre-configure-hook option.


Custom python script that will be executed after running make. The format and semantics are the same as with the pre-configure-hook option.


Switch to optionally keep the temporary directory where the package was compiled. This is mostly useful for other recipes that use this recipe to compile a software but wish to do some additional steps not handled by this recipe. The location of the compile directory is stored in options['compile-directory']. Accepted values are true or false, defaults to false.


Name of a section that provides environment variables that will be used to augment the variables read from os.environ before executing the recipe.

This recipe does not modify os.environ directly. External commands run as part of the recipe (e.g. make, configure, etc.) get an augmented environment when they are forked. Python hook scripts are passed the augmented as a parameter.

The values of the environment variables may contain references to other existing environment variables (including themselves) in the form of Python string interpolation variables using the dictionary notation. These references will be expanded using values from os.environ. This can be used, for example, to append to the PATH variable, e.g.:

recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
environment-section =

PATH = %(PATH)s:${buildout:directory}/bin


A sequence of KEY=VALUE pairs separated by newlines that define additional environment variables used to update os.environ before executing the recipe.

The semantics of this option are the same as environment-section. If both environment-section and environment are provided the values from the former will be overridden by the latter allowing per-part customization.

Additionally, the recipe honors the download-cache option set in the [buildout] section and stores the downloaded files under it. If the value is not set a directory called downloads will be created in the root of the buildout and the download-cache option set accordingly.

The recipe will first check if there is a local copy of the package before downloading it from the net. Files can be shared among different buildouts by setting the download-cache to the same location.

Example usage

We’ll use a simple tarball to demonstrate the recipe.

>>> import os.path
>>> src = join(os.path.dirname(__file__), 'testdata')
>>> ls(src)
- Foo-Bar-0.0.0.tar.gz
- haproxy-1.4.8-dummy.tar.gz
- package-0.0.0.tar.gz

The package contains a dummy configure script that will simply echo the options it was called with and create a Makefile that will do the same.

Let’s create a buildout to build and install the package.

>>> write('buildout.cfg',
... """
... [buildout]
... newest = false
... parts = package
... [package]
... recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
... url = file://%s/package-0.0.0.tar.gz
... """ % src)

This will download, extract and build our demo package with the default build options.

>>> print(system(buildout))
Installing package.
package: Extracting package to /sample_buildout/parts/package__compile__
configure --prefix=/sample_buildout/parts/package
building package
installing package

As we can see the configure script was called with the --prefix option by default followed by calls to make and make install.

Installing a Perl package

The recipe can be used to install packages that use a slightly different build process. Perl packages often come with a Makefile.PL script that performs the same task as a configure script and generates a Makefile.

We can build and install such a package by overriding the configure-command option. The following example builds a Foo::Bar perl module and installs it in a custom location within the buildout:

>>> write('buildout.cfg',
... """
... [buildout]
... newest = false
... parts = foobar
... perl_lib = ${buildout:directory}/perl_lib
... [foobar]
... recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
... configure-command = perl -I${buildout:perl_lib}/lib/perl5 Makefile.PL INSTALL_BASE=${buildout:perl_lib}
... url = file://%s/Foo-Bar-0.0.0.tar.gz
... """ % src)

>>> print(system(buildout))
Uninstalling package.
Installing foobar.
foobar: Extracting package to /sample_buildout/parts/foobar__compile__
building package
installing package

Installing a package without an autoconf like system

Some packages do not use a configuration mechanism and simply provide a Makefile for building. It is common in these cases that the build process is controlled entirely by direct options to make. We can build such a package by faking a configure command that does nothing and passing the appropriate options to make. The true utility found in most shell environments is a good candidate for this although anything that returns a zero exit code would do.

We are using a dummy “HAProxy” package as an example of a package with only a Makefile and using explicit make options to control the build process.

>>> write('buildout.cfg',
... """
... [buildout]
... newest = false
... parts = haproxy
... [haproxy]
... recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
... configure-command = true
... make-options =
...     TARGET=linux26
...     CPU=i686
...     USE_PCRE=1
... url = file://%s/haproxy-1.4.8-dummy.tar.gz
... """ % src)
>>> print(system(buildout))
Uninstalling foobar.
Installing haproxy.
haproxy: Extracting package to /sample_buildout/parts/haproxy__compile__
Building HAProxy 1.4.8 (dummy package)
TARGET: linux26
CPU: i686
Installing haproxy

Installing checkouts

Sometimes instead of downloading and building an existing tarball we need to work with code that is already available on the filesystem, for example an SVN checkout.

Instead of providing the url option we will provide a path option to the directory containing the source code.

Let’s demonstrate this by first unpacking our test package to the filesystem and building that.

>>> checkout_dir = tmpdir('checkout')
>>> import setuptools.archive_util
>>> setuptools.archive_util.unpack_archive('%s/package-0.0.0.tar.gz' % src,
...                                        checkout_dir)
>>> ls(checkout_dir)
d package-0.0.0
>>> write('buildout.cfg',
... """
... [buildout]
... newest = false
... parts = package
... [package]
... recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
... path = %s/package-0.0.0
... """ % checkout_dir)
>>> print(system(buildout))
Uninstalling haproxy.
Installing package.
package: Using local source directory: /checkout/package-0.0.0
configure --prefix=/sample_buildout/parts/package
building package
installing package

Since using the path implies that the source code has been acquired outside of the control of the recipe also the responsibility of managing it is outside of the recipe.

Depending on the software you may need to manually run make clean etc. between buildout runs if you make changes to the code. Also, the keep-compile-dir has no effect when path is used.

Advanced configuration

The above options are enough to build most packages. However, in some cases it is not enough and we need to control the build process more. Let’s try again with a new buildout and provide more options.

>>> write('buildout.cfg',
... """
... [buildout]
... newest = false
... parts = package
... [build-environment]
... CFLAGS = -I/sw/include
... LDFLAGS = -I/sw/lib
... [package]
... recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
... url = file://%(src)s/package-0.0.0.tar.gz
... md5sum = 6b94295c042a91ea3203857326bc9209
... prefix = /somewhere/else
... environment-section = build-environment
... environment =
...     LDFLAGS=-L/sw/lib -L/some/extra/lib
... configure-options =
...     --with-threads
...     --without-foobar
... make-targets =
...     install
...     install-lib
... patches =
...     patches/configure.patch
...     patches/Makefile.dist.patch
... """ % dict(src=src))

This configuration uses custom configure options, an environment section, per-part customization to the environment, custom prefix, multiple make targets and also patches the source code before the scripts are run.

>>> print(system(buildout))
Uninstalling package.
Installing package.
package: [ENV] CFLAGS = -I/sw/include
package: [ENV] LDFLAGS = -L/sw/lib -L/some/extra/lib
package: Extracting package to /sample_buildout/parts/package__compile__
package: Applying patches
patching file configure
patching file Makefile.dist
patched-configure --prefix=/somewhere/else --with-threads --without-foobar
building patched package
installing patched package
installing patched package-lib

Customizing the build process

Sometimes even the above is not enough and you need to be able to control the process in even more detail. One such use case would be to perform dynamic substitutions on the source code (possible based on information from the buildout) which cannot be done with static patches or to simply run arbitrary commands.

The recipe allows you to write custom python scripts that hook into the build process. You can define a script to be run:

  • before the configure script is executed (pre-configure-hook)

  • before the make process is executed (pre-make-hook)

  • after the make process is finished (post-make-hook)

Each option needs to contain the following information


where the callable object (here name_of_callable) is expected to take three parameters:

  1. The options dictionary from the recipe.

  2. The global buildout dictionary.

  3. A dictionary containing the current os.environ augmented with the part specific overrides.

These parameters should provide the callable all the necessary information to perform any part specific customization to the build process.

Let’s create a simple python script to demonstrate the functionality. You can naturally have separate modules for each hook or simply use just one or two hooks. Here we use just a single module.

>>> hooks = tmpdir('hooks')
>>> write(hooks, '',
... """
... import logging
... log = logging.getLogger('hook')
... def preconfigure(options, buildout, environment):
...'This is pre-configure-hook!')
... def premake(options, buildout, environment):
...'This is pre-make-hook!')
... def postmake(options, buildout, environment):
...'This is post-make-hook!')
... """)

and a new buildout to try it out

>>> write('buildout.cfg',
... """
... [buildout]
... newest = false
... parts = package
... [package]
... recipe = hexagonit.recipe.cmmi
... url = file://%(src)s/package-0.0.0.tar.gz
... pre-configure-hook = %(module)s:preconfigure
... pre-make-hook = %(module)s:premake
... post-make-hook = %(module)s:postmake
... """ % dict(src=src, module='%s/' % hooks))
>>> print(system(buildout))
Uninstalling package.
Installing package.
package: Extracting package to /sample_buildout/parts/package__compile__
package: Executing pre-configure-hook
hook: This is pre-configure-hook!
configure --prefix=/sample_buildout/parts/package
package: Executing pre-make-hook
hook: This is pre-make-hook!
building package
installing package
package: Executing post-make-hook
hook: This is post-make-hook!

For even more specific needs you can write your own recipe that uses hexagonit.recipe.cmmi and set the keep-compile-dir option to true. You can then continue from where this recipe finished by reading the location of the compile directory from options['compile-directory'] from your own recipe.


  • Kai Lautaportti (dokai), Author

  • Cédric de Saint Martin (desaintmartin)

  • Marc Abramowitz (msabramo)

  • Nicolas Dumazet (nicdumz)

  • Guy Rozendorn (grzn)

  • Marco Mariani (mmariani)

  • galpin


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