Running pkgsrc on OpenBSD

After a discussion somewhere on teh webs, I decided to dig into the state of PHP 7.1 and PHP 7.2 on OpenBSD. The short version is "we're working on it" (in OpenBSD ports) but no ETA. However, being keen to NetBSD's pkgsrc distribution, I knew that they had been cooking up newer versions in their software tree. So I decided to kick the tires.

Pkgsrc is roughly NetBSD's equivalent to the OpenBSD/FreeBSD "Ports" repository, however, they've put significant effort into making it quite portable. It works in one way or another on other BSDs, Linux, OS X and even more esoteric platforms like Haiku and Illumos.

Initially, bootstrapping pkgsrc on OpenBSD 6.3-STABLE didn't work. Buried deep in my inbox from the pkgsrc mailing list in April, I found a hint from Sevan Janiyan about some patches that are needed to make it work. Partially, this is because OpenBSD uses both clang and gcc compilers in the base distribution on modern hardware.

Anyhow, on with the show.

First, check out the pkgsrc repository. You can do it with cvs:

env CVS_RSH=ssh cvs -d anoncvs@anoncvs.NetBSD.org:/cvsroot checkout -P pkgsrc

It's going to churn for a few minutes while it downloads all the files.

When it's done downloading, you can move it to /usr (/usr/pkgsrc) if you want, but I usually just leave the pkgsrc tree in my home directory. Change into the pkgsrc directory:
cd pkgsrc

make a file called pkgsrc.patch with the following contents:

--- archivers/libarchive/files/libarchive/archive_openssl_hmac_private.h
1 Aug 2017 22:21:17 -0000
+++ archivers/libarchive/files/libarchive/archive_openssl_hmac_private.h
5 Apr 2018 20:50:09 -0000
@@ -28,7 +28,8 @@

+#if OPENSSL_VERSION_NUMBER < 0x10100000L || \
 #include /* malloc, free */
 #include /* memset */
 static inline HMAC_CTX *HMAC_CTX_new(void)

Apply the patch:
patch -p0 < pkgsrc.patch

cd bootstrap

A "privileged" install requires root (via doas or su) but will store all of the binaries into /usr/pkg:
doas ./bootstrap --compiler clang

-- OR --

If you wish to build "unprivileged" without root, the binary packages will be installed in the "pkg" directory under your home dir.
./bootstrap --unprivileged --compiler clang

Then go have a coffee or something. It takes a while.

If it finishes up with out a screen full of errors, you're almost all the way there:

You'll need to edit your .profile (or .bashrc if you roll that way) to add the pkg/bin directory to your path. In a privileged install, add /usr/pkg/bin and /usr/pkg/sbin to your path. In an unprivileged install, add ~/pkg/bin and ~/pkg/sbin instead.

Adding these paths to the end of the PATH line in the default .profile should work for a privileged pkgsrc install:


You need that in your path, because pkgsrc portable requires you to use NetBSD's "bmake" in the pkgsrc tree, and bmake is compiled as part of the bootstrap. You can log out and log back in, or just run this command to get bmake into your working path.


Let's try building something. It works a lot like ports. It will recursively build any dependencies or libraries that are needed, and install them into the pkg directory before building the application you're trying to compile. I'll start with the latest version of PHP in pkgsrc, PHP 7.2, since that's how this whole journey started. I'm using doas since I did a privileged install.

cd pkgsrc/lang/php72
doas bmake

It compiled.

I'm going to run doas bmake install without running bmake test because pkgsrc isn't the boss of me.

And it all works.

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