Packaging Python for MeeGo (or other RPM-based distros) (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Fri, 20 May 2011

Packaging Python for MeeGo (or other RPM-based distros)

Writing Python scripts for MeeGo is easy. But how do you package a Python script in an RPM other MeeGo users can install?

It turned out to be far easier than I expected. Python and Ubuntu had all the tools I needed.

First you'll need a .desktop file describing your app, if you don't already have one. This gives window managers the information they need to show your icon and application name so the user can run it. Here's the one I wrote for PyTopo: pytopo.desktop.

Of course, you'll also want a desktop icon. Most other applications on MeeGo seemed to use 48x48 pixel PNG images, so that's what I made, though it seems to be quite flexible -- an SVG is ideal.

With your script, desktop file and an icon, you're ready to create a package.

Create a file describing your package, as in the distutils simple example or the more detailed distutils setup script page. For a sample standalone script with a desktop file and icon, you can take a look at my PyTopo

Starting from the Python setup script, Python's distutils can generate RPM or even Windows packages -- assuming you have the appropriate tools installed on your machine.

I'm on an Ubuntu (Debian-based) machine, and all the docs imply you have to be on an RPM-based distro to make an RPM. Happily, that's not true: Ubuntu has RPM tools you can install.

$ sudo apt-get install rpm

Then let Python do its thing:

$ python bdist_rpm

Python generates the spec file and everything else needed and builds a multiarch RPM that's ready to install on MeeGo. You can install it by copying it to the MeeGo device with scp dist/PyTopo-1.0-1.noarch.rpm meego@address.of.device:/tmp/. Then, as root on the device, install it with rpm -i /tmp/PyTopo-1.0-1.noarch.rpm. You're done!

To see a working example, you can browse my latest PyTopo source (only what's in SVN; it needs a few more tweaks before it's ready for a formal release). Or try the RPM I made for MeeGo: PyTopo-1.0-1.noarch.rpm. I'd love to hear whether this works on other RPM-based distros.

What about Debian packages?

Curiously, making a Debian package on Debian/Ubuntu is much less straightforward even if you're starting on a Debian/Ubuntu machine. Distutils can't do it on its own. There's a Debian Python package recipe, but it begins with a caution that you shouldn't use it for a package you want to submit. For that, you probably have to wade through the Complete Ubuntu Packaging Guide. Clearly, that will need a separate article.

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[ 18:44 May 20, 2011    More programming | permalink to this entry | ]

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