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SlackBuild scripts

A SlackBuild script is a shell script (usually Bourne shell compatible) that automates the process of configuring, compiling and creating a Slackware package (*.tgz, *.txz, *.tbz files) from source archives.


The basic process of creating a Slackware package from source can be summarized as follows, while details may vary from one build system to another.

  1. Uncompress the source archive (usually .tar.gz or .tar.bz2 file) into a “work directory.”
  2. Configure the source, and apply patches if needed.
  3. Compile/build the source and generate the binaries.
  4. Install the program to a temporary directory. This step may be a little bit tricky, depending on how the make install (or similar functionality) of the build system works. In standard GNU Makefiles, the DESTDIR variable passed to the make install command should be sufficient. In non-standard Makefiles and build systems which don't support that option, this might involve patching the Makefile (or similar file) or editing a build configuration setting of the build system.
  5. Copy the program documentation and other necessary files (including post-installation scripts) to the appropriate subdirectories in the temporary installation directory. These locations should adhere to default directory structure used by Slackware to store applications installed by the package manager, viz. inside the /usr/ folder.
  6. Use the makepkg utility from the temporary directory (installation location) to create a Slackware package that can then be installed using the installpkg utility.

While the above steps can be done by hand, the process is tedious, sometimes complex, and involves typing in a lot of commands. Automating the process by a shell script allows the user to share the process with the community at large. It also makes sense to use and modify existing SlackBuild scripts for upgrading the same program to a newer version.


  • Originally written by V.Harishankar for the SlackDocs Wiki Project

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