I have poor memory. One thing I have especially poor memory for is Unix commands and parameters. On top of that, I don’t do packaging often, so some less common commands escape my mind quickly. This post tries to address this problem by listing some of the commands I find both useful and hard to commit to memory.

It follows that this post is likely more useful for me than for anybody reading this, but you never know. If there are other commands you use during packaging that you would like me to include, feel free to let me know.

The reason I specify “Arch and derivates” in the title is because some of the commands are for makepkg. The rest, however, are more generic.


Only download and extract sources

makepkg -o

This also runs the prepare function, if present.

Do not download sources, use existing ones

makepkg -e

Repackage only, no build

makepkg -R

Cleanup after build

makepkg -c

Cleanup before build

makepkg -C

Diffs and patches

Creating a patch from two files

Make sure you execute this from the root of the source directory, so that file paths are complete.

diff -Naur old_file new_file > my_patch.patch

Applying a patch

Make sure the cwd is set to the root of the source directory when this is called:

patch -N -i my_patch.patch

The -pN flag is useful to strip N parent directories from the paths the patch refers to, in case you are located at a deeper path than the root.