Almost all package build systems implement a notion build phases:
a sequence of actions that the build system executes, when you build the
package, leading to the installed byproducts in the store. A notable
exception is the “bare-bones”
(see Build Systems).
As discussed in the previous section, those build systems provide a
standard list of phases. For
gnu-build-system, the main build
phases are the following:
Unpack the source tarball, and change the current directory to the extracted source tree. If the source is actually a directory, copy it to the build tree, and enter that directory.
Patch shebangs encountered in source files so they refer to the right
store file names. For instance, this changes
Run the configure script with a number of default options, such
as --prefix=/gnu/store/…, as well as the options specified
make with the list of flags specified with
#:make-flags. If the
#:parallel-build? argument is true
(the default), build with
make check, or some other target specified with
#:tests? #f is passed. If the
#:parallel-tests? argument is true (the default), run
make install with the flags listed in
Patch shebangs on the installed executable files.
Strip debugging symbols from ELF files (unless
is false), copying them to the
debug output when available
(see Installing Debugging Files).
Other build systems have similar phases, with some variations. For
cmake-build-system has same-named phases but its
configure phases runs
cmake instead of
Others, such as
python-build-system, have a wholly different list
of standard phases. All this code runs on the build side: it is
evaluated when you actually build the package, in a dedicated build
process spawned by the build daemon (see Invoking guix-daemon).
Build phases are represented as association lists or “alists” (see Association Lists in GNU Guile Reference Manual) where each key is a symbol for the name of the phase and the associated value is a procedure that accepts an arbitrary number of arguments. By convention, those procedures receive information about the build in the form of keyword parameters, which they can use or ignore.
For example, here is how
(guix build gnu-build-system) defines
%standard-phases, the variable holding its alist of build
;; The build phases of 'gnu-build-system'. (define* (unpack #:key source #:allow-other-keys) ;; Extract the source tarball. (invoke "tar" "xvf" source)) (define* (configure #:key outputs #:allow-other-keys) ;; Run the 'configure' script. Install to output "out". (let ((out (assoc-ref outputs "out"))) (invoke "./configure" (string-append "--prefix=" out)))) (define* (build #:allow-other-keys) ;; Compile. (invoke "make")) (define* (check #:key (test-target "check") (tests? #true) #:allow-other-keys) ;; Run the test suite. (if tests? (invoke "make" test-target) (display "test suite not run\n"))) (define* (install #:allow-other-keys) ;; Install files to the prefix 'configure' specified. (invoke "make" "install")) (define %standard-phases ;; The list of standard phases (quite a few are omitted ;; for brevity). Each element is a symbol/procedure pair. (list (cons 'unpack unpack) (cons 'configure configure) (cons 'build build) (cons 'check check) (cons 'install install)))
This shows how
%standard-phases is defined as a list of
symbol/procedure pairs (see Pairs in GNU Guile Reference
Manual). The first pair associates the
unpack procedure with
unpack symbol—a name; the second pair defines the
configure phase similarly, and so on. When building a package
gnu-build-system with its default list of phases, those
phases are executed sequentially. You can see the name of each phase
started and completed in the build log of packages that you build.
Let’s now look at the procedures themselves. Each one is defined with
#:key lists keyword parameters the procedure
accepts, possibly with a default value, and
specifies that other keyword parameters are ignored (see Optional
Arguments in GNU Guile Reference Manual).
unpack procedure honors the
source parameter, which
the build system uses to pass the file name of the source tarball (or
version control checkout), and it ignores other parameters. The
configure phase only cares about the
outputs parameter, an
alist mapping package output names to their store file name
(see Packages with Multiple Outputs). It extracts the file name of
out, the default output, and passes it to
./configure as the installation prefix, meaning that
make install will eventually copy all the files in that
directory (see configuration and makefile
conventions in GNU Coding Standards).
install ignore all their arguments.
check honors the
test-target argument, which specifies the name of the Makefile
target to run tests; it prints a message and skips tests when
tests? is false.
The list of phases used for a particular package can be changed with the
#:phases parameter of the build system. Changing the set of
build phases boils down to building a new alist of phases based on the
%standard-phases alist described above. This can be done with
standard alist procedures such as
alist-delete (see SRFI-1
Association Lists in GNU Guile Reference Manual); however, it is
more convenient to do so with
Here is an example of a package definition that removes the
configure phase of
%standard-phases and inserts a new
phase before the
build phase, called
(define-public example (package (name "example") ;; other fields omitted (build-system gnu-build-system) (arguments '(#:phases (modify-phases %standard-phases (delete 'configure) (add-before 'build 'set-prefix-in-makefile (lambda* (#:key outputs #:allow-other-keys) ;; Modify the makefile so that its ;; 'PREFIX' variable points to "out". (let ((out (assoc-ref outputs "out"))) (substitute* "Makefile" (("PREFIX =.*") (string-append "PREFIX = " out "\n"))) #true))))))))
The new phase that is inserted is written as an anonymous procedure,
lambda*; it honors the
we have seen before. See Build Utilities, for more about the helpers
used by this phase, and for more examples of
Keep in mind that build phases are code evaluated at the time the
package is actually built. This explains why the whole
modify-phases expression above is quoted (it comes after the
' or apostrophe): it is staged for later execution.
See G-Expressions, for an explanation of code staging and the
code strata involved.
We present a simplified view of those build phases, but
do take a look at
(guix build gnu-build-system) to see all the