May 012013

Since a while, I always wanted to dig into RPM packaging as it would be very useful in my daily work with several hundreds of Red Hat machines. But I didn’t find a challenging software to package since it’s hard to find popular tools not available as RPM or at least SRPM already. This lasted until recently when I had to update Oracle JRockit Java, an enterprise JDK used with the Oracle Weblogic server, on multiple dozens of machines. Accurately defined the default installation of the JDK consists of only one folder which could be tar’ed and copied over, but a real Linux admin knows, this is not the way to install software. After several days of try and error and researching JVM packaging, the result is now available on my GitHub profile.

Download Spec File and Oracle JRockit Installer

The easiest way to get the .spec file is to clone the oracle-jrockit-rpm repository:

[user@host ~]$ git clone

The following files from the repository are then required to build the RPM:


Also download the Oracle JRockit installer, the x64 and ia32 version is supported by the spec file, and place it into the oracle-jrockit-rpm/SOURCES directory.

Use mock to build the RPMs

Mock is a useful tool to build RPMs for various target platforms. Even for the Gentoo friends it is available in the portage.

In the first step a chroot environment for the target distribution has to be setup. Mock already comes with a fair number of different definition files for different distributions, which can be found in /etc/mock. They can be adapted according to different requirements, e.g. when a local mirror or a different base set of packages should be used. When building RPMs for RHEL/CentOS 6, I had to modify the epel-6-x86_64.cfg to use the following setup command:

config_opts['chroot_setup_cmd'] = 'install bash bzip2 coreutils cpio diffutils findutils gawk gcc grep sed gcc-c++ gzip info patch redhat-rpm-config rpm-build shadow-utils tar unzip util-linux-ng which make'

After adding the unprivileged build user to the ‘mock’ group, the chroot can be initialized with the following command. In this example I want to build the RPMs for the already mentioned RHEL/CentOS 6 distributions:

[user@host ~]$ mock -r epel-6-x86_64 --init

Next, the SRPM needs to be packaged:

[user@host ~]$ mock -r epel-6-x86_64 --buildsrpm --spec oracle-jrockit-rpm/SPECS/java-1.6.0-jrockit.spec --sources oracle-jrockit-rpm/SOURCES

Eventually, the final RPMs can be compiled:

[user@host ~]$ mock -r epel-6-x86_64 --rebuild /var/lib/mock/epel-6-x86_64/root/builddir/build/SRPMS/java-1.6.0-jrockit-

If everything went well, the final RPMs can be found under /var/lib/mock/epel-6-x86_64/root/builddir/build/RPMS:

[user@host ~]$ ls -1 /var/lib/mock/epel-6-x86_64/root/builddir/build/RPMS

Final Thoughts

Of course this guide can be used to build any RPM also from other spec files and for other distributions. With these notes, I hope to be more productive when an RPM quickly has to be compiled in the future.

If you find a bug in the spec file, feel free to open an issue on GitHub, so I can fix and learn from it. Otherwise just leave a comment below if you think this guide or the spec file was useful.