Chapter 20. Real-World Package Building

In Chapter 11, we packaged a fairly simple application. Since our goal was to introduce package building, we kept things as simple as possible. However, things aren't always that simple in the real world.

In this chapter, we'll package a more complex application that will call on most of RPM's capabilities. We'll start with a general overview of the application and end with a completed package, just as you would if you were tasked with packaging an application that you'd not seen before.

So without further ado, let's meet amanda…

An Overview of Amanda

Amanda is a network backup utility. The name amanda stands for "Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver". If the word "Maryland" seems somewhat incongruous, it helps to realize that the program was developed at the University of Maryland by James Da Silva, and has subsequently been enhanced by many people around the world.

The sources are available at, in directory /pub/amanda. At the time of writing, the latest version of amanda is version 2.3.0. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the amanda source tar file is called amanda-2.3.0.tar.gz.

As with most network-centric applications, amanda has a server component, and a client component. An amanda server controls how the various client systems are backed up to the server's tape drive. Each amanda client uses the operating system's native dump utility to perform the actual backup, which is then compressed and sent to the server. A server can back itself up simply by having the client software installed and configured, just like any other client system.

The software builds with make, and most customization is done in two .h files in the config subdirectory. A fair amount of documentation is available in the doc subdirectory. All in all, amanda is a typical non-trivial application.

Amanda can be built on several Unix-based operating systems. In this chapter, we'll build and package amanda for Red Hat Linux Linux version 4.0.