How to build an RPM package from Source


PRM Package, Packing an RPM may require while we need to build something from source. Example, If we need to install any package and it doesn’t have an RPM package the only way is to download the source, compile and install. But installing from source will be easier, however, to remove the installation from source will be a pain. To make life easier, error-free it’s good to build an RPM from the required source. In our guide let’s download OpenVPN source and start to build the RPM package.

Basic tools

This packaging guide created on a minimal operating system. So we required to install some of the basic packages.

# yum install wget curl bind-utils vim net-tools screen bash-completion -y

In case if you get any error for locale settings make sure to set the right language for you.

# localectl set-locale LC_CTYPE=en_US.utf8

On a minimal installation, this will be a common issue.

Install Prerequisites

To start with building an RPM package first we need to install the required compilers and build packages with dependencies.

# yum install rpm* gcc gpg* make autoconf rng-tools openssl-devel lzop lzo-devel pam-devel zlib-devel cmake -y

Create an Unpreveileged account

To compile and build a package we should not continue from root user instead create a normal user account prior to building.

# groupadd -g 5001 pkgbuilder
# useradd -u 5001 -g 5001 -c "RPM Package Builder" -s /bin/bash pkgbuilder

we are good to move forward.

Generating GPG key

Singing our RPM package is important because the end-user need to trust your package that he is going to install from a trusted source. Before generating GPG key we need run rngd command this will create some random data, to run this command we need to log in as root account which will speed up the process. Moreover, we need to configure x11 locally in our server to enter the password during GPG key creation. So make sure to configure the X11 before moving forward.

Configure X11 forwarding

You may encounter an error if you have not configured with X11 forwarding.

# grep -i "^X11" /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Edit the sshd_config and make sure to change no to yes for below two lines.

[root@vpn sbin]# grep -i "^X11" /etc/ssh/sshd_config 
 X11Forwarding yes
 X11UseLocalhost yes
[root@vpn sbin]#

Login as root user and start to run the random command to generate some random data.

# rngd -r /dev/urandom

The above command takes a few seconds to complete. By the following login as normal user to start creating GPG Key.

# su - pkgbuilder
# gpg --gen-key

During the process, we need to choose some options.

  • First, select the kind of key as RSA by selecting 1 and press return.
  • Second, Just press return to use the default value 2048.
  • Third, make sure to provide a valid period else press return to use (0) unlimited.
  • Fourth, confirm the values (y).
  • Just a name to identify the key.
  • At last Email address and comments, By following Press (O) to continue.
[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ gpg --gen-key
 gpg (GnuPG) 2.0.22; Copyright (C) 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
 This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
 There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
 Please select what kind of key you want:
    (1) RSA and RSA (default)
    (2) DSA and Elgamal
    (3) DSA (sign only)
    (4) RSA (sign only)
 Your selection? 1
 RSA keys may be between 1024 and 4096 bits long.
 What keysize do you want? (2048) 
 Requested keysize is 2048 bits
 Please specify how long the key should be valid.
          0 = key does not expire
         = key expires in n days
       w = key expires in n weeks
       m = key expires in n months
       y = key expires in n years
 Key is valid for? (0) 
 Key does not expire at all
 Is this correct? (y/N) y
 GnuPG needs to construct a user ID to identify your key.
 Real name: Linux Sysadmins
 Email address:
 Comment: Linux Sysadmins GPG Singing Key
 You selected this USER-ID:
     "Linux Sysadmins (Linux Sysadmins GPG Signing Key)"
 Change (N)ame, (C)omment, (E)mail or (O)kay/(Q)uit? O
 You need a Passphrase to protect your secret key.

We will get a password prompt as shown in below picture enter the password and confirm the same to continue.

RPM GPG Key creation
RPM GPG Key creation

Note the above Key (EA2357B7) information for future reference.

Prepare and Build the RPM package

Rules to remember for a build configure, make and make install

Download the source file you need to build an RPM.

# wget

Create the required directory structure to build the RPM. Then create the SPEC file template.

$ rpmdev-setuptree
$ rpmdev-newspec rpmbuild/SPECS/openvpn.spec
$ cp openvpn-2.4.8.tar.gz rpmbuild/SOURCES/

Output for reference

[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ rpmdev-newspec rpmbuild/SPECS/openvpn.spec
 rpmbuild/SPECS/openvpn.spec created; type minimal, rpm version >= 4.11.
[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ cp openvpn-2.4.8.tar.gz rpmbuild/SOURCES/

A template of a spec file created, However, we need to put the required information in it.

$ vim rpmbuild/SPECS/openvpn.spec 

We have modified the spec file as per our requirement.

[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ cat rpmbuild/SPECS/openvpn.spec 
 Name:           openvpn
 Version:        2.4.8 
 Release:        1%{?dist}
 Summary:        OpenVPN is a robust and highly flexible VPN daemon. 
 License:           GNU General Public License version 2 
 Source0:        openvpn-2.4.8.tar.gz 
 BuildRequires:  gcc
         OpenVPN supports SSL/TLS security, ethernet bridging, 
         TCP or UDP tunnel transport through proxies or NAT, 
         support for dynamic IP addresses and DHCP, scalability 
         to hundreds or thousands of users, and portability to 
         most major OS platforms.
 %setup -q -n %{name}-%{version}
 make %{?_smp_mflags}
[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$

Start Building the RPM package.

$ rpmbuild -ba rpmbuild/SPECS/openvpn.spec

This will unpack the tar.gz package and configure by its own and build the RPM package.

Processing files: openvpn-debuginfo-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64
 Provides: openvpn-debuginfo = 2.4.8-1.el7 openvpn-debuginfo(x86-64) = 2.4.8-1.el7
 Requires(rpmlib): rpmlib(FileDigests) <= 4.6.0-1 rpmlib(PayloadFilesHavePrefix) <= 4.0-1 rpmlib(CompressedFileNames) <= 3.0.4-1
 Checking for unpackaged file(s): /usr/lib/rpm/check-files /home/pkgbuilder/rpmbuild/BUILDROOT/openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64
 Wrote: /home/pkgbuilder/rpmbuild/SRPMS/openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.src.rpm
 Wrote: /home/pkgbuilder/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm
 Wrote: /home/pkgbuilder/rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/openvpn-debuginfo-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm
 Executing(%clean): /bin/sh -e /var/tmp/rpm-tmp.0Fi73d
 umask 022
 cd /home/pkgbuilder/rpmbuild/BUILD
 cd openvpn-2.4.8
 /usr/bin/rm -rf /home/pkgbuilder/rpmbuild/BUILDROOT/openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64
 exit 0
[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ 

In the above output, you can notice the package


Signing the RPM Package

Finally, its time to sign the package. List the available GPG key and assign it to our new build package.

$ gpg --list-keys 
$ echo "%_gpg_name EA2357B7" >> .rpmmacros
$ rpmsign --addsign rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm 

Below output for your reference

[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ gpg --list-keys 
 pub   2048R/EA2357B7 2019-11-16
 uid                  Linux Sysadmins (Linux Sysadmins GPG singing Key)
 sub   2048R/C6A76CC9 2019-11-16
 [pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ 
 [pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ echo "%_gpg_name EA2357B7" >> .rpmmacros
 [pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ 
 [pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$ rpmsign --addsign rpmbuild/RPMS/x86_64/openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm 
 Enter pass phrase: 
 Pass phrase is good.
[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$

Testing the package

Install the RPM

Let’s start to install our new build package by running the RPM command.

# rpm -ivh openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm
# yum localinstall openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm

It looks good and we had a successful installation.

[root@vpn ~]# rpm -ivh openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm 
 warning: openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64.rpm: Header V4 RSA/SHA1 Signature, key ID ea2357b7: NOKEY
 Preparing…                          ########################## [100%]
 Updating / installing…
    1:openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7            ########################## [100%]
 [root@vpn ~]#
 Running transaction
   Installing : openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64                  1/1 
   Verifying  : openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64                  1/1 
   openvpn.x86_64 0:2.4.8-1.el7                                                                                                                                                       
[root@vpn ~]#

Verify the RPM information

[root@vpn ~]# rpm -qa | grep openvpn
[root@vpn ~]#

[root@vpn ~]# yum info openvpn
 Installed Packages
 Name        : openvpn
 Arch        : x86_64
 Version     : 2.4.8
 Release     : 1.el7
 Size        : 1.2 M
 Repo        : installed
 From repo   : /openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64
 Summary     : OpenVPN is a robust and highly flexible VPN daemon.
 URL         :
 License     : GNU General Public License version 2
 Description :       OpenVPN supports SSL/TLS security, ethernet bridging,
             :       TCP or UDP tunnel transport through proxies or NAT,
             :       support for dynamic IP addresses and DHCP, scalability
             :       to hundreds or thousands of users, and portability to
             :       most major OS platforms.
[root@vpn ~]#

The above information is exactly which we have given in the SPEC file.

Remove the RPM

By running yum command remove the installed package.

Running transaction
   Erasing    : openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64                     1/1 
   Verifying  : openvpn-2.4.8-1.el7.x86_64                     1/1 
   openvpn.x86_64 0:2.4.8-1.el7                                                                              
[pkgbuilder@vpn ~]$

We have completed successfully with a build, installing and removing the RPM package.


Building an RPM package from the source will be a safe option. Above step by step guide helped us to build a package from the source. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay tuned for more guides.