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DJGPP Software Manifest Specification 0.6.1 Copyright © 1999-2003 by Richard Dawe

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License" (see GNU Free Documentation License).

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DJGPP has a lot of packages, and is becoming more and more popular. This is a testament to those who have worked on it & helped with it, and continue to do so (thanks guys & gals). However, for new users, it can be tricky to install and configure. Even for old users, it is somtimes a lot of hassle to install/remove packages. ;) So, it would be nice to have some (standard) way of simplifying this process. The DJGPP Software Manifest, hopefully, will allow this.

DJGPP software often comes with a manifest file, with a file extension of .mft, which lists the files contained in the package, and a version file, with a file extension of .ver, which has a brief description of the package, often containing no more than the name and version.

It would be useful to have a standard way of describing DJGPP packages, so that they could be installed/uninstalled/queried by a package manager, taking into account any interactions between the packages. The description would also include more information about the package than the current manifest & version files do.

Before going any further, the term "package" should be defined in the context of this specification. A package is a compressed archive containing a file or files describing the package. Thus, the files in the current DJGPP archive qualify as packages because they contain manifest and version files.

DJGPP packages are distributed as binaries (pre-compiled), sources (compilation required) or documentation (reading required).

DJGPP Software Manifest

The name DJGPP Software Manifest (DSM) has been chosen for the description. This is stored in a DSM file, with a file extension of .dsm. This will provide the following information about a package:

If the package contains a DSM file, it should be stored in either the top-level directory (the base directory of the archive) or in manifest/ off the top-level directory. This ensures that the package managers can easily find the DSM.

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DSM File Syntax



A DSM is a plain text file. It describes the package using directives. A directive is a name, consisting only of alphanumeric and hyphen characters, e.g.: short-description. A directive takes a single value and is separated from it by a colon, e.g.:

short-description: V. short

Directives are single-valued - to have multiple values, the directive should be used more than once. This is not allowed with all directives. See Multiply-Allowed Directives. If the directives have some logical grouping, e.g.: when describing package authors, then different directives are associated by occurrence in the DSM, e.g.: the third author-email directive refers the third author's e-mail address.

Line Continuation & Escaping

It may be desirable to have more than one line of data for some of the directives, e.g.: short-description. The line continuation character is a backslash, \. This should be the last non-whitespace character on the line.

In the informational directives short-description and long-description, C-style escapes can be used to insert newlines, etc. into the directive. The following escapes should be supported:



The version number must be specified as follows:

[  (alpha <Alpha number>)
 | (beta <Beta number>)
 | (pre <Pre-release number>)]
[revision <Revision number>] [patchlevel <Patchlevel number>]
[snapshot <ISO 8061 hyphenless date>] [release <Release number>]
[platform <Platform specifier>]

The components must be in this order. NB: The versions 1.0.0 and 1.0 may seem to be the same, but are not.

The ISO 8061 hyphenless date is specified by YYYYMMDD, where YYYY is the 4-digit year, MM is the 2-digit month number and DD is the 2-digit day number (in the month), all padded with zeroes as necessary.

The platform is a <CPU>-<Manufacturer>-<Operating System> triplet or <CPU>-<Manufacturer>-<Kernel>-<Operating System> quadruplet describing the hardware & software that the package works on. This format is used by autoconf for its --host, --target and --build options. For DJGPP the platform is usually i386-pc-msdosdjgpp. The CPU could be i486, i586 for Pentium-class CPUs or i686 for Pentium II-class CPUs.

The platform should be treated insensitively of case.

Descriptive Directives

DSM Header

The following fields comprise the DSM header:

This specifies the revision of this file, e.g.: 1, 0.1 - do not confuse this with dsm-version. This allows the user to check for new versions of a package's DSM file.
DSM format version number, e.g.: 0.6.1, the version of this specification.
DSM name = file name without extension. Usually this should be the same as manifest. Often it is an error, when this is not the case.

The following fields comprise the DSM author information header:

DSM author's name
DSM author's e-mail address
DSM author's instant messaging details, e.g for ICQ
DSM author's web site
DSM author's FTP site

These fields are needed because the DSM may not have been written by the person(s) who made the package.

Information Directives

The following fields give more detailed information about the package itself. The version information is particularly important.

In the binaries-dsm, source-dsm and documentation-dsm fields below, it is not necessary that the version for those packages will be the same as for this package, i.e.: specified by version. binaries-dsm cannot appear in a DSM for a binaries package; sources-dsm cannot appear in a DSM for a sources package; documentation-dsm cannot appear in a DSM for a documentation package.

This specifies the package name, which cannot contain whitespace. Instead use hyphens or underscores. The package name should be treated insensitively of case.
Version number

In previous versions of the DSM specification, this was called dsm-type. dsm-type should not be used. The type should be treated insensitively of case.

The different package types are defined as follows:

The package primarily contains executable programs.
The package primarily contains source code.
The package primarily contains documentation.
The DSM refers to a collection of related packages. This is so that, for example, the whole of GNU emacs could be installed by referring to its group DSM. A group package is, in a way, a meta-package. A group package is implemented by using the requires directive.
A virtual package refers to facilities that are outside the domain of a package manager, e.g.: there could be a virtual package for Microsoft Windows. A virtual package is implemented by using the provides directive.

Manifest, .mft, file name without extension. Usually this should be the same as dsm-name. Often it is an error, when this is not the case.
Binaries DSM name, file name without extension
Sources DSM name, file name without extension
Documentation DSM name, file name without extension
One line of text
Multiple lines of text
Package's license, e.g.: GNU General Public License, BSD License
e.g.: FSF
Author's name for this package
Author's e-mail address
Author's instant messaging details, e.g.: for ICQ
Home page for the package or author - this should give the complete URL, e.g.:
Download site of the package or author - this should give the complete URL, e.g.:
Maintainer's name
Maintainer's e-mail address
Maintainer's instant messaging details, e.g.: for ICQ
Maintainer's home page
Maintainer's FTP site
Porter's name
Porter's e-mail address
Porter's instant messaging details, e.g.: for ICQ
Porter's home page, with complete URL.
Porter's download site, with complete URL.
Home page for the port, with complete URL.
Download site for the port, with complete URL.
Mailing list's e-mail address
Description of the Mailing list
E-mail address to which request subscription requests should be sent. Details for how to use this should be on the mailing list's web site.
Mailing list administrator's name
Mailing list administrator's e-mail address
Mailing list administrator's instant messaging details, e.g.: for ICQ
Mailing list home page, with complete URL - this should contain details of how to join the list.
Mailing list download site, with complete URL.
Newsgroup for the package
Description of the newsgroup
This is an e-mail address to send newsgroup items to. The e-mail will be converted into a newsgroup posting. An example for DJGPP is
Newsgroup administrator's name
Newsgroup administrator's e-mail address
Newsgroup administrator's instant messaging details, e.g.: for ICQ
Newsgroup home page, with complete URL.
Newsgroup download site, with complete URL.

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Installion & Dependency Directives

Package Archive Information

This is the location of the package's archive in the DJGPP FTP structure, e.g.: v2tk/. This is for automatic FTP or HTTP downloading by the package manager. The trailing slash is optional.
This specifies the archive file names in preferred order of installation. The file extension must be .zip and must be present in this field.

.zip archives are created with PKZIP or a PKZIP-compatible archiver such as Info-ZIP.

This specifies the archive file names in preferred order of installation. The file extension must be one of .tgz, .taz or .tar.gz and must be present in this field.

.tar.gz archives are created with tar and the GNU zip program (gzip).

This specifies the archive file names in preferred order of installation. The file extension must be one of .tbz, .tbz2 or .tar.bz2 and must be present in this field.

.tar.bz2 archives are created with tar and bzip2.

This specifies the relative path in the archive to the changelog, for use by the package manager.
This specifies the relative path in the archive to "readme" file for pre-install information.
This specifies the relative path in the archive to "readme" file for post-install information.
This specifies the relative path in the archive to "readme" file for pre-uninstall information.
This specifies the relative path in the archive to "readme" file for post-uninstall information.
[Built-in scripting]
[Built-in scripting]
[Built-in scripting]
[Built-in scripting]

See Scripting, for a definition of the built-in scripting language.

[File name, extracted from zip/tgz]
[File name]
[File name]
[File name]

The script files can be in any scripting language, so long as the scripting host can be invoked by DOS programs. If this is not the case, then any DOS package manager will fail to install/uninstall. A requires directive should be used to ensure that the script can be run.

keep-file can be used to specify files that should not be overwritten on installation or removed on uninstall. E.g.:
keep-file: share/prog.cfg
If the archive isn't structured to fit into the DJGPP tree, then a prefix can be specified to cope with this; e.g.: if all the files are in the directory demopkg/ in the archive, the prefix could be contrib/ to put them into contrib/demopkg/ off the DJGPP directory. prefix should be a relative path. The trailing slash is optional.


<Operator> can be any of the C operators ==, <=, >=, !=, <, >. Omission of <Operator> implies an equality test. Omission of <Operator> and <Version> implies any version of the package. The version may contain the special wildcard characters ? and * (see Dependencies and Package Versions).

A package does not automatically clash with other versions of itself.

<Package> [[<Operator>] <Version>]
or <Feature> [[<Operator>] [<Version>]][: <Qualifier>]
<Package> [[<Operator>] <Version>]
or <Feature> [[<Operator>] [<Version>]][: <Qualifier>]
<Package> [[<Operator>] <Version>]
or <Feature> [[<Operator>] [<Version>]][: <Qualifier>]
<Package> [[<Operator>] <Version>]

depends-on has a different emphasis than requires. A package requires another to function at all. If it depends-on then some of its functionality may not be available. Version comparisons are described in the section "Dependencies and Package Versions" (see Dependencies and Package Versions).

duplicate-action should be treated insensitively of case.


The default duplicate-action will depend on the installation utility.

<Feature> [[<Operator>] [<Version>]][: <Qualifier>]

The provides directive is used to indicate the provision of certain features by the package. These can then be used in the requires, depends-on and conflicts-with dependencies above. Virtual packages can use provides to indicate features that are available by default, e.g.: the DPMI 0.9 support provided by Windows DOS boxes.

The feature name is like a package name, and so cannot contain whitespace - please use hyphens or underscores instead. The feature name should be treated insensitively of case.

If the package provides only certain parts of a standard, e.g.: CWSDPMI's support of some DPMI 1.0 function calls, then the optional qualifier can be used to indicate these. It is suggested that these take the form of function 0x0501 or function gethostbyname_r(). Acronyms should be written in uppercase. See Standard Provisions, for the 'provides' defined so far. The use of feature qualifiers should be co-ordinated by incorporation into this specification.

Qualifiers should be treated insensitively of case.

<Package> [[<Operator>] <Version>]
<Package> [[<Operator>] <Version>]

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Dependencies and Package Versions

To check that dependencies are satisfied, the package versions specified in the dependencies need to be checked carefully.

Precedence in Comparing Package Versions

Here are the precedence rules for the "special" components of a version:

alpha < (normal)
beta  < (normal)
pre   < (normal)

Above (normal) refers to a version without alpha, beta or pre.

(normal) < revision
(normal) < patchlevel
(normal) < snapshot
(normal) < release

Above (normal) refers to a version without a revision, patchlevel, snapshot or release.

Wildcards in Package Versions

The ? wildcard character can be used to match a specific component of the version. For example, 4.? will exactly match 4.0, 4.1, etc. It will not exactly match 4.

The * wildcard character can be used to match any component and any lower components. For example, 4.* will exactly match 4.0, 4.0.1,, etc. It will not exactly match 4.

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DSM File Structure

It is recommended that the DSM's author writes their name and contact details at the start of each DSM as a comment, in addition to the dsm-author, etc. fields.

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Required Fields

This is only needed if it's a binaries, documentation or sources package that is actually in (or will be in) the Simtelnet archive.
zip or tar-gzip
This is only needed if it's a binaries, documentation or sources package.

Any known requires, depends-on, replaces, install-before or install-after dependencies are also required.

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Multiply-Allowed Directives

The following directives are allowed multiply:




An example is the case where a package has multiple authors:

author: Fred Bloggs
author: Ed Wiggins

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The built-in scripting language isn't intended for complex operations. For that, external scripting should be used. The following commands are supported in the builtin-pre-install-script, builtin-post-install-script, builtin-pre-uninstall-script and builtin-post-uninstall-script directives.


This displays/outputs Arguments. This could be used to remind the user to read the fine manual.

<Program> <Arguments>

This executes Program by passing Arguments to it. This could be used to run install-info - See Invoking install-info.

Here is a simple example:

builtin-post-install-script: command: echo Hello Mum!

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Standard Provisions

The following provisions are defined in the DSM specification, so that packages have a standard way of requiring the features.

This denotes DJGPP 2.03's support of using /dev/env-style paths (see Changes in 2.03).
DPMI 0.9
DPMI 1.0
DPMI 1.0: function 0x0506
DPMI 1.0: function 0x0507
DPMI 1.0: function 0x0508
DPMI 1.0: function 0x0509
DPMI 1.0: function 0x0E01
This denotes ability to read documentation in info format.
This denotes the Windows '95 Long FileName API for DOS boxes.
This denotes a program capable of displaying HTML pages.

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Version 0.6.1

Version 0.6.0

Version 0.5.1

Version 0.5.0

Version 0.4.4

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GNU Free Documentation License

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Concept Index

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Variable Index

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