Interacting with the VectorLinux Buildbot

User interaction with the VectorLinux buildbot is mostly automated. The bot monitors the the source repository configured at the master. Any activity detected by the master will automatically trigger the bot to react accordingly. Any change on any application included in the manifest at the master will trigger that application to build.

Working with git

To many of us, git can be intimidating at the beginning, but you really dont need to know it inside out to be able to work with the bot. Here is what you do need to know.


When working with vabs git tree, avoid using the git gui. Use a terminal application instead. Get used to it. You’ll get a better understanding of how git and the vabs git tree work that way.

About the vabs git trees

Our buildbot is configured to monitor several VectorLinux releases as of this writing. Each release in represented with a separate git repository under the VLCore project at as follows

The contributor should clone the appropriate repository for the vector release they are trying to build the packages for.

Example (Submitting builds for vectorlinux 7.0)

This is a short outline of how to submit builds intended for vectorlinux 7.0. This short howto assumes you are working with a terminal application.

  • git clone

    This command downloads a copy of the remote vabs tree to your local directory.

  • Make your changes to the SlackBuild you want to have built by the bot.

  • git add <name_of_your.SlackBuild>

    This will add your change to the list of changes to be published.

  • git commit -m "Your summary of your changes here"

    This will save your changes to your local copy of the git tree. When commiting changes, use a descriptive commit message. This lets other contributors know what you by just glancing over the commit logs.

  • git push origin master

    This will publish your changes to remote git tree and trigger the build on the build slaves.


The git push command MUST include the name of the branch you are working with. The buildbot will only monitor changes to the master branch of each repository. Changes to all other branches are ignored.


If you are working with git over https (exactly as described here), the git push command will ask for your use name and password. If you checked out the git tree using ssh (requires ssh keys @ bitbucket), you will not be asked for credentials.


The procedure outlined above works for all monitored branches.

Forcing the bot to ignore your change

By default, the vlbuildbot system is monitoring every change made to the git tree, and reacts by executing the changed scripts. To have the bot igore a specific change, you can add the keyword !:nobuild anywhere on your commit message.

git commit -m 'This build will fail until deps are fixed !:nobuild

Interaction via the IRC bot.

It is also possible to interact with the bot via the IRCbot plugin. The IRC status plugin is currently available at the #vectorlinux-pkgs channel on freenode. The bot can take commands to force builds, and to check on any specific builders.


The IRC plugin for the buildbot is present on #vectorlinux-pkgs with nick vlbuildbot as of this writing.

IRC Bot Commands.

Here are some useful commands you can try with the IRC bot. All commands should be issued in the the following format. botname: <command> or botname, <command>

  • vlbuildbot: commands This will list all the available commands for the bot.
  • vlbuildbot: help <command> Displays additional help on <command>.
  • vlbuildbot: force build --vlrelease=veclinux-x.x <application> <reason_for_forcing_build> Trigger an un-scheduled build of <application>.

Build time dependencies (MAKEDEPENDS)

By default, the buildslave will fulfill the necesary dependencies to build the requested package as instructed in the MAKEDEPENDS variable of the build script. The default behaviour is to install these dependencies from binary packages in the existing repositories. If that fails, then it will build the required package (that failed to install from slapt-get) from source before continuing with the requested package. There is a special provision for cases where you may need to compile a group of packages from source (ie, when updating one package breaks others (ie, ffmpeg)). The way to do that is by listing all the packages in question in the MAKEDEPENDS list, and forcing the build via the IRC bot with a special argument as follows.

vlbuildbot: force build --vlrelease=veclinux-x.x --props=build-deps=TRUE <app> reason for build


The application name (ie, ‘htop’) will trigger a new build of the package for both architectures.


The build-deps property can only be applied to builds via the IRC bot or via an authorized session at the bots web interface.

Special Build Properties Provisions

The following build properties can be specified when forcing a build from the IRC interface.

  • build-deps=YES|TRUE|NO

    Makes the slave build the specified MAKEDEPENDS from source code.

  • metabuild=YES|TRUE|NO

    Sets the METABUILD environment variable in the build environment. This can then be read in the SlackBuild to help with the creation of metapackages.

To set these environment variables in the build slave, add the following syntax to the force build command:

--props=build-deps=YES metabuild=YES

Interaction via the web interface.

The web UI is not just informational. It also provides a way to force builds of specific builders.

  • Click on Builders.
  • Find the application you want to force and click it’s name.
  • Fill in the reason field on the page.
  • Click the Force Build button.


The Web UI is setup to NOT ALLOW forced builds by default. If you need to be able to trigger builds from the Web ui, contact the bot master administrator to get login credentials. The Force Build button may be hidden until you log in to the web ui with the credentials given by the bot master administrator.

There is also a Ping Builder button which will force a ‘refresh’ of the available Buildslaves for this particular builder.