openSUSE:Build Service FAQ

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What exactly is the Open Build Service?

The Open Build Service provides software developers with a tool to create and release their open source software for openSUSE and other Linux distributions easily on different hardware architectures and for a broad user audience.

Developers who want to provide their software to a broader audience of Linux users are often hampered when packages built for one distribution will not work on other distributions. The Open Build Service is the only open source build system that helps developers provide packages with the same high quality for multiple distributions from the same source code. With the system imaging tool KIWI, open source developers can more quickly build a Linux distribution that meets their needs, rigorously test it to ensure product quality, and easily package it for quick installation. Users can easily find the latest open source packages they are looking for and will be able in the future to build customized distributions.

The Open Build Service is completely open source, giving developers and users free and full access to build their choice of Linux packages, whether they are based on openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu or other projects.

Can anybody build packages with the Open Build Service?

Yes, anybody can build packages using the Open Build Service. Apply for an openSUSE account (same account as for editing the wiki) and go to to get started.

The web interface of the Open Build Service provides you a list of all projects, search functionality as well as some statistics, and the current status of the Open Build Service. You will also find help about the Open Build Service, a description of building packages, writing specification files as well as reporting a bug.

You can discuss the Open Build Service with us using the mailing list.

But bear in mind that the Open Build Service is a community support project. So please, if you plan to build packages, make sure

  • your package really adds something new to the community
  • you talk to people that are working on similar packages or topics
  • to rather help on existing packages than duplicating packages
  • you let people know about what you're doing to find other interested community members. Mailinglists are the right place to do that.

Always remember, regardless how much build power is added to the build service, it can be eaten up by not so usefull packages ;-)

Can the Open Build Service build package for other distributions ?

Yes, we currently support RPM and debian packages. Beside openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise, we do support Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and Mandriva distributions.

Can the Open Build Service build packages for Windows OS ?

Windows executables can be produced using a cross-compiler, such as the mingw suite. Because the build target most commonly still is a Linux distribution, the binaries still end up in a .rpm or .deb package.

Can I build my own distribution with the Open Build Service?

Kiwi, used by the Build Service, supports the generation of image files. openSUSE 11.2 was produced completely using the Build Service, including images. For an example of customising the distribution, look at the KDE:Medias project, which offers stable openSUSE updated with the most recent KDE release.

Why is the Open Build Service unique?

  • The OBS is completely under open source license (GPL).
  • The OBS makes building of packages very easy.
  • The OBS offers possibility to experiment.
  • It is the base to create a huge package collection.
  • It allows to build packages for various distributions
  • It provides an easy end user interface feature 1-Click Installations.
  • OBS is a developer platform by supporting alternative package versions (link to source link docu)
  • The OBS guarantees consistent builds of packages, this means it rebuilds all packages if a depended package did change.
  • The OBS makes package building a community effort. That means fun, fun, fun and divided pain ;-)

Can I install my own copy of the Open Build Service?

Yes, you can install it via RPM or appliance. See for more information.

Do I need to install openSUSE to build openSUSE packages?

No, the OBS instance is a web service that builds packages remotely and independent of your installed Linux version. That is the benefit - you do not need to install all the systems for which you want to build.

The Open Build Service is either used through a webinterface or a command line tool for the rookies called osc which is packaged for many distributions.

While the web interface gives you an easy to use interface to control your package on the server side, the osc command line tool allows you to build a package on your local system. It installs a build environment into a sub directory on your computer as a chroot for debugging the bulid. That is excellent to learn, experiment and test.