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openSUSE:Packaging for Leap

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This article will give you a view from the contributor perspective on openSUSE Leap. Many of the concepts, commands to execute, people to talk to and so on are very similar to openSUSE Factory. It is recommended to use the How to Contribute to openSUSE Factory guide as a starting point, with this guide focusing on the differences specific to openSUSE Leap. This article will show that contribution to Leap is both easy and very welcome.

When can packages be submitted into Leap

In general, packages can only be added to an openSUSE Leap version during its development, not after its release. Any exceptions have to be approved and processed by the Maintenance team.

Packages that are already in openSUSE Factory will not automatically show up in Leap. Acceptance in Factory usually is a precondition though.

How do packages from SUSE Linux Enterprise get to openSUSE Leap?

openSUSE Leap 15.3+ is built on top of binary packages from SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 and community packages which are newly maintained as part of openSUSE Backports project. This required quite large effort to unify feature set within SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE Leap. This is being referred to as Closing the Leap Gap (CtLG) effort.

openSUSE Backports project was previously rebuilding sources from openSUSE Leap and providing binary rpms to users of SUSE Linux Enteprise via a Package Hub module. openSUSE Leap 15.3 is bringing Staging projects to openSUSE Backports and utilizes the project for development of its community packages. The very same rpms are then shipped to users of SUSE Linux Enterprise via Package Hub module, and eliminating need to build same sources twice.

Both sources and binaries from all packages in SUSE Linux Enterprise products (including Enterprise Storage, RT etc) are mirrored after build event from OBS to IBS unless they're explicitly Blacklisted from sync.

Source of truth for the Blacklist is internally maintained by SUSE's autobuild team, the wiki page is its manually updated copy. An Example of project containing binaries and sources synced from SLE-15-SP3:GA in SUSE's Internal OBS instance (IBS).

Packages from SUSE Linux Enterprise can receive contributions from community via submit request mirroring

How to add a new package to an openSUSE Leap release in development

Note that openSUSE Leap 15.0, 15.1, and 15.2 are now under maintenance. This section applies to openSUSE Leap 15.3

Leap is a stable release built by combining binary packages from SUSE Linux Enterprise and sources from openSUSE Tumbleweed. Packages from openSUSE Tumbleweed (also refereed to as Community packages) are new maintained inside openSUSE Backports project.

For people familiar with the Factory Development Model, Factory serves a purpose for Leap similar to the purpose a Devel Project serves for Factory.

By default new packages for Leap must either come from SLE or be accepted in Factory first.

Preferably new packages should be introduced on the opensuse-factory list with a link to the submit request. A good introduction contains information on the state of the upstream project, how maintainable it is and what the purpose of having it in the distribution will be.

Example of submitting from the Factory devel project to Leap 15.3+. Packages can be updated by sending submit request to openSUSE:Leap:15.3 which is den automatically redirected to proper origin (SLE or Backports) but a new package request has to be explicitly submitted against the intended destination project that will be in 99% openSUSE:Backports:SLE-15-SP3.

osc submitrequest -m 'Submitting Factory version of Salt for openSUSE Leap, see https://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse-factory/2015-07/msg00443.html ' systemsmanagement:saltstack/salt openSUSE:Backports:SLE-15-SP3

It's also possible to submit from Factory but that requires extra hacks:

osc submitrequest -m 'Submitting Salt for openSUSE Leap, see https://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse-factory/2015-07/msg00443.html ' openSUSE:Factory/salt openSUSE:Backports:SLE-15-SP3

New packages should be submitted directly into openSUSE:Leap:15.3 project only in following cases:

  • -branding packages, we have to rebuild these explicitly for Leap
  • if we need to override package otherwise inherited from SUSE Linux Enteprise.
  • non-SLE Kernel Module packages (KMP) The current openSUSE:Backports setup does not allow to build KMPs so they have to be maintained and build inside openSUSE:Leap:15.3 project.

New packages can be submitted to SUSE Linux Enterprise projects (e.g. SUSE:SLE-15-SP3:GA) only in case of approved feature request. We expect these SLE new package requests to be more likely corner cases, while upgrade requests will be quite common. Perhaps if we agreed with community that the initial effort will be done outside of SUSE, but we have an agreed internal maintainer to maintain future updates.

Because of bugs in OBS, ~/.oscrc must have submitrequest_on_accept_action unset, and there must be no --cleanup nor --no-cleanup specified on the osc command line. Otherwise, OBS would return a permission error.

If a package for Leap for whatever reason cannot be taken from either SLE or Factory the reason for that should be explained in the submit request.

How to upgrade a package in an openSUSE Leap release in development

All upgrade / updates requests should be sent against openSUSE:Leap:15.3 project. Submit request redirection will automatically redirect request to a project of the package origin (openSUSE:Backports*, SUSE:SLE*, or in very few cases openSUSE:Leap:15.3+). In case of SUSE:SLE submit request will have to be mirrored to SUSE's Internal OBS instance (IBS).

In general version updates of packages in minor Leap version upgrades are possible. The packager should carefully consider the pros and cons of such upgrades for the users though. Within a major version Leap is considered stable, so overly disruptive and incompatible changes are to be avoided.

After careful consideration of the pros and cons the same process as with new packages applies. I.e. packages must be accepted in Factory first.

All changes to packages from SUSE Linux Enterprise will require an issue reference. See openSUSE:Suse_sle_review_team.

How to add a new package to a released openSUSE Leap version

See Maintenance Portal and Maintenance submission.

Please be aware that packages which are inherited from SUSE Linux Enterprise will require to follow standard process for late/maintenance feature requests. You will need JIRA feature request and an additional ECO approval. This approval will be requested by TAM / Release manager for openSUSE and linked as blocking the underlying feature request.

Agreed differences from Factory

In some cases, we really want to maintain a separate code-stream of application in Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise e.g. staying with particular version of library or application, while Factory has already way newer version. Another case could be to keep a specific patch. Such cases should be tracked in this table. Ideally this table should be filled as part of agreement to have a divergence e.g. in SLE or Leap Feature requests.

Package name Difference Reasoning
Example Example Example
Example Example Example
Example Example Example


Development Information

Project Layout

openSUSE:Backports:SLE-15-SP4
all community maintained packages with free license for openSUSE Leap and Package Hub module for SLE in this project. [1]
openSUSE:Backports:SLE-15-SP4:Update
updates for all community maintained packages with free license for openSUSE Leap and Package Hub module for SLE in this project. [2]
openSUSE:Leap:15.4
Leap Branding packages, kernel modules and SLE packages that were agreed to be rebuilt for Leap [3]
openSUSE:Leap:15.4:NonFree
packages with non free licenses [4]
openSUSE:Leap:15.4:Update
Updates to Leap Branding packages, kernel modules and SLE packages that were agreed to be rebuilt for Leap[5]
openSUSE:Leap:15.4:NonFree:Updates
updates for packages with non free licenses [6]

openSUSE Leap consumes SLE binary packages and sources from following project structure. Individual Service packs inherit packages from older Service Packs. Unless certain package was not update since the original release of SLE-15 you would inherit it from SLE-15:GA. If there would be an update in Service Pack 3, we would inherit it from SLE-15-SP3:GA respective SLE-15-SP3:Update if it was a maintenance update post SLE 15 SP3 GA and so on.

Important is that update to these packages must end in respective project. You can use osc meta pkg to figure out origin of the package.

If the package comes from already unsupported Service Pack, then the update should be sent against the oldest supported one (SLE-15-SP2:Update) or to the currently developed Service Pack (SLE-15-SP4:GA) in case that the change is intrusive or doesn't generally make sense for older service packs. In such case you will want to specify project in osc submitreq manually and not rely on sr redirection.

SUSE:SLE-15:GA
Binary Packages and sources inherited from the very first release of SLE 15 [7]
SUSE:SLE-15:Update [8]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP1:GA [9]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP1:Update [10]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP2:GA [11]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP2:Update # Currently the oldest supported Service Pack [12]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP3:GA [13]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP3:Update [14]
SUSE:SLE-15-SP4:GA
Currently developed SLE 15 SP4 [15]

Upstream Projects

Many packages in openSUSE Leap 15.3 come from other projects, namely SUSE:SLE* and openSUSE:Backports. During the development phase release engineers may pull package updates from those. Users can use osc meta pkg openSUSE:Leap:15.3 $pkg to query origin for the package.

SUSE:SLE-15-*
SUSE Linux Enterprise sources and binaries: pulled automatically via source and binary sync from SUSE Internal OBS instance (IBS).
openSUSE:Factory
Factory package updates: pulled automatically until package freeze.

RPM Distro Version Macros

  • suse_version 1315 for the full time life of SLE12 and openSUSE:Leap:42.x
  • suse_version 1500 for the full time life of SLE15 and openSUSE:Leap:15.x
  • additionally is_opensuse 1 for openSUSE:Leap:* to mark agreed differences see SLE Feature identicality page

Important Update as of 2021: is_opensuse ideally notbe used only. To distinguish in between openSUSE Tumbleweed and SUSE Linux Enterprise check the presence of sle_version. openSUSE Leap 15.3+ should have the identical functionality as SUSE Linux Enterprise.

RPM macros for SLE 15, Leap 15, and Tumbleweed
SLE15:GA SLE15:SP1 SLE15:SP2 SLE15:SP3 Backports:SLE-15 Leap 15.0 Leap 15.1 Leap 15.2 Leap 15.3 Leap 15.4 Tumbleweed
suse_version 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1550¹
sle_version 150000 150100 150200 150300 150000³ 150000 150100 150200 150300 150400 undefined
is_opensuse undefined undefined undefined undefined 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
is_backports undefined undefined undefined undefined 1⁴ undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined
RPM macros for SLE 12 and Leap 42
SLE12:GA SLE12:SP1 SLE12:SP2 SLE12:SP3 SLE12:SP4 SLE12:SP5 Backports:SLE-12 Leap 42.1 Leap 42.2 Leap 42.3
suse_version 1315 1315 1315 1315 1315 1315 1315 1315 1315
sle_version 120000 120100 120200 120300 120400 120000³ 120100 120200 120300
is_opensuse undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined 1 1 1
leap_version² undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined 420200 420300
is_backports undefined undefined undefined undefined undefined 1⁴ undefined undefined undefined


  1. never rely on this version, it may change
  2. leap_version is deprecated, use is_opensuse and sle_version instead
  3. Backports:* projects inherit the %sle_version macro from the corresponding SLE release
  4.  %is_backports macro is set on all openSUSE:Backports:SLE-*-* projects

For cross distribution have a look here: openSUSE:Build_Service_cross_distribution_howto

Tips and Tricks

Package not checked in for weeks

Build failure in Staging:adi

All package submissions are built isolated in openSUSE:Leap:15.3:Staging:adi:<number> to make sure the submission is complete. Sometimes that fails due to different configurations in the devel project for example. Sometimes other packages need to be grouped into the same project. Talk to the release team if a package needs manual help there.

Factory review

The 15.3 submissions wait for the submission to Factory in order to pass reviews there. Sometimes leaf packages have to wait a long time due to low priority. If a Factory submission is stuck e.g. in legal review for too long and it affects 15.3 talk to the release team so they can adjust priorities.


suse-sle-review

openSUSE Leap 15.3+ is based on binary rpms from SUSE Linux Enteprise 15. Contribution to these packages requires additional review from openSUSE:Suse_sle_review_team.

All submissions should reference either SUSE's Jira feature reference jsc#OPENSUSE-123 or a bug reference boo#123456 or bsc#123456.

Community feature request process for SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE Leap is documented here =

Maintainer review

Packages submitted by someone other than the Factory package maintainer(s) have a review set to the devel project/package to ask for permission by the Factory package maintainer. If there's no reply for too long, try adding a comment in the request to get some attention or talk to the project maintainers directly.