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This document covers the Open Build Service command line tool and API which are both called osc.


osc is written in Python, and in addition to the command-line interface, it also provides a Python module for use by other Python programs.

osc is a client with a command-line interface and network behavior in the style of Subversion. It serves as client for the source code repository component of the Build Service, and it is used to edit metadata or query about build results.

Downloading and installing

osc is included in recent versions of the openSUSE Linux distribution. Just run

sudo zypper in osc

to get hold of it. Newer versions, if you really deem it necessary, may be found at openSUSE tools repository, where there are also packages for various other distributions (SLES, Fedora, Mandriva, Debian, etc.). If you want to check out even more recent code, you can do so with Git:

git clone git://

For osc to work, python-xml is required and if it is not already pulled in by way of zypper (such as when going the git route directly) , you may need to install it afterward.

Fur building packages locally, install

 sudo zypper in build rpm-build quilt



You need an openSUSE account for It is the same account for all this sites:

If you already have an account for one of these sites, you can use it. If not, you need to create one by clicking on Sign Up or in the idp-portal.

osc will ask you for your credentials when you use it for the first time, and will store them in ~/.config/osc/oscrc. The password is stored in plain text. Protect your ~/.config/osc/oscrc file and your filesystem appropriately. (In older versions it was stored in ~/.oscrc)

Since version 0.122, osc has acquired support for generic python-keyring lib (it supports KWallet, Gnome keyring, MacOS and Windows) and been able to store passwords in keyrings instead of ~/.config/osc/oscrc.
python-keyring should be already provided by openSUSE and installed along with osc (it is recommended by osc rpm package), otherwise you might manually install it (better before first time running osc) or add a suitable repository before installing osc package.
If you want to use the keyring, and you are already an osc user, you will need to delete your credentials section from ~/.config/osc/oscrc. Next time you run osc you will be asked for credentials again.
But, before that, you might have to uncomment the line #use_keyring = 1 in file ~/.config/osc/oscrc [general] section (depending from your osc version).

There have been reports that with python-keyring and the changes above in the ~/.config/osc/oscrc the authentication with Gnome keyring is not working. In such cases it helped to uninstall python-keyring and add solely the line gnome_keyring=1 instead of keyring=1 to the server section.

Recommended starter configuration

If you are new using osc, try this configuration.

Edit the file ~/.config/osc/oscrc, find, uncomment and set this values:

# compile with N jobs (default: "getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN")
build-jobs = 2
# extra packages to install when building packages locally (osc build)
# this corresponds to osc build's -x option and can be overridden with that
# -x  can also be given on the command line to override this setting, or
# you can have an empty setting here.
extra-pkgs = gdb less mc strace tmux tree unzip vim
user = your_user
pass = your-password
email =
aliases = obs

Edit your ~/.bashrc, add as the last line:


Edit your ~/.alias (this file may not exist, simply create it), add these aliases:

alias oscb="osc build --ccache"
alias oscsd="osc service runall download_files"

Usage examples

Introductory usage examples are shown below. Note the Build Service Tutorial, which gives a more systematic introduction.

Show usage info on a command

osc help
osc help <cmd>

List existing content on the server

osc ls                          # list projects
osc ls Apache                   # list packages in a project
osc ls Apache subversion        # list files of package of a project

Check out content

osc co Apache                   # entire project
osc co Apache subversion        # a package
osc co Apache subversion foo    # single file

Update a working directory

osc up
osc up <directory>
osc up *                        # from within a project dir, update all packages
osc up                          # from within a project dir, update all packages
                                  AND check out all newly added packages

Upload changed content

osc ci                          # current dir
osc ci <file1> <file2>          # only specific files
osc ci <dir1> <dir2> ...        # multiple packages
osc ci -m "updated foobar"      # specify a commit message

See the commit log

osc log 

Show the status (which files have been changed locally)

osc st
osc st <directory>

If an update cannot be merged automatically, a file is in 'C' (conflict) state, and conflicts are marked with special <<<<<<< and >>>>>>> lines. After manually resolving the problem, use

osc resolved <file>

Mark files to be added or removed on the next 'checkin'

osc add foo
osc rm foo

Add all new files in local copy and removes all disappeared files.

osc addremove

Generate a diff to view the changes

osc diff [file]

Show the build results of the package

osc results
osc results <platform>

Show the log file of a package (you need to be inside a package directory)

osc buildlog <platform> <arch>

Show the URLs of .repo files which are packages sources for Yum/YaST/smart

osc repourls [dir]

Trigger a package rebuild for all repositories/architectures of a package

osc rebuildpac [dir]

Build a package on your local platform

osc build <platform> <arch> <specfile> [--clean|--noinit|...]

Show the configured platforms/build targets.

osc platforms [project]

Show the possible build targets for your project.

osc repos

Show meta information

osc meta prj <project>
osc meta pkg <project> <package>
osc meta user <username>
osc meta prjconf <project>

Edit meta information. Creates new package/project if it doesn't exist. It will open an Editor with the raw XML metadata. If unsure about XML, you can use the web client instead.

osc meta prj -e <project>
osc meta pkg -e <project> <package>
osc meta prjconf -e <project>

(The project configuration (prjconf) may well be empty. It is needed in special cases only.)

Update package meta data with metadata taken from spec file

osc updatepacmetafromspec <dir>

Download files referenced via source URL in the specfile.

osc service runall download_files

Package tracking

With osc it is also possible to manage packages in a svn like way. This feature is called package tracking and has to be enabled in ~/.oscrc's [general] section

# manage your packages in a svn like way
do_package_tracking = 1

Add a new package to a project

osc mkpac <package>

Add an already existing directory and its files to a project

osc add <directory>

Remove a package and its files from a project

osc deletepac <package>

All the commands above only change your local working copy. To submit your changes to the buildservice you have to commit them (osc ci -m <message>).

The status command also displays the state of the packages

osc st


Besides a manual page for osc, a cheat sheet is available as well.

How to fix a none factory package?

Check out the package of your choice:

osc -A bco SUSE:SLE-11-SP2:GA <package name>

Fix it and after you have verified that the package builds submit it:

osc commit <package name>

Extending osc via plugins

osc is extensible. You can modify the behavior or write your own commands. See openSUSE:OSC plugins for more information.

Configuration migration

Version 0.114 got some cleanups for the configfile handling and therefore some options are now deprecated, namely:

  • apisrv
  • scheme

One new option was added:

  • apiurl = <protocol>://<somehost> # use this as the default apiurl. If this option isn't specified the default ( is used.

So far osc still has some backward compatibility for these options but it might get removed in the future that's why it issues a deprecation warning in case one of those options is still in use. The new configuration scheme looks like the following:

# entry for an apiurl
user = <username>
password = <password>

Before starting the migration please save your ~/.oscrc file!

If the migration doesn't work for whatever reason feel free to send me an email or ask on the opensuse-buildservice mailinglist or in the #opensuse-buildservice irc channel.

Migration case I (apisrv only)

The apisrv option is used to specify the default apihost. If apisrv isn't specified at all the default ("") is used. The current [general] section looks like this:

apisrv = <somehost>
# or
apisrv = <protocol>://<somehost>

apisrv got superseded by the new apiurl option which looks like this:

apiurl = <protocol>://<somehost>

If apisrv has no "<protocol>" https is used. Make sure all apiurl sections have the new format which is described above. Afterwards apisrv can be removed.

Migration case II (scheme only)

The current [general] section looks like this:

scheme = <protocol>

This means every apiurl section which don't have the new format which is described above for instance

user = <username>
password = <password>

has to be converted to

user = <username>
password = <password>

Afterwards the scheme option can be removed from the [general] section (it might be the case that some sections already have the correct format).

Migration case III (apisrv and scheme)

The current [general] section looks like this:

apisrv = <somehost>
scheme = <protocol>

Both options can be removed if all apiurl sections have the new format which is described above. So basically just adjust all apiurl sections (it might be the case that some sections already have the correct format).

osc build with xen

You'll need to have xen packages and xen kernel installed and booted to proceed. To activate local builds with xen, you'll have to add these lines to section [general] of your ~/.oscrc:


Then create the 2 files:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/FILE.root bs=1M count=4096  # 4GB partition for / . On big projects 8GB should be used.
mkfs.ext3 /tmp/FILE.root                            # Hit (y) if it complains about the file not being a device node.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/FILE.swap bs=1M count=512   # use other sizes as needed
mkswap /tmp/FILE.swap

If you change the size or filesystem type of the files you may also need to update the build-vmdisk-* options.

If you want to use the cross-compilation feature, you'll have to add to your /etc/sysconfig/kernel:

  • binfmt_misc to INITRD_MODULES
  • binfmt_misc to DOMU_INITRD_MODULES
  • binfmt_misc to MODULES_LOADED_ON_BOOT

Recreate the initrd's with dracut.

Run osc build.

Configuration cheatsheet for ~/.config/osc/oscrc (in older versions ~/.oscrc)

The [general] section


# Downloaded packages are cached here. Must be writable by you.
# default:
packagecachedir = /var/tmp/osbuild-packagecache
# rootdir to setup the chroot environment
# can contain %(repo)s and/or %(arch)s for replacement
# /<path>/%(repo)s-%(arch)s-%(project)s-%(package)s
# default:
build-root = /var/tmp/build-root/

API communication:

# use this API server (hostname[:port])
# (it needs a section [] with the credentials)
# default:
apisrv =
# use this protocol to access the API server (http or https)
# default:
scheme = https

API host:

# API hosts can be referenced by aliases, e.g. 'osc -A alias ...'
# List aliases for API hosts under the API host section.
# user=jdoe
# aliases=

Local build:

# Wrapper to call build as root (sudo, su -, ...)
# default:
su-wrapper = su -c
# no password required with:
#su-wrapper = sudo
#with entry in sudoers file:
# <username> ALL = NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/build
# For convenience/debugging, osc adds internally vim gdb strace to
# the packages installed in the build chroot if extra-pkgs is not set to:
# build type - possibe values:
#  * empty -> chroot
#  * xen -> xen VM
#  * kvm -> kvm VM (testing needed)
# default: not set/chroot
# build-device - root filesystem to use for VM
# default: not set
# build-swap - swap filesystem to use for VM
# default: not set
# build-memory - amount of memory for VM
# default: not set

Debian and Ubuntu Setup

Although osc is packaged in the default repository for Debian and ubuntu, it's recommended to add the openSUSE:Tools repository. This repository contains the obs services which are not present in the default Debian and ubuntu repositories.

Adding the openSUSE:Tools repo

We first need to get the signing GPG key for the repository. You can download it at

If, for example the downloaded key is in ~/Downloads/openSUSE_Tools.gpg, run

sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/openSUSE_Tools.gpg ~/Downloads/openSUSE_Tools.gpg

We can now create a file (as root) /etc/apt/sources.list.d/openBuildService.list and place in it:

For Debian Bookworm:

deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/openSUSE_Tools.gpg] ./

For Ubuntu 22.10:

deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/openSUSE_Tools.gpg] ./

If you look at the repo URL and cross-reference it with the repo targets at, you can work out how to get the packages for many different versions of ubuntu and Debian.

Finally we run (as root)

apt update

to tell apt about our new repository source.

Installing and Setup

You can install osc by running (as root):

sudo apt install osc

osc build might fail to run, complaining about a missing This seems to happen if you don't use the openSUSE:Tools version. We can fix this by setting an environment variable:

export PERL5LIB=/usr/lib/obs-build

When that command is run, building should work as normal. You can add it to your .bashrc if you want it to persist across shell sessions.

Contributing: bug reports, development etc.

Development happens at:

Please file new issues at: