AIX, Opensource and me PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michael Felt   

The early years

One of my hobbies is packaging opensource software for AIX. This goes back about a decade when I started out doing this as an optional exercise for AIX training classes. More or less parallel with the release of AIX 4.3.2 and 4.3.3 and the start of project Monteray that brought lots of involvement from IBM around the topic of Linux and affinity (read portability) between AIX and Linux.

The next chapter (two) in this hobby began when I took over as webmaster for and was faced with back porting apache and php from AIX 5.2 to AIX 4.3.3 so that I could use a CMS (content management system) rather than the original flat-file system initially developed by Eric Kluit  (between 2004 and 2103 was hosted on AIX 4.3.3).

Some programs are a snap. Run ./configure; make; make install and you are done. Some programs are more difficult. PHP falls into the difficult category - partly because of the way they seem to be quickly adding/adopting gcc-only features into the code base, but just as often - and more difficult to resolve - are dependancies on libtool versions that are not quite ready for AIX. Some projects are just hard to communicate with.< /p>

Another problem I had for a long time was the install part. I seemed to have one of two choices: use what others had done in rpm packages, or package myself and install with "make install". The advantage of using the rpm's is that the packaging is already done and they could be deinstalled. However, there is still the issue of RPM dependancies.

Making my own solved a lot of the dependancy issues - only build/package exactly what you need - but I did not like that I could not uninstall (easily) the packages.

Chapter 3 and Chatper 4

Two chapters in one: yes, with Chapter 3 being learning the basics and Chapter 4 being making it public. The controlling idea: mkinstallp.

In 2009 I started experimenting with the AIX command mkinstallp. I choose installp format because - imho - installp works better with NIM than RPM. Both installp and rpm formats are supported (as well as a third, little used, format) - but that does not make them equal.

In this period, calling it chapter 3 of my hobby, I wrote some customized scripts that although difficult to use, could create an installp package. A NAS disk failure in late 2010 - AND - Murphy's law reminding me the danger of the command rm -rf . without verifying pwd first (:blush:, yes, . was / this time!) meant my meager scripts were lost. The end of Chapter 3!

Last year I started again. After a few emails with the apache httpd developers I decided (read was challanged) to redo my mkinstallp scripts and submit them to the httpd project to help standardize the builds of httpd for AIX. (so Chapter 4 is characterized as submitting something!). There was already something for Solaris in build/pkg so I put mine in build/aix and named it ./build/aix/buildaix.ksh.

Once this was working I generalized the project more and submitted it to sourceforge. You can find it there as "buildaix"

Chapter 5

Today basically, I am testing buildaix - trying to make it a better and verifying that it works regardless of the compiler you choose (gcc or IBM xlc/vac) and based on the compiler help with setting default FLAGS that should make more projects work, i.e. build and package, immediately. Things I have packaged using buildaix you can find at

Days to come

Before tackling PHP again I need to get a database that is supported, or that I can support. Oracle has withdwrawn support and downloads for MYSQL for modern AIX (i.e., I think the old downloads from pre-Oracle are still available) and postgresql and Joomla are not rock-solid I am working on getting mariadb working on AIX.

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