Handling templates

Templates are based on Jinja2 and usually end with .spec.j2 .


There are a lot of examples available in the openstack/rpm-packaging project.

Rendering a template called example.spec.j2 can be done with:

renderspec example.spec.j2

This will output the rendered spec to stdout.

Different styles

Different distributions have different spec file styles (i.e. different naming policies and different epoch handling policies). renderspec automatically detects which distibution is used and uses that style. Forcing a specific style can be done with:

renderspec --spec-style suse example.spec.j2

Different pyver variants

For singlespec variant spec.j2 templates (i.e. templates that can build for multiple python flavors in parallel) it might be undesirable to expand requirements for a particular python flavor. In that case the option –skip-pyversion can be used to skip expansion for those dependencies:

renderspec –skip-pyversion py3 example.spec.j2

For CentOS 7.x hosts renderspec defaults to skipping the py3 expansion.

Different template formats

The only supported input template format is currently called spec.j2 (which is the default).

Handling epochs

Different distributions may have different epochs for different packages. This is handled with an extra epoch file which must be in yaml format. Here’s an example of a epoch file called epochs.yaml:

    python-dateutil: 3
    oslo.config: 2

Rendering the example.spec.j2 file and also use the epochs can be done with:

renderspec --epochs epochs.yaml example.spec.j2

The `Epoch:` field in the spec.j2 file itself can be handled with the `epoch()` context function like this:

Epoch: {{  epoch('oslo.config') }}

This will add the epoch number from the yaml file or 0 in case there is no epoch file or the given name in not available in the yaml file.


if no epoch file is available, no epochs are added to the version numbers. The epoch file is optional. If a package name is not in the epochs file, epoch for that package is not used.

Handling requirements

Updating versions for Requires and BuildRequires takes a lot of time. renderspec has the ability to insert versions from a given global-requirements.txt file. The file must contain lines following PEP0508


For OpenStack, the global-requirements.txt can be used.

To render a example.spec.j2 file with a given requirements file, do:

renderspec --requirements global-requirements.txt example.spec.j2

It’s also possible to use multiple requirements file. The last mentioned file has the highest priority in case both files contain requirements for the same package name. Using multiple files looks like this:

renderspec --requirements global-requirements.txt \
    --requirements custom-requirements.txt \

Handling the package version

Distributions handle versions, especially pre-release versions differently. SUSE for example allows using RPM’s tilde (‘~) while Fedora doesn’t allow that and uses a combination of RPM Version and Release tag to express pre-releases. To support both styles with renderspec, the upstream version and a release must be available in the context:

{% set upstream_version = upstream_version('') %}
{% set rpm_release = '1' %}

This should be done on the first lines in the spec.j2 template. The rpm_release is only used in the fedora style. Then for the RPM version and release, use:

Version: {{ py2rpmversion() }}
Release: {{ py2rpmrelease() }}

For suse-style, this renders to:

Release: 0

For fedora-style, this renders to:

Version: 1.2.3
Release: 0.1.0rc1%{?dist}

Note that in case of pre-releases you may need to adjust the version that is used in the Source tag and the %prep sections %setup. So use e.g.

{% set upstream_version = upstream_version('') %}
{% set rpm_release = '1' %}
{% set source = url_pypi() %}
%name oslo.config
Version: {{ py2rpmversion() }}
Release: {{ py2rpmrelease() }}
Source0: {{ source }}
%setup -q -n %{sname}-{{upstream_version}}

which would render (with suse-style) to:

%name oslo.config
Release: 0
Source0: https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/source/o/%{sname}/%{sname}-1.2.3rc1.tar.gz
%setup -q -n %{sname}-

The upstream_version can also be automatically detected from archive files (like sdist archives available from pypi) which contain a valid PKG-INFO file. For automatic version detection, the context need to know the pypi_name and a archive file must be available and the context variable upstream_version needs to be set to the value of the context function upstream_version(). The difference here is that the version in upstream_version() is not explicit given. The archive can be fetched with the fetch_source() function:

{% set source = fetch_source('http://tarballs.openstack.org/oslo.config/oslo.config-master.tar.gz') %}
{% set pypi_name = 'oslo.config' %}
{% set upstream_version = upstream_version() %}
{% set rpm_release = '1' %}

Version: {{ py2rpmversion() }}
Release: {{ py2rpmrelease() }}
Source0: {{ source }}

Template features

Templates are just plain Jinja2 templates. So all magic (i.e. filters) from Jinja can be used in the templates. Beside the Jinja provided features, there are some extra features renderspec adds to the template context.

context function py2name

py2name is used to translate a given pypi name to a package name following the different distribution specific guidelines.


For translating pypi names (the name a python package has on pypi.python.org to distro specific names, internally a module called pymod2pkg is used.

The preferred way to use py2name is to set the context variable pypi_name and then call py2name() without any parameters. In that case, the context variable is used:

{% set pypi_name = 'oslo.config' %}
Name: {{ py2name() }}

Rendering this template renderspec with the suse style would result in:

Name: python-oslo.config

It is also possible to pass the pypi name directly to the py2name context function:

Name: {{ py2name('oslo.config') }}

That would create the same rendering result. If the context env var pypi_name is set and py2name is called with a parameter, the parameter is used instead of the context var.

Since pymod2pkg 0.10.0, there is the possibility to get a name for a specific python version. Currently there are 3 values

  • py: this is the unversioned name

  • py2: this is the python2 name

  • py3: this is the python3 name

This can also be used with py2name():

Name: {{ py2name('oslo.config', py_versions='py3') }}

Rendering this template renderspec with the suse style would result in:

Name: python3-oslo.config

context function py2pkg

py2pkg is used to

  • translate the given pypi name to a distro specific name

  • handle epochs and version

For example, a BuildRequires in a spec.j2 template for the package oslo.config in version >= 3.4.0 would be defined as:

BuildRequires:  {{ py2pkg('oslo.config', ('>=', '3.4.0')) }}

Rendering this template with renderspec with the suse style would result in:

BuildRequires:  python-oslo.config >= 3.4.0

Rendering it with the fedora style would be:

BuildRequires:  python-oslo-config >= 3.4.0

With an epoch file and an entry for oslo.config set to i.e. 2, this would be rendered on Fedora to:

BuildRequires:  python-oslo-config >= 2:3.4.0

It’s also possible to skip adding required versions and handle that with a global-requirements.txt file. Given that this file contains oslo.config>=4.3.0 and rendering with –requirements, the rendered spec would contain:

BuildRequires:  python-oslo-config >= 4.3.0

The translation for a specific python version can be done with the py_versions parameter similar to py2name()``:

BuildRequires:  {{ py2pkg('oslo.config', ('>=', '3.4.0'), py_versions='py3') }}

renders to:

BuildRequires:  python3-oslo-config >= 2:3.4.0

Multiple versions are also possible:

BuildRequires:  {{ py2pkg('oslo.config', ('>=', '3.4.0'), py_versions=['py2', 'py3']) }}

renders to:

BuildRequires: python2-oslo-config >= 2:3.4.0 python3-oslo-config >= 2:3.4.0

context function py2

Similar to py2pkg but uses a py_versions set to py2

context function py3

Similar to py2pkg but uses a py_versions set to py3.

context function epoch

The epochs are stored in a yaml file. Using the epoch context function can be done with:

Epoch: {{ epoch('oslo.config') }}

Without an yaml file, this would be rendered to:

Epoch: 0

With an existing yaml (and oslo.config epoch set to 2), this would be rendered to:

Epoch: 2

context function license

The templates use SPDX license names and theses names are translated for different distros. For example, a project uses the Apache-2.0 license:

License: {{ license('Apache-2.0') }}

With the fedora spec-style, this would be rendered to:

License: ASL 2.0

With the suse spec-style:

License: Apache-2.0

context function upstream_version

This function can be used to assign a static version to the variable upstream_version or to dynamically detect the version from a archive (eg. an sdist tarball). Static assignment looks like:

{% set upstream_version = upstream_version('1.1.0a3') %}

which is basically the same as:

{% set upstream_version = '1.1.0a3' %}

So static assignment is not that useful. Dynamic assignment looks like:

{% set pypi_name = 'oslo.config' %}
{% set upstream_version = upstream_version() %}

Note that for dynamic version detection, the variable pypi_name needs to be set before calling upstream_version(). upstream_version() tries to find an archive in:

  1. the output directory where the rendered .spec file ends

  2. the directory where the .spec.j2 template comes from

  3. the current working directory

context function py2rpmversion

Python has a semantic version schema (see PEP0440) and converting Python versions to RPM compatible versions is needed in some cases. For example, in the Python world the version “1.1.0a3” is lower than “1.1.0” but for RPM the version is higher. To transform a Python version to a RPM compatible version, use:

{% set upstream_version = '1.1.0a3' %}
{% set rpm_release = '1' %}

Version: {{ py2rpmversion() }}

With the suse spec-style it will be translated to:

Version: 1.1.0~xalpha3

Note that you need to set 2 context variables (upstream_version and rpm_release) to be able to use the py2rpmversion() function.

context function py2rpmrelease

Fedora doesn’t allow the usage of ~ (tilde) in the Version tag. So for pre-releases the Release tag is used (see Fedora Packaging Versioning) For the fedora-style:

{% set upstream_version = '1.1.0a3' %}
{% set rpm_release = '1' %}

Version: {{ py2rpmversion() }}
Release: {{ py2rpmrelease() }}

this would render to:

Version: 1.1.0
Release: 0.1a3%{?dist}

Note that you need to set 2 context variables (upstream_version and rpm_release) to be able to use the py2rpmrelease() function.

context function fetch_source

The function fetch_source downloads the given url and puts the file into the output_dir (that’s the directory where the rendered .spec file will be in). If output_dir is not available (that’s the case when renderspec writes the rendered spec to stdout) the download is skipped. But in any case the function returns the same url that it got as parameter:

{% set source = fetch_source('http://tarballs.openstack.org/oslo.log/oslo.log-master.tar.gz') %}
Source0: {{ source }}

context function url_pypi

The function url_pypi return a full url to a sdist tar.gz tarball on pypi. The function requires the contect variables upstream_version and pypi_name. For example:

{% set pypi_name = 'oslo.concurrency' %}
{% set upstream_version = upstream_version('3.20.0') %}
{% set source = fetch_source(url_pypi()) %}

context filter basename

This is a filter which just returns `os.path.basename()`:

{% set source = fetch_source('http://tarballs.openstack.org/oslo.log/oslo.log-master.tar.gz') %}
Source0: {{ source|basename }}

which then renders to:

Source0: oslo.log-master.tar.gz

distribution specific blocks & child templates

To properly handle differences between individual .spec styles, renderspec contains child templates in renderspec/dist-templates which are automatically used with corresponding –spec-style. These allow different output for each spec style (distro) using jinja {% block %} syntax.

For example consider simple renderspec/dist-templates/fedora.spec.j2:

{% extends ".spec" %}
{% block build_requires %}
BuildRequires:  {{ py2pkg('setuptools') }}
{% endblock %}

allows following in a spec template:

{% block build_requires %}{% endblock %}

to render into:

BuildRequires:  python-setuptools

with fedora spec style, while renderspec/dist-templates/suse.spec.j2 might define other result for suse spec style.

For more information, see current renderspec/dist-templates and usage in openstack/rpm-packaging project.

Available context variables

There are some variables that need to be set in the spec.j2 template. Preferable at the beginning before any context function is used.


This variable defines the name that is used on pypi. Set with:

{% set pypi_name = 'oslo.messaging' %}

where ‘oslo.messaging’ is the name that is set. The variable can later be used:

Source: {{ pypi_name }}.tar.gz


The variable defines the upstream version that is used:

{% set upstream_version = '' %}


The variable defines the rpm release. It is used together with ‘upstream_version’ and only needed with the fedora spec style:

{% set rpm_release = '1' %}