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The X Binary Package System (or xbps) is the binary package system used by Void Linux. xbps was designed and implemented from scratch. Its goal is to be fast, easy to use, bug-free, featureful and portable as much as possible.



The XBPS code is totally compatible with POSIX/SUSv2/C99 standards, and released with a Simplified BSD license (2 clause). There is a well-documented API provided by the XBPS Library that is the basis for its frontends to handle binary packages and repositories. Some highlights:

  • Supports multiple local and remote repositories (HTTP/HTTPS/FTP).
  • RSA signed remote repositories
  • SHA256 hashes for package metadata, files and binary packages
  • Supports package states (ala dpkg) to mitigate broken package installs/updates
  • Ability to resume partial package install/updates
  • Ability to unpack only files that have been modified in package updates
  • Ability to use virtual packages
  • Ability to check for incompatible shared libraries in reverse dependencies
  • Ability to replace packages
  • Ability to put packages on hold (to never update them)
  • Ability to preserve/update configuration files
  • Ability to force reinstallation of any installed package
  • Ability to downgrade any installed package
  • Ability to execute pre/post install/remove/update scriptlets
  • Ability to check package integrity: missing files, hashes, missing or unresolved (reverse)dependencies, dangling or modified symlinks, etc.

Basic Usage

To install a single package or list of packages (including dependencies), issue the following command:

# xbps-install -S package_name1 package_name2 ...

To search for a package:

# xbps-query -Rs package_name

To remove a single package, leaving all of its dependencies installed:

# xbps-remove package_name

To remove a single package and all of its dependencies that are not required by other packages:

# xbps-remove -R package_name

To synchronize your repository databases and update your system to the most recent packages, including their dependencies:

# xbps-install -Su

The Rosetta stone table may help you find the right commands quickly, if you know your way around in other main distro families.

Package expressions

Package expressions are used to refer to specific packages based on package name and version number.

A package expression matches specific packages to a pattern; currently XBPS >= 0.19 supports 3 ways to specify them:

  • by specifying a package name, i.e foo.
$ xbps-query foo
  • by specifying the exact package name and version, i.e foo-1.0_1:
$ xbps-query foo-1.0_1
  • by specifying a package name and version separated by any of the following version comparison operators:
< less than
> greater than
<= less or equal than
>= greater or equal than


$ xbps-query foo>=2.0 
$ xbps-query foo<=1.0.


Repositories are the heart of the xbps package system. Repositories can be locally or remotely available:

  • local: repository is available in a local directory, e.g /xbps/repository.
  • remote: repository is available in a remote location, e.g http://my.domain.com/repository

Repositories can be declared in a file stored in /etc/xbps.d with a simple format:


Where url can be a path to a directory (local) or an URL to the repository (remote):

# echo 'repository=/path/to/dir' > /etc/xbps.d/my-local-repo.conf
# echo 'repository=http://my.domain.com/repository' > /etc/xbps.d/my-remote-repo.conf

System repositories can be available at /usr/share/xbps.d, files bearing the same filename available in /etc/xbps.d override those defined in /usr/share/xbps.d.

Substituting the default system repository with a regional repository

This helps relieve the workload for the default server plus typically improves update speeds.

Step One: Identify the file containing your system repository

# ls /usr/share/xbps.d
00-repository-main.conf  musl-arch.conf  void-virtualpkgs.conf  xbps.conf

A quick check (# cat 00-repository-main.conf) demonstrates that, in our example, 00-repository-main.conf is the file that contains the system repository.

Step Two: From the next section, select the official repository for your installation (glibc vs musl) that is nearest to your location. In our example, for a musl installation, we will assume that it is http://repo4.voidlinux.eu/current/musl.

Replace the url in the following example with your regional repository's url (note no trailing slash), and replace 00-repository-main.conf with whichever filename you identified in Step One to create a like-named file in /etc/xbps.d:

# echo 'repository=http://repo4.voidlinux.eu/current/musl' > /etc/xbps.d/00-repository-main.conf

Step Three: Sync repo

# xbps-install -Su

Official Repositories



Repository public keys

Packages and repositories provided by Void Linux are signed with RSA keys. You can print the repository RSA public key fingerprint with xbps-query:

$ xbps-query -vL


Signed-by: Void Linux
4096 60:ae:0c:d6:f0:95:17:80:bc:93:46:7a:89:af:a3:2d


Signed-by: Void Linux
4096 3d:b9:c0:50:41:a7:68:4c:2e:2c:a9:a2:5a:04:b7:3f


Additional glibc sub repositories exist in the official repositories:

  • debug (contains -dbg pkgs for debugging)
  • nonfree (contains pkgs that don’t have free licenses)
  • multilib (contains 32bit pkgs for 64bit platforms)
  • multilib/nonfree (contains non free 32bit pkgs for 64bit platforms)

Packages for these repositories exist in the main repository, i.e:

$ xbps-query -Rs void-repo
[*] void-repo-debug-9_1            Void Linux drop-in file for the debug repository
[*] void-repo-multilib-6_1         Void Linux drop-in file for the multilib repository
[*] void-repo-multilib-nonfree-6_1 Void Linux drop-in file for the multilib/nonfree repository
[*] void-repo-nonfree-9_1          Void Linux drop-in file for the nonfree repository

There are nonfree and debug sub repositories for musl but no multilib subrepo.

To install a subrepository, simply run xbps-install repository_name. After installing any of them don’t forget to synchronize the repository data:

# xbps-install -S


Unlike some other package management utilities, xbps consists of multiple discrete utilities to accomplish certain tasks for package management:

  • xbps-install - XBPS utility to (re)install and update packages
  • xbps-query - XBPS utility to query for package and repository information
  • xbps-remove - XBPS utility to remove packages
  • xbps-reconfigure - XBPS utility to configure installed packages
  • xbps-pkgdb - XBPS utility to report/fix issues and modify the package database (pkgdb)
  • xbps-rindex - XBPS utility to manage local binary package repositories
  • xbps-alternatives - XBPS utility to handle alternatives


This utility can be used to install, update, reinstall, or downgrade a package, or all packages in your system, and to syncronize the remote repositories data.

Synchronize remote repository data

# xbps-install -S

Note: It's generally a good idea to synchronize your repository index before installing or updating packages to avoid attempting to download outdated packages. The -S, --sync flag can be used while installing or updating to be always in sync with remote repositories, i.e:

Installing/updating a single package

# xbps-install -S pkg

If pkg is installed and there’s a newer version, the package will be upgraded to that version of the first repository containing it; otherwise the package will be installed.

Reinstalling/downgrading to a specific package version

# xbps-install -Sf pkg-1.0_1

By specifying a specific package version and the -f flag, the package will be reinstalled or downgraded to that version if the package is currently installed.

Updating your system

# xbps-install -Su

This will update all currently installed packages to the latest version found in the registered repositories, performing a global system update. This is the recommended command to keep your system up to date daily.


This utility can be used to query for information about packages installed in your system and in specific repositories.

xbps-query has two working modes:

  • Local: shows information of packages installed in the rootdir
  • Repository: shows information of packages stored in repositories

The -R or --repository option switches to the repository mode. Most options are able to work in local and repository mode.

Listing registered repositories

$ xbps-query -L

Listing installed packages

$ xbps-query -l

Listing packages in a specific mode

$ xbps-query -p hold -s ""
$ xbps-query -p repolock -s ""

Showing information for a package

$ xbps-query [-R] pkg

Showing the files list for a package

$ xbps-query [-R] -f pkg

Showing the required dependencies for a package

$ xbps-query [-R] -x pkg

Showing the reverse dependencies for a package (packages that depend on it):

$ xbps-query [-R] -X pkg

Searching for packages matching its package name/version and/or description

$ xbps-query [-R] -s pattern

Searching for packages matching a filename

$ xbps-query [-R] -o '*/filename'


This utility can be used to remove installed packages and clean the cache directory.

Removing a single package

# xbps-remove pkg

Removing a single package and recursively all packages that were installed as dependencies

# xbps-remove -R pkg

Cleaning up the cache directory

# xbps-remove -O

Removing all package orphans

# xbps-remove -o

Note: here "orphan" means packages not installed manually and no packages depended. In Debian, "orphan packages" refer to packages abandoned by their package maintainer.

Removing all package orphans and clean the cache directory

# xbps-remove -Oo


This utility can be used to configure or force reconfiguration of an installed package.

When xbps-install installs a package, it performs the task in two phases: unpacking and configuration. The unpacking phase unpacks the package files of the binary package into disk, and the configuration phase performs additional steps necessary to execute the software.

Packages that were not configured can be listed with xbps-query -l if its first two characters are uu. In that case, those packages should be reconfigured:

# xbps-reconfigure -a

Configure a package that is in unpacked state

# xbps-reconfigure pkg

Configure all packages that are in unpacked state

# xbps-reconfigure -a

Force reconfiguration of a package (even if it was configured previously):

# xbps-reconfigure -f pkg


This utility can be used to report errors in installed packages, as well as changing some of its properties.

Checking for errors in an installed package

# xbps-pkgdb pkg

If pkg does not have any error there won’t be any output and return value will be 0.

Checking for errors in all installed packages

# xbps-pkgdb -a

Changing properties of an installed package

An installed package can have different modes depending how it was installed. If a package was explicitly installed by the administrator and not as a dependency, its installation mode will be set to manual, otherwise auto.

Packages that were installed manually can be listed with:

$ xbps-query -m

or per-package:

$ xbps-query -p automatic-install pkg

It’s possible to change this mode with xbps-pkgdb(1):

# xbps-pkgdb -m auto pkg
# xbps-pkgdb -m manual pkg

A package can also be put on hold mode to skip updates while performing a system update:

# xbps-pkgdb -m hold pkg
# xbps-pkgdb -m unhold pkg

A package can also be put in repository locked mode (only update from the same repository it installed):

# xbps-pkgdb -m repolock pkg
# xbps-pkgdb -m repounlock pkg


This utility can be used to generate local repositories, remove obsolete binary packages stored in them, and to sign the packages with a cryptographic key.

Creating a local repository

$ xbps-rindex -a /path/to/dir/*.xbps

Once the command has run, a local repository is available at /path/to/dir and can be used as an argument to the --repository option or be declared in /etc/xbps.d/.

Adding a specific package to a repository

$ xbps-rindex -a /path/to/dir/foo-1.0_1.x86_64.xbps

Force addition of a specific package to a repository

$ xbps-rindex -f -a /path/to/dir/foo-1.0_1.x86_64.xbps

Cleaning a repository (removing stalled entries)

$ xbps-rindex -c /path/to/dir

Removing obsolete packages in a repository

$ xbps-rindex -r /path/to/dir

Signing a repository

Initialize the repository metadata with signing properties:

$ xbps-rindex --sign --signedby "I'm Groot" /path/to/dir

Signs all binary packages stored in repository with your specified RSA key. If the --privkey argument is not set, it defaults to ~/.ssh/id_rsa.

$ xbps-rindex --signedby "I'm Groot" --sign-pkg /path/to/dir/*.xbps


The xbps-alternatives utility lists or sets the alternatives provided by installed packages. Alternatives are classified by groups, and a group contains a number of symbolic links which are applied when the group is set.

List all alternatives

$ xbps-alternatives -l

List alternatives for a specific package

$ xbps-alternatives -l foo

Set all alternative groups

$ xbps-alternatives -s foo

Set specific alternative groups

$ xbps-alternatives -g bar -s foo