Install Atlassian CLI with RPM

Another follow up to introduction to Atlassian CLI.

This post describes how to create an RPM package for Atlassian CLI to install it on RMP-based Linux distributions.

Jump directly to Summary if just want to grab the end result.

Why Bother?

Same question as one would as for using Homebrew on OS X. And same answer again - Automation.

Let’s assume you already use Atlassian CLI Client for number of build tasks, like automatically updating JIRA tickets, Confluence pages, Stash pull requests, etc.

Let’s further assume that your company has a proper CI environment, for example RPM-based Linux instances running in AWS cloud. Each instance runs one build agent (slave, node or whatever you call it).

One of the reasons going into the cloud is scalability, you can go from one to few dozens of identically cloned agents with literally one click of a mouse.

Normal practice is to refresh those instances repeatedly, e.g. on a 2 weeks schedule, and refresh in this context means recreating them from scratch. This is when an updated OS image is used for new instances, you can put new updates and packages into this new image to make it available to all build tasks by default without additional installation. For example, you could not just have RVM installed, but also install few most used rubies for 2.0 and 2.1.

Preparing new image has a funny name, that is Baking (remember Brewing?). What’s amusing, the whole baking process is done by the very same CI setup it will be applied to. Keeping an eye on the whole infrastructure is actually quite a challenge and you would most likely have DevOps or DevSupport team to look after it.

In any case, to conclude this long passage, one of the reasons to have an RPM package for Atlassian CLI is to be able to bake it into your build agent.

Create RPM Spec

Creating and RPM package is very similar to creating Homebrew tap, only in this case instead of Formula you need to create RPM Spec.

Let’s put first lines into the spec

First three lines are a result of googling as well ans trial and error process. I’m not an experienced RPM package builder, so there are things that I will have to leave unexplained.

Next lines are self descriptive. The %{varname} syntax is the way you can pass variables into RPM spec when using it with rpmbuild, for example

Some of the header attributes worth mentioning separately. For starters the Source: attribute should point to your source tarball. But it doesn’t have to be a local file, it can be a URL just like Homebrew’s url attribute. You can then download and unzip it with one call to %setup macro.

I myself just found out about it recently and didn’t try it yet. So in this article I’ll do the job of setup macro with shell commands, but this is definitely where improvements should be made.

Then there’s _tmppath variable. You will notice later that it’s not passed to RPM script directly anywhere, instead, it’s picked up from a special .rpmmacros file. You’ll see how it’s used later on.


Now it’s time to define install command. It’s again very similar to Homebrew’s install. So I will give here brief description of the steps with the code and for more details you can always get back to Homebrew post.

Prepare and Setup

Since we don’t use %setup macro, we have to some of the work here. Remove old build directory, unzip the source tarball and cleanup Windows stuff right away.

Patch and Move

Next is patching time and once patching is over move the files to a proper location (bin folder). I’ve explained why this is required in the post related to Homebrew formula, so have a peek there.

When patching we’ll update all the .sh scripts and put new relative path to JAR files, we’ll also insert proper JAVA_HOME export in each.

Then it’s time to customize all the Atlassian product URLs as well as put a proper service account username and password if you plan to save keystrokes in the future.

Finally rename ambiguous to and move all .sh files to bin folder. I personally prefer to drop .sh part from the filename in the process.

Now it’s time to tell RPM spec which files are part of final installation.

In post-install stage we want to symlink all the shell scripts and JAR files to a corresponding directory in /usr/local. The reason behind that is because /usr/local/bin is already on our PATH (if not, then add it as described in Homebrew post).

We also add info for post-uninstall process so it can remove all these symlinks for us.


No comments on this one.


Add some change log and you are done with the spec.

Build RPM

It’s time to build an RPM based on the spec we have just came up with. In this example I’ll use Makefile which helps to present material in more simple and organized way than just shell scripts.

Define all the basic configuration, like version, release, Java version, etc. Note the use of noarch here for architecture. We are working with collection of JARs and shell scripts, there are no sources files that need any compilation at all, so we specify that we are not building for any particular architecture.

Now define step by step what needs to be done using Makefile targets (aka recepies).

Download the package if it doesn’t exist yet.

Then unzip. This place partially explains why I avoided %setup macro. Setup macro assumes source is a tarball and uses tar utility to unpack it. But with Atlassian CLI the source is just a .zip file, so setup macro generates commands that don’t work.

Once unzipped, we also link symbolically versioned folder to ${PACKAGE} file. This makes it easier to write next steps.

Now pack unzipped file into a tarball. This is all due to specifics of rpmbuild, it want’s tarball and we have to comply. Put the tarball into distributive directory.

Finally we can build RPM.

Still we end up doing some additional work here. rpmbuild expects a certain directory structure in it’s root build folder. Once again, we’re pretty much doing the %setup job here.

  • We will build an RPM in ~/rpmbuild directory, so we create one with number of required subdirectories (all those names in caps and tmp).
  • Then move tarball to SOURCES directory
  • Copy our RPM spec to SPECS
  • Then add %_topdir and %_tmppath to a special ~/.rpmmacros file. rpmbuild will scan ~/.rpmmacros and pass all picked up values to RPM spec when building it.
  • Finally call rpmbuild passing version, release and all the other vars.
    • The -bb option tells rpmbuild which steps to execute.
  • Once rpmbuild is done, copy RPM package to distributive directory.

So, are you ready to try it?

I ran it on Fedora 20 as well on a custom Linux distribution running in AWS cloud. Since the package does not depend on architecture, you could in theory build it on OS X machine, but it’s not what I would recommend, getting proper rpmbuild port configured is not something you enjoy very much.

Install RPM

To test your installation, use these commands

Now you can hand RPM package over to your Dev Support guys, they’ll put it into local repo and make RPM install a part of bake or post-bake process.

Yet nothing stops you from creating a CI plan (job) for the Atlassian CLI RPM package itself. You can run make rpm and test rpm install on the very same build agent this package is targeted for, thus creating yet another “CI Loop”, which is good.


Published: May 30 2014

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