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// -*- mode:doc; -*-
// vim: set syntax=asciidoc:

=== Infrastructure for virtual packages

[[virtual-package-tutorial]]

In Buildroot, a virtual package is a package whose functionalities are
provided by one or more packages, referred to as 'providers'. The virtual
package management is an extensible mechanism allowing the user to choose
the provider used in the rootfs.

For example, 'OpenGL ES' is an API for 2D and 3D graphics on embedded systems.
The implementation of this API is different for the 'Allwinner Tech Sunxi' and
the 'Texas Instruments OMAP35xx' platforms. So +libgles+ will be a virtual
package and +sunxi-mali+ and +ti-gfx+ will be the providers.

==== +virtual-package+ tutorial

In the following example, we will explain how to add a new virtual package
('something-virtual') and a provider for it ('some-provider').

First, let's create the virtual package.

==== Virtual package's +Config.in+ file

The +Config.in+ file of virtual package 'something-virtual' should contain:

---------------------------
01: config BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL
02:	bool
03:
04: config BR2_PACKAGE_PROVIDES_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL
05:	depends on BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL
06:	string
---------------------------

In this file, we declare two options, +BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL+ and
+BR2_PACKAGE_PROVIDES_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL+, whose values will be used by the
providers.

==== Virtual package's +.mk+ file

The +.mk+ for the virtual package should just evaluate the +virtual-package+ macro:

---------------------------
01: ################################################################################
02: #
03: # something-virtual
04: #
05: ################################################################################
06:
07: $(eval $(virtual-package))
---------------------------

The ability to have target and host packages is also available, with the
+host-virtual-package+ macro.

==== Provider's +Config.in+ file

When adding a package as a provider, only the +Config.in+ file requires some
modifications.

The +Config.in+ file of the package 'some-provider', which provides the
functionalities of 'something-virtual', should contain:

---------------------------
01: config BR2_PACKAGE_SOME_PROVIDER
02:	bool "some-provider"
03:	select BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL
04:	help
05:	  This is a comment that explains what some-provider is.
06:
07:	  http://foosoftware.org/some-provider/
08:
09: if BR2_PACKAGE_SOME_PROVIDER
10: config BR2_PACKAGE_PROVIDES_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL
11:	default "some-provider"
12: endif
---------------------------

On line 3, we select +BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL+, and on line 11, we
set the value of +BR2_PACKAGE_PROVIDES_SOMETHING_VIRTUAL+ to the name of the
provider, but only if it is selected.

See xref:virtual-package-list[] for the symbols to select if you implement
a new provider for an existing virtual package.

==== Provider's +.mk+ file

The +.mk+ file should also declare an additional variable
+SOME_PROVIDER_PROVIDES+ to contain the names of all the virtual
packages it is an implementation of:

---------------------------
01: SOME_PROVIDER_PROVIDES = something-virtual
---------------------------

Of course, do not forget to add the proper build and runtime dependencies for
this package!

See xref:virtual-package-list[] for the names of virtual packages to provide
if you implement a new provider for an existing virtual package.

==== Notes on depending on a virtual package

When adding a package that requires a certain +FEATURE+ provided by a virtual
package, you have to use +depends on BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_FEATURE+, like so:

---------------------------
config BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_FEATURE
    bool

config BR2_PACKAGE_FOO
    bool "foo"
    depends on BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_FEATURE
---------------------------

==== Notes on depending on a specific provider

If your package really requires a specific provider, then you'll have to
make your package +depends on+ this provider; you can _not_ +select+ a
provider.

Let's take an example with two providers for a +FEATURE+:

---------------------------
config BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_FEATURE
    bool

config BR2_PACKAGE_FOO
    bool "foo"
    select BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_FEATURE

config BR2_PACKAGE_BAR
    bool "bar"
    select BR2_PACKAGE_HAS_FEATURE
---------------------------

And you are adding a package that needs +FEATURE+ as provided by +foo+,
but not as provided by +bar+.

If you were to use +select BR2_PACKAGE_FOO+, then the user would still
be able to select +BR2_PACKAGE_BAR+ in the menuconfig. This would create
a configuration inconsistency, whereby two providers of the same +FEATURE+
would be enabled at once, one explicitly set by the user, the other
implicitly by your +select+.

Instead, you have to use +depends on BR2_PACKAGE_FOO+, which avoids any
implicit configuration inconsistency.