From Free Pascal wiki
Revision as of 14:16, 13 December 2014 by Loesje (talk | contribs) (Rewrote for changes in fpc 2.7)


FPMake is a build-system for Pascal code specifically . It can be compared with other build systems like Make, cons, scons, etc.

With FPMake the code is split up into packages. A FPMake-package can contain units, binaries, examples and documentation. Each package can depend on other packages, in which case a package can use the units of it's dependences. FPMake uses two different locations to search for packages, a system-wide (global) and a local location. By default the global location points to the location of the fpc-installation, while the local location is user-specific.

Some parts of fpc itself are compiled using FPMake. (The packages fastcgi and fcl-web in fpc 2.6 and all packages, utilities and the ide in fpc 2.7 and up)

The packages-manager fppkg can be used to manage the FPMake packages and to install them from a remote repository.


In general the fpmake system scans the places typically used for fpc installations. In the case that fpmake doesn't find the FPC directory, you'll get an error like:

Could not find unit directory for dependency package "rtl"

In such case, set the FPCDIR environment variable to the base dir of the FPC installation, e.g.:

export FPCDIR=~/src/lib/fpc/2.3.1


set FPCDIR=C:\lazarus\fpc\2.4.3\

This can also be useful if you have to disambiguate over multiple FPC installations.


FPC 2.2 and higher contains the basics for a package system. Look at any directory in the fpc source dirs. You'll find a file fpmake.pp or fpmake.inc there.

The idea is that you do a

fppkg <packagename>

This will look in a database for the package, extract it, and then compile fpmake.pp and run it. The fpmake contains all configurations to make and zip the package.

You could download a package manually, compile fpmake.pp and run

./fpmake build


./fpmake install

which would install the file.

The fpmake.pp file is very simple. Just look at the examples, they are scattered all over the place.

The idea is that the release after 2.2 will use this system. (Note: as of FPC 2.7.1, there are still some problems with fpmake which need to be solved before fpmake can be used instead of regular make)

Commandline arguments

 ./fpmake --help
 Usage: fpmake command [options]
 Where command is one of the following:
  compile      Compile all units in the package(s).
  build        Build all units in the package(s).
  install      Install all units in the package(s).
  clean        Clean (remove) all units in the package(s).
  archive      Create archive (zip) with all units in the package(s).
  manifest     Create a manifest suitable for import in repository.
 Where options is one or more of the following:
  -h --help             This message.
  -l --list-commands    list commands instead of actually executing them.
  -n --nofpccfg         Compiler will not use fpc.cfg
  -v --verbose          Be verbose when working.
  -C --cpu=Value            Compile for indicated CPU.
  -O --os=Value             Compile for indicated OS
  -t --target=Value         Compile for indicated target
  -P --prefix=Value         Use indicated prefix directory for all commands.
  -B --baseinstalldir=Value Use indicated directory as base install dir.
  -UL --localunitdir=Value   Use indicated directory as local (user) unit dir.
  -UG --globalunitdir=Value  Use indicated directory as global unit dir.
  -r --compiler=Value       Use indicated binary as compiler
  -f --config=Value         Use indicated config file when compiling.

Simple example fpmake.pp

  program fpmake;

  uses fpmkunit;

    P: TPackage;
    T: TTarget;

    With Installer do
      P := AddPackage('my-nice-program');
      P.OSes := [win32,openbsd,netbsd,freebsd,darwin,linux];
      T := P.Targets.AddUnit('myunit');
      T.ResourceStrings := True;
      T := P.Targets.AddUnit('myprogram');

Compile with

 fpc fpmake.pp


 fppkg build

which will build (if needed) fpmake and run fpmake in the current directory.

More complex example fpmake.pp

  program fpmake;

  uses fpmkunit;

  type TWidgetSet = (wsGDI, wsX, wsCarbon);

  var WidgetSet : TWidgetSet;
      P : TPackage;

  procedure DetermineWidgetSet;
    I : Integer;
    if Defaults.OS in AllWindowsOSes then
      WidgetSet := wsGDI else
    if Defaults.OS = MacOS then
      WidgetSet := wsCarbon else
    if Defaults.OS in AllUnixOSes then
      Widgetset := wsX;

    // Check paramstr() to see if the widgetset was overriden on the commandline;
    For I := 1 to ParamCount do
      If ParamStr(i) = '--widgetset=X' then
        WidgetSet := wsX;

    With Installer do
      // ...
      Case WidgetSet of
        wsGDI : P.UnitPath.Add('corelib/gdi');
        wsX   : P.UnitPath.Add('corelib/x11');
        // etc.
      //  ...

Changing Working Directory

If working with units in a subfolder relative to ./fpmake, then "Directory" can be changed.

    With Installer do
      T:= Targets.AddUnit('unitinfolder');

Adding directories

You can add directories with the unit path:

  Case Defaults.OS of
    Win32, Win64: 

Often, it's more comfortable to use set constants like AllWindowsOSes, AllUnixOSes instead of specific OS names.

Appending Compiler Options

Additional custom compiler options (i.e. compiler command line parameters) can be appended by using TTarget.Options, TPackage.Options, or Defaults.Options.

  var T : TTarget;


  var P : TPackage;



Note: Before FPC 2.4.0, Options property was a simple string, and it seems it supported passing only one parameter to the compiler. Since FPC 2.4.0 (more precisely, since svn revision 13223) Options is a TStrings instance, so it's much more flexible. This also means that you should use $ifdefs if you want to use Options and want your fpmake.pp be compatible with both FPC < 2.4.0 and >= 2.4.0.


The fpmake executable takes several commands that determine its behavior.


The most basic usage of fpmake is:



./fpmake compile

This will compile your project when required.


To force a build of your project regardless of whether it is necessary or not, a build command should be issued:

./fpmake build

When executing a build or compile command the units are placed in the directory:


The executable of a library is placed in the directory:


If either of these directories does not exist, they are created.

The CPU and OS can be changed by using the following options:

./fpmake --CPU=PPC --OS=Darwin

where the CPU switch takes one from:

  • Arm
  • I386
  • PPC
  • X86_64
  • M68K
  • PPC64

and OS takes one from:

  • Amiga
  • Atari
  • Darwin
  • FreeBSD
  • Go32v2
  • Linux
  • MacOS
  • MorphOS
  • NetBSD
  • Netware
  • NetwLibc
  • OpenBSD
  • OS2
  • PalmOS
  • Solaris
  • Win32
  • Win64
  • WinCE
  • Emx


./fpmake clean

Will clean units (i.e. ones that have been added with AddUnit).


./fpmake install

Will install the project to the default location given in fpmake.pp. You can alter the install location with the following command:

fpmake --baseinstalldir='c:\program files\my package';

There are two installer classes implemented:


Does not set the base output directory, this needs to be set in either the code...

  with Installer(TBasicInstaller) do
    Defaults.BaseInstallDir := 'c:\fpmake_test\';
    {$i fpmake.inc}

... or with the commandline option -B or --baseinstalldir. Either way the use of TBasicInstaller needs to be initiated with the Installer(TBasicInstaller) function.


Sets the output directory in code. This is done in several consecutive steps.

  1. Value of FPCDIR environment variable
  2. Hardcoded value

Just like TBasicInstaller it is possible to use commandline options to control the base install directory.


./fpmake archive

will create a zip.

The default filename of the archive is:




when no version is defined.

It is possible to modify the archive filename by setting the FileName property:

  with Installer do
    FileName := 'myfile.zip';


To create a manifest file suitable for import into a repository FPC will use the manifest command.

An example manifest file is shown below.

  <?xml version="1.0"?>
  <package name="my-package">
   <version major="0" minor="7" micro="6" build="1"/>
   <author>my name</author>
   <description>this is the package description</description>
     <package packagename="rtl"/>

This manifest file was created using the following code:

  with Installer do
    P := AddPackage('my-package');

    P.Author := 'my name';
    P.License := 'GPL';
    {$ifdef VER2_2_2} P.ExternalURL {$else} P.HomepageURL {$endif}
      := 'http://www.freepascal.org/';
    P.Email := 'myname@freepascal.org';
    P.Description := 'this is the package description';
    P.Version := '0.7.6-1';

    // ...;


List sources

Note: this seems not available in FPC 2.2.2 and 2.2.4rc1. Please remove this section (if this was an old abandoned idea) or update to say "planned" if it's a future plan.

  ./fpmake listsources

Will create an xml file called sources.xml which lists all sources in the package. Each item has a type node that reveals the function of the file.

  <source type="document">readme.txt</source>
  <source type="source">project.pas</source>
  <source type="example">example.pas</source>
  <source type="test">test_unit.pas</source>

The sources.xml file can be read by fppkg which uses it to create a package by itself.


The plan is to also add

./fpmake innosetup

Which will generate a file that can be included in an Inno Setup (.iss) file, which can be used to generate a Windows installer.

Common error messages

A few common error messages are explained here

Unknown target for unit "[unitname]" in dependencies for [targetname] in package [packagename]

This indicates a problem in the fpmake.pp file. There is a dependency on a unit, added using Target.Dependencies.AddUnit('unitname'). But there is no corresponding target added to the package with the same unitname.

In other words: for every dependency on a unit, there must be a corresponding target within the same package. When there is a dependency on a unit in another package, add a dependency on that package. A dependency on a single file within a different package will not work.

Also note that the unit name has to be without the extension of the corresponding file. (Target.Dependencies.AddUnit('unitnams.pas') will not work, while Targets.Addunit requires the extension to be present)