tpkg has a mechanism for packages to make requests to other applications on the system where a package is installed. The package specifies the name of the external hook to call and some data to send to that hook. When the package is installed, upgraded or removed the external hook script is executed and passed the name of the package, the action being performed, and the data associated with that hook in the package. Tpkg includes some example scripts and you can write additional scripts that are appropriate for your environment.
The primary use case for this feature is to integrate with an OS configuration management tool like etch, puppet or cfengine. The tpkg for an application should encapsulate all files and configuration needed for the application to run on top of a generic base system in your environment. This may include OS configuration items like user accounts, kernel settings or NFS mounts. If your OS configuration tool is managing those settings your package may need to interact with it to get those configuration items activated. If your package tried to manipulate those settings directly (modifying /etc/passwd directly, for example) the OS configuration management tool may undo those changes, depending on how it is configured. With the externals feature you can create an arrangement where those configuration changes are submitted as requests to the OS config tool, which is then called to activate those requests.
The general format of the externals section in a package's tpkg.yml file is:
externals: - name: user data: myuser - name: nfs datafile: nfsmountsfile - name: sysctl datascript: ./calculate_kernel_memory_settings
The name field specifies the name of the external to call. The data to pass to the external can either be specified inline via the "data" field, in an external file referenced via the "datafile" field, or an external script referenced via the "datascript" field. The script for datascript can be any form of valid executable, it should be contained in your package directory structure, and referenced with a path relative to the top of the package directory structure (i.e. the directory where tpkg.yml lives). Whatever your datascript script outputs will be fed to the tpkg external script. We envision this being particularly useful in calculating kernel parameters based on things like the amount of physical memory in a system.
The external scripts live in the /usr/lib/tpkg/externals directory. So using the example above with the external named "user" that would trigger a call to /usr/lib/tpkg/externals/user. That script will be passed the package filename as the first command line argument and the operation being performed (either 'install' or 'remove') as the second argument. The data associated with the external will be passed to the script on stdin. Any output is ignored, as is the exit value of the script. Note that an upgrade is implemented in tpkg as a remove of the old version followed by an install of the new version, so externals are called as appropriate. I.e. externals do not need to implement an 'upgrade' operation.
Note that if your script does not need the data passed in on stdin you should dump it to /dev/null. Otherwise you might intermittently generate a SIGPIPE error in tpkg if your script exits before tpkg finishes writing data to it. Something like cat > /dev/null at an appropriate place in your script should do the trick.
The TPKG_HOME environment variable will be set with the tpkg base directory, /opt/tpkg by default, in the environment of external scripts when they are executed.