I have a Dockerfile to build a Docker image that is based on Alpine Linux. Now I need to install a package as part of this Dockerfile.

Currently I have:

RUN apk update && \
    apk upgrade && \
    apk add git

Apparently this is a bad idea, as the result is non-deterministic. Instead, it depends on the point in time at which I build the image, which version of git is getting installed.

What is the correct way of doing this?

I guess that I have to tell updated, upgrade and add which versions to use, but how do I do this?

I have seen that apk supports pinning of repositories, but that is not what I want (at least I think so), because I do not want to pin a repository, but a package.

In other words: If git could be installed via npm, I'd be able to run:

npm install git@1.9.2

(or whatever version I want to have). What is the equivalent to this for Alpine Linux?

up vote 49 down vote accepted

You can set "sticky" versions like this:

# Both are equal
apk add packagename=1.2.3-suffix
apk add 'packagename<1.2.3-suffix'

That will upgrade packages only until the specified version. You can then safely use …

apk upgrade

to upgrade all packages, while packages with versions will remain with their version. To set a minimum version just use …

apk add "packagename>1.2.3-suffix"

In case you can't find a package, while you can see it in the UI for Alpine packages, update your sources/package database:

apk update

The package repository can be found here:

https://pkgs.alpinelinux.org/packages

Currently, there is no way to install arbitrary older versions of a package from official repositories in Alpine Linux. The best thing you can achieve is using repositories of the earlier releases:

# cat /etc/alpine-release
3.3.3

# echo 'http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.2/main' >> /etc/apk/repositories

# apk update
fetch http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.3/community/x86_64/APKINDEX.tar.gz
fetch http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.3/main/x86_64/APKINDEX.tar.gz
fetch http://dl-cdn.alpinelinux.org/alpine/v3.2/main/x86_64/APKINDEX.tar.gz

# apk add bash==4.3.33-r0
(1/1) Updating pinning bash (4.3.33-r0)
OK: 13 MiB in 17 packages

# apk add bash==4.3.42-r3
(1/2) Upgrading bash (4.3.33-r0 -> 4.3.42-r3)
Executing bash-4.3.42-r3.post-upgrade
(2/2) Purging ncurses5-libs (5.9-r1)
Executing busybox-1.24.1-r7.trigger
OK: 13 MiB in 16 packages

Because I was using the testing repo. I ended up building my own copy. Steps:

Go to package details. Ex:

https://pkgs.alpinelinux.org/package/edge/testing/armhf/watchman

Click on the commit, click on the APKBUILD file links and "Log" on the menu to get the commit log of the APKBUILD file. Then choose a commit for your APKBUILD file and download it. Ex:

https://git.alpinelinux.org/cgit/aports/tree/testing/watchman/APKBUILD?id=63f5e7d295659a855709901ce22a3e5f40fce455

Install the build tools:

apk -U add alpine-sdk

You need to be not root user so create a packager user with password:

adduser -D packager && addgroup packager abuild
passwd packager

Then build it as packager in the same directory as the APKBUILD file:

su - packager
abuild-keygen -a -i
abuild -r

You might need to figure out errors and install dependencies. In my example, I needed to do this on my existing Docker image as root:

apk add python-dev

After a successful build as packager, install it as root:

apk add /home/packager/packages/<something...>/watchman-4.7.0-r0.apk --allow-untrusted

Not sure how to remove the --allow-untrusted part, but the steps worked for me.

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