Monitor Upstream Updates for OpenBSD Packages

Monitor Upstream Updates for OpenBSD Packages

November 1, 2023
OpenBSD, Porting

As an OpenBSD package maintainer, I often need to watch for updates on packages I maintain. I used to do this using, which has the benefit of tracking package updates in many distros, but it can be unreliable for OpenBSD packages due to network delay and parsing problems.

One better way to watch for upstream update is using OpenBSD’s portroach service, it monitors new upstream release and provides a JSON API that can be combined with jq(1) to produce clear information.

Querying portroach #

To find all packages that can be updated for a given maintainer, first find the maintainer page on portroach, you can search by maintainer name and the page’s URL should be similar to the following:

Now to get JSON output, add /json/ to the URL and change the suffix from .html to .json: 

This endpoint will return all the packages maintained by a given maintainer, regardless of having an update or not. To only show packaged that can be updated, jq(1) can be used as a powerful filter and formatter:

$ ftp -Vo -\
| jq -r '.[] | select(.newver!=null) | (.fullpkgpath)+": "+(.ver)+" -> "+(.newver)'

Which prints a nice list of package I need to work on:

converters/opencc: 1.1.6 -> er.1.1.7
inputmethods/fcitx: 5.0.23 -> 5.1.1
inputmethods/fcitx-chinese-addons: 5.0.17 -> 5.1.1
inputmethods/fcitx-config-qt: 5.0.17 -> 5.1.1
inputmethods/fcitx-gtk: 5.0.23 -> 5.1.0
inputmethods/fcitx-lua: 5.0.10 -> 5.0.11
inputmethods/fcitx-qt: 5.0.17 -> 5.1.1
inputmethods/fcitx-table-extra: 5.0.13 -> 5.1.0
inputmethods/libime: 1.0.17 -> 1.1.2

Closing note #

Please be mindful that portroach is not infaillible, it may produce inaccurate result for some upstreams. The hosted version is a community resource, so please don’t abuse it, If you want, you can selfhost it with source code from its GitHub repository.