OpenWrt Feeds

In OpenWrt, a “feed” is a collection of packages which share a common location. Feeds may reside on a remote server, in a version control system, on the local filesystem, or in any other location addressable by a single name (path/URL) over a protocol with a supported feed method.

Feeds are additional predefined package build recipes for OpenWrt Buildroot. They may be configured to support custom feeds or non-default feed packages via a feed configuration file.

The list of usable feeds is configured from either the feeds.conf file, if it exists, or otherwise the feeds.conf.default file. This file contains a list of feeds with each feed listed on a separate line. Each feed line consists of 3 whitespace-separated components: The feed method, the feed name, and the feed source. Blank lines, excessive white-space/newlines, and comments are ignored during parsing. Comments begin with `#` and extend to the end of a line.

As of 2018-12-15 on the master branch, the defaults contained within feeds.conf.default appear as follows. Note that the # prefixed lines are commented out and included for ease of configuration.

src-git packages
src-git luci
src-git routing
src-git telephony
#src-git video
#src-git targets
#src-git management
#src-git oldpackages
#src-link custom /usr/src/openwrt/custom-feed

The git method can specify a specific branch or commit using the following formats

src-git local_feed_name;branch_name
src-git local_feed_name^commit_hash

As of this writing, the following feed methods are supported:

Method Function
src-bzr Data is downloaded from the source path/URL using bzr
src-cpy Data is copied from the source path. The path can be specified as either relative to OpenWrt repository root or absolute.
src-darcs Data is downloaded from the source path/URL using darcs
src-git Data is downloaded from the source path/URL using git as a shallow (depth of 1) clone
src-git-full Data is downloaded from the source path/URL using git as a full clone
src-gitsvn Bidirectional operation between a Subversion repository and git
src-hg Data is downloaded from the source path/URL using hg
src-link A symlink to the source path is created. The path must be absolute.
src-svn Data is downloaded from the source path/URL using svn

Feed names are used to identify feeds and serve as the basis for several file and directory names that are created to hold information about the feeds. The feed source is the location from which the feed data is downloaded.

For the methods listed above which rely on version control systems that support a “limited history” option (such as --depth=1 for git and --lightweight for bzr) the smallest available history is downloaded. This is a good default, but developers who are actively committing to a feed and/or using the commit history may want to change this behavior. This can be done by editing scripts/feeds to use src-git-full or by checking out the feed without using scripts/feeds. A shallow git clone can be updated to a “full” clone through use of git fetch --unshallow

As of December, 2018, feeds are retrieved and managed by the script scripts/feeds within the openwrt/openwrt.git repository. The feeds script incorporates packages from a variety of feed sources into the OpenWrt build system. This is a two step process done by the developer before building an image by updating a feed followed by installing packages from specific to that feed.

During the update step, the feeds are obtained from their sources listed within a feed configuration and then copied into the feeds directory. After a successful update, each package recipe within a feed is represented within a folder in feeds/<feed_name>/<package_name>/, but they are not currently incorporated into the OpenWrt build system as they are not contained within the `package/` directory.

During the install step, packages from the feeds obtained during an `update` are then linked into the package/feeds/<feed_name> folder, where <feed_name> is replaced by the name of the feed in the feed configuration. After this step, it is then possible to perform package specific make operations by utilizing their path within the package/ folder. For example:

make package/feeds/<feed_name>/<package_name>

$ ./scripts/feeds 
Usage: ./scripts/feeds <command> [options]

	list [options]: List feeds, their content and revisions (if installed)
	    -n :            List of feed names.
	    -s :            List of feed names and their URL.
	    -r <feedname>:  List packages of specified feed.
	    -d <delimiter>: Use specified delimiter to distinguish rows (default: spaces)
	    -f :            List feeds in feeds.conf compatible format (when using -s).

	install [options] <package>: Install a package
	    -a :           Install all packages from all feeds or from the specified feed using the -p option.
	    -p <feedname>: Prefer this feed when installing packages.
	    -d <y|m|n>:    Set default for newly installed packages.
	    -f :           Install will be forced even if the package exists in core OpenWrt (override)

	search [options] <substring>: Search for a package
	    -r <feedname>: Only search in this feed

	uninstall -a|<package>: Uninstall a package
	    -a :           Uninstalls all packages.

	update -a|<feedname(s)>: Update packages and lists of feeds in feeds.conf .
	    -a :           Update all feeds listed within feeds.conf. Otherwise the specified feeds will be updated.
	    -i :           Recreate the index only. No feed update from repository is performed.
	    -f :           Force updating feeds even if there are changed, uncommitted files.

	clean:             Remove downloaded/generated files.

Feeds can be utilized through the scripts/feeds script. A list of the available commands is generated by invoking scripts/feeds without any arguments. Most commands require the feed information to be available locally, so running update first is usually necessary. In the following discussion the term “applicable packages” usually refers to the package names given on the command line or all packages in a feed when the -a option is used.


The clean command removes the locally stored feed data, including the feed indexes and data for all packages in the feed (but not the symlinks created by the install command, which will be dangling until the feeds are re-downloaded by the update command). This is done by removing the feeds directory and all subdirectories.


The install command installs the applicable packages and any packages on which the applicable packages depend (both direct dependencies and build dependencies). The installation process consists of creating a symbolic link from package/feeds/$feed_name/$package_name to feeds/$feed_name/$package_name so that the package will be included in the configuration process when the directory hierarchy under packages is searched.

Command Description
./scripts/feeds install -a Install all packages (not required; packages can be installed on an as-needed basis for slow build machines)
./scripts/feeds install luci Install only the package LuCI
./scripts/feeds install -a -p luci Install the complete LuCI WebUI by installing all (-a) packages from the preferred feed (-p) luci

See the above section for a list of the feeds available by default.

Please note that this replaces the old method of creating symlinks, which can be still found on-line in many old forum and user-group entries


The list command reads and displays the list of packages in each feed from the index file for the applicable feeds. The index file is stored in the feeds directory with the name of the feed suffixed with .index. The file is generated by the update command.

The search command reads through the feed metadata and lists packages which match the given search criteria.


The uninstall command does the opposite of the install command (although it does not address dependent packages in any way). It simply removes any symlinks to the package from the subdirectories of package/feeds.


When scripts/feeds update is invoked, each of the applicable feeds are downloaded from their source location into a subdirectory of feeds with the feed name. It then parses the package information from the feed into an index file used by the list and search commands.

Command Description
./scripts/feeds update packages luci Checkout the packages and luci feeds

Note that update also stores the configured location of the feed in feeds/$feed_name.tmp/location such that changes to the configuration can be detected and handled appropriately.

After retrieval the downloaded packages need to be “installed”. Only after installation will they be available in the configuration interface!

Ok, you've developed your package, and now you want to use it via make menuconfig, OR you are developing a package and you want to test it in a build before you try to get it included in OpenWrt.

The solution is a custom feed. You can either create an entirely new feed, or use a modified version of one of the standard ones.

For this example we assume that your are in /home/user/openwrt as your base directory.

Adding your package to an existing feed


Adding your package to your own feed

For this example we assume that you name your feed custom and your project is called helloworld and its openwrt Makefile is located at /usr/src/openwrt/custom-feed/helloworld/Makefile.

  1. Edit /home/user/openwrt/feeds.conf.default
  2. Add a new line for your feed.
    src-link custom /usr/src/openwrt/custom-feed/
  1. Update the feed: from the <buildroot dir> (e.g. /home/user/openwrt) do:
    ./scripts/feeds update custom
  2. And then install it
    ./scripts/feeds install -a -p custom
  1. Now your package(s) should be available when you do
    make menuconfig

The downloaded sources (referenced in package Makefiles) are not there... The downloads go first to <buildroot>/dl as gzipped .gz files. And there they are stored and then they get unzipped to /build_dir. See e.g. <buildroot>/build_dir/target-*/ and below it you will find subdirectories for each package's sources.

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  • Last modified: 2021/10/15 09:06
  • by bobafetthotmail