Product packages

A product configuration encapsulates a set of packages and components required to support the target user experience on the underlying hardware. Each product configuration declares its default list of packages using their GN labels in a GN import (.gni) file. You can augment the contents of the current build configuration in a few different ways.

Dependency sets

Packages in a build configuration are assigned to one of three dependency sets:

  • Base: System-critical packages bundled into the system image. Base packages always resolve to the version in the system image, even if a different version is available from a package repository. Updating a base package requires a system (OTA) update.
  • Cache: Additional packages bundled into the system image. Cached packages are updated from a package repository if a different version is available.
  • Universe: Everything else. This set of packages is only available through a package repository and delivered on demand.

Diagram showing how packages live in the base, cache, or universe dependency
sets of the build configuration. This set determines how new versions of the
package get resolved.

Below is an example snippet of a product configuration file. This product inherits all the packages defined in the core product, and then adds a few additional packages to each dependency set:


base_package_labels += [

cache_package_labels += [

universe_package_labels += [

In this example the build system would package the runtimes, resources, and services into the disk image for the target device. The examples would only be available on demand from a package server.

Manual build customization

Creating a new complete product configuration is not the only way to customize the build. You can also provide additional labels to the fx set command using these flags:

  • --with: Add a target label to the universe dependency set.
  • --with-base: Add a target label to the base dependency set.
  • --with-cache: Add a target label to the cache dependency set.

This is a good way to temporarily enable packages for development that you don't want to include in the final build target, such as tests. For example, the following command adds all the packages in the Fuchsia tests bundle to a standard workstation build.

fx set workstation.qemu-x64 --with //bundles:tests

Developing with packages

Recall from the introduction that Fuchsia packages do not "install" to a device, they resolve from the local package cache or a package repository. When developing Fuchsia software, this means that testing your code involves the following steps:

  1. Build an updated package with any code changes.
  2. Publish updated packages to a package repository.
  3. Trigger an update on the target device.

Diagram showing how during development, the developer tools publish packages
to the TUF repository, which notifies the Fuchsia device to resolve the latest

Developer tools such as fx build publish package updates to a local package repository as part of the build process. The dependency set where your product declares the package determines how to trigger the update on the target device:

  • Base packages can only be updated by performing a whole system update (OTA). Trigger a system update using fx ota or flash a new system image on the device to update base packages.
  • Cached and universe packages update automatically the next time the package is resolved.

Exercise: Customize the build

In this exercise, you'll customize the build with additional packages and ultimately define your own product configuration to encapsulate these changes.

Add packages to the build

You can bundle additional targets with your build configuration using the --with flag of fx set. Reconfigure your workstation build to include all the Fuchsia examples:

fx set workstation.qemu-x64 --with //examples

This is commonly used to include test packages you need to run on the device or a new package you may be working on that isn't yet included in a product configuration.

Verify that the example packages were added to the build:

fx list-packages example

Explore build targets using GN

GN comes with a powerful set of diagnostic tools that allow you to examine the targets configured in your build. Follow along to discover how to use fx gn subcommands to explore the build targets.

Begin by using the desc command to print details about the //examples bundle you just added to the build.

fx gn desc out/default //examples

This command prints details about the target type and all its dependencies. For the //examples bundle, the dependencies list represents the individual example packages added to the build.

Explore the details of the hello-world target using the same command.

fx gn desc out/default //examples/hello_world:hello-world

This target represents a package containing multiple components, so you will see additional dependencies such as component manifests and package metadata.

Go down one more level to explore the hello-world-rust component.

fx gn desc out/default //examples/hello_world/rust:hello-world-rust-component

From the perspective of a specific target, such as the hello-world-rust component, you can also look upwards in the build graph using the refs command. This reports the incoming references to the given target.

fx gn refs out/default //examples/hello_world/rust:hello-world-rust-component

Finally, use the path command to report the reference chain between any two targets. This can be useful to determine where and how your target is included in the build at all by checking the reference path between your target and //:default.

fx gn path out/default //:default //examples/hello_world:hello-world

Run the example in the emulator

Run fx build again to build the updated packages:

fx build

Use the ffx component command to run a Hello World component example:

ffx component run fuchsia-pkg://

Open a new terminal window and filter the device logs for messages from the example:

ffx log --filter hello

You should see the following output in the device logs:

[hello-world-cpp][I] Hello, World!

Create a new build product

Create a new directory under //vendor called fuchsia-codelab:

mkdir -p vendor/fuchsia-codelab

Create a new file fuchsialab.gni under //vendor/fuchsia-codelab/products with the following contents:

# Extend the workstation product

This creates a new product called fuchsialab that extends workstation, inheriting all the package labels it defines.

Verify that the build system recognizes your new product with the fx list-products command. You should see fuchsialab in the product list.

fx list-products

Add packages to your product

To customize the specific packages included with your product, add them to the labels for the appropriate package set in your product configuration.

Add the following lines to //vendor/fuchsia-codelab/products/fuchsialab.gni to include the Hello World example in your custom product:

universe_package_labels += [

Build your new product

Reconfigure the build for the fuchsialab product, running on the FEMU board:

fx set fuchsialab.qemu-x64

Verify that the Hello World example package is now part of the build:

fx list-packages hello

Run fx build to generate a new image for your custom product:

fx build

Restart the emulator

Close any emulator instances you currently have open. Start a new FEMU instance with networking support:

fx vdl start -N --start-package-server

When startup is complete, the emulator prints the following message and opens a shell prompt:

To support fx tools on emulator, please run "fx set-device fuchsia-5254-0063-5e7a"

Inspect the device

Open another terminal window and run the following command to print the details of your device target:

ffx target show

Look for the build configuration of the target output:

Version: "2000-01-01T12:00:00+00:00"
Product: "fuchsialab"
Board: "qemu-x64"
Commit: "2000-01-01T12:00:00+00:00"

Congratulations! You just built your own custom product based on Fuchsia!