6.20. Using Lua

This section describes the status of the Lua libraries in the ports tree and its integration with the ports system.

6.20.1. Introduction

There are many versions of the Lua libraries and corresponding interpreters, which conflict between them (install files under the same name). In the ports tree this problem has been solved by installing each version under a different name using version number suffixes.

The obvious disadvantage of this is that each application has to be modified to find the expected version. But it can be solved by adding some additional flags to the compiler and linker.

6.20.2. Version Selection

To make your port use a specific version of Lua there are two variables available for defining (if only one is defined the other will be set to a default value):

Table 6.33. Variables to Select Lua Versions
VariableDescriptionDefault value
USE_LUAList of versions the port can useAll available versions
USE_LUA_NOTList of versions the port can not useNone

The following is a list of available Lua versions and the corresponding ports in the tree:

Table 6.34. Available Lua Versions

The variables in Table 6.33, “Variables to Select Lua Versions” can be set to one or more of the following combinations separated by spaces:

Table 6.35. Lua Version Specifications
Single version4.0
Ascending range5.0+
Descending range5.0-
Full range (must be ascending)5.0-5.1

There are also some variables to select the preferred versions from the available ones. They can be set to a list of versions, the first ones will have higher priority.

Table 6.36. Variables to Select Preferred Lua Versions
NameDesigned for
WANT_LUA_VERthe port
WITH_LUA_VERthe user

Example 6.12. Selecting the Lua Version

The following fragment is from a port which can use Lua version 5.0 or 5.1, and uses 5.0 by default. It can be overridden by the user with WITH_LUA_VER.

USE_LUA=	5.0-5.1

6.20.3. Component Selection

There are other applications that, while not being Lua libraries, are related to them. These applications can be specified in the LUA_COMPS variable. The following components are available:

Table 6.37. Available Lua Components
NameDescriptionVersion restriction
luamain librarynone
toluaLibrary for accessing C/C++ code4.0-5.0
rubyRuby bindings4.0-5.0


There are more components but they are modules for the interpreter, not used by applications (only by other modules).

The dependency type can be selected for each component by adding a suffix separated by a semicolon. If not present then a default type will be used (see Table 6.39, “Default Lua Dependency Types”). The following types are available:

Table 6.38. Available Lua Dependency Types
buildComponent is required for building, equivalent to BUILD_DEPENDS
runComponent is required for running, equivalent to RUN_DEPENDS
libComponent is required for building and running, equivalent to LIB_DEPENDS

The default values for the components are detailed in the following table:

Table 6.39. Default Lua Dependency Types
ComponentDependency type
lualib for 4.0-5.0 (shared) and build for 5.1 (static)
toluabuild (static)
rubylib (shared)

Example 6.13. Selecting Lua Components

The following fragment corresponds to a port which uses Lua version 4.0 and its Ruby bindings.

USE_LUA=	4.0
LUA_COMPS=	lua ruby

6.20.4. Detecting Installed Versions

To detect an installed version you have to define WANT_LUA. If you do not set it to a specific version then the components will have a version suffix. The HAVE_LUA variable will be filled after detection.

Example 6.14. Detecting Installed Lua Versions and Components

The following fragment can be used in a port that uses Lua if it is installed, or an option is selected.


.include <bsd.port.pre.mk>

.if defined(WITH_LUA5) || !empty(PORT_OPTIONS:MLUA5) || !empty(HAVE_LUA:Mlua-5.[01])
USE_LUA=		5.0-5.1
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=	--enable-lua5

The following fragment can be used in a port that enables tolua support if it is installed or if an option is selected, in addition to Lua, both version 4.0.

USE_LUA=	4.0

.include <bsd.port.pre.mk>

.if defined(WITH_TOLUA) || !empty(PORT_OPTIONS:MTOLUA) || !empty(HAVE_LUA:Mtolua)
LUA_COMPS+=		tolua
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=	--enable-tolua

6.20.5. Defined Variables

The following variables are available in the port (after defining one from Table 6.33, “Variables to Select Lua Versions”).

Table 6.40. Variables Defined for Ports That Use Lua
LUA_VERThe Lua version that is going to be used (e.g., 5.1)
LUA_VER_SHThe Lua shared library major version (e.g., 1)
LUA_VER_STRThe Lua version without the dots (e.g., 51)
LUA_PREFIXThe prefix where Lua (and components) is installed
LUA_SUBDIRThe directory under ${PREFIX}/bin, ${PREFIX}/share and ${PREFIX}/lib where Lua is installed
LUA_INCDIRThe directory where Lua and tolua header files are installed
LUA_LIBDIRThe directory where Lua and tolua libraries are installed
LUA_MODLIBDIRThe directory where Lua module libraries (.so) are installed
LUA_MODSHAREDIRThe directory where Lua modules (.lua) are installed
LUA_PKGNAMEPREFIXThe package name prefix used by Lua modules
LUA_CMDThe path to the Lua interpreter
LUAC_CMDThe path to the Lua compiler
TOLUA_CMDThe path to the tolua program

Example 6.15. Telling the Port Where to Find Lua

The following fragment shows how to tell a port that uses a configure script where the Lua header files and libraries are.

USE_LUA=	4.0

6.20.6. Processing in bsd.port.pre.mk

If you need to use the variables for running commands right after including bsd.port.pre.mk you need to define LUA_PREMK.


If you define LUA_PREMK, then the version, dependencies, components and defined variables will not change if you modify the Lua port variables after including bsd.port.pre.mk.

Example 6.16. Using Lua Variables in Commands

The following fragment illustrates the use of LUA_PREMK by running the Lua interpreter to obtain the full version string, assign it to a variable and pass it to the program.

USE_LUA=	5.0

.include <bsd.port.pre.mk>

.if exists(${LUA_CMD})



The Lua variables can be safely used in commands when they are inside targets without the need of LUA_PREMK.

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