Dune supports installing packages on the system, i.e., copying freshly built artifacts from the workspace to the system. The install stanza takes three pieces of information:

  • The list of files or directories to install

  • The package to attach these files. This field is optional if your project contains a single package.

  • The section in which the files will be installed

For instance:

 (files hello.txt)
 (section share)
 (package mypackage))

Indicate that the file hello.txt in the current directory is to be installed in <prefix>/share/mypackage.

The following sections are available:










executable bit is set



executable bit is set



executable bit is set



executable bit is set











executable bit is set





(see below)


absolute destination

(see below)

(site (<package> <site>))

<site> directory of <package>

(see below)

Additional remarks:

  • For man, the exact destination is inferred from the file extension. For example, foo.1 is installed as <prefix>/man/man1/foo.1.

  • misc only works when using opam. In that case, the user will be prompted before installation. This mechanism is deprecated.

  • In the case of (site), if the prefix isn’t the same as the one used when installing <package>, <package> won’t find the files.

Normally, Dune uses the file’s basename to determine the file’s name once installed; however, you can change that by using the form (<filename> as <destination>) in the files field. For instance, to install a file mylib.el as <prefix>/emacs/site-lisp/mylib.el, you must write the following:

 (section share_root)
 (files   (mylib.el as emacs/site-lisp/mylib.el)))

The mode of installed files is fully determined by the section they are installed in. If the section above is documented as with the executable bit set, they are installed with mode 0o755 (rwxr-xr-x); otherwise they are installed with mode 0o644 (rw-r--r--).

Note that all files in the install stanza must be specified by relative paths only. It is an error to specify files by absolute paths.

Also note that as of dune-lang 3.11 (i.e., (lang dune 3.11) in dune-project) it is deprecated to use the as keyword to specify a destination beginning with ... Dune intends for files associated with a package to only be installed under specific directories in the file system implied by the installation section (e.g., share, bin, doc, etc.) and the package name. Starting destination paths with .. allows packages to install files to arbitrary locations on the file system. In 3.11, this behaviour is still supported (as some projects may depend on it) but will generate a warning and will be removed in a future version of Dune.

Including Files in the Install Stanza

You can include external files from the files and dirs fields of the install stanza:

 (files (include foo.sexp))
 (section share))

Here the file foo.sexp must contain a single S-expression list, whose elements will be included in the list of files or directories to install. That is, elements may be of the form:

  • <filename>

  • (<filename> as <destination>)

  • (include <filename>)

Included files may be generated by rules. Here is an example of a rule which generates a file by listing all the files in a subdirectory resources:

 (deps (source_tree resources))
  (with-stdout-to foo.sexp
  (system "echo '(' resources/* ')'"))))

Globs in the Install Stanza

You can use globs to specify files to install by using the terms (glob_files <glob>) and (glob_files_rec <glob>) inside the files field of the install stanza (but not inside the dirs field). See the glob for details of the glob syntax. The (glob_files <glob>) term will expand its argument within a single directory, whereas the (glob_files_rec <glob>) term will recursively expand its argument within all subdirectories.

For example:

  (glob_files style/*.css)
  (glob_files_rec content/*.html))
 (section share))

This example will install:

  • All files matching *.css in the style directory.

  • All files matching *.html in the content directory, or any of its descendant subdirectories.

Note that the paths to files are preserved after installation. Suppose the source directory contained the files style/foo.css and content/bar/baz.html. The example above will place these files in share/<package>/style/foo.css and share/<package>/content/bar/baz.html respectively where <package> is the name of the package (ie. dune-project would contain (package (name <package>))).

The with_prefix keyword can be used to change the destination path of files matched by a glob, similar to the as keyword in the (files ...) field. with_prefix changes the prefix of a path before the component matched by the * to some new value. For example:

  (glob_files (style/*.css with_prefix web/stylesheets))
  (glob_files_rec (content/*.html with_prefix web/documents)))
 (section share))

Continuing the example above, this would result in the source file at style/foo.css being installed to share/<package>/web/stylesheets/foo.css and content/bar/baz.html being installed to share/<package>/web/documents/bar/baz.html. Note in the latter case with_prefix only replaced the content component of the path and not the bar component since since it replaces the prefix of the glob - not the prefix of paths matching the glob.

Installing Globs from Parent Directories

The default treatment of paths in globs creates a complication where referring to globs in a parent directory such as (glob_files ../*.txt) would attempt to install the matched files outside the designated install directory. For example writing:

 (files (glob_files ../*.txt))
 (section share))

…would cause Dune to attempt to install the matching files to share/<package>/../, ie. share where <package> is the name of the package (i.e., dune-project would contain (package (name <package>))). This is probably not what the user intends, and installing files to relative paths beginning with .. is deprecated from version 3.11 of Dune and will become an error in a future version.

The solution is to use with_prefix to replace the .. with some other path. For example:

 (files (glob_files (../*.txt with_prefix .)))
 (section share))

…would install the matched files to share/<package>/ instead.

Handling of the .exe Extension on Windows

Under Microsoft Windows, executables must be suffixed with .exe. Dune tries to ensure that executables are always installed with this extension on Windows.

More precisely, when installing a file via an (install ...) stanza, Dune implicitly adds the .exe extension to the destination, if the source file has extension .exe or .bc and if it’s not already present

Installing Source Directories

To install entire source directories, the source_tree field can be used:

 (section doc)
 (source_trees manual))

This example results in the contents of the manual directory being installed under <prefix>/doc/<package>/manual/.

As with (files ...) the destination can be changed with the as keyword. For example if you want to install all the files in the manual directory directly into <prefix>/doc/<package>/ you can write:

 (section doc)
 (source_trees (manual as .)))

It’s also possible to specify multiple directories:

 (section doc)
 (source_trees manual examples))

This would result in the local directories manual and examples being installed to <prefix>/doc/<package>/manual/ and <prefix>/doc/<package>/examples/ respectively.

Unlike with (files ...) it is an error to begin the destination (the right-hand side of as) with ... (This is because support for installing source directories was added to Dune after destinations beginning with .. were deprecated.)