greetings from FreeBSD DLL Hell!

Chuck Swiger cswiger at
Wed Mar 23 17:42:46 PST 2005

N.J. Thomas wrote:
> I installed FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE and was installing packages via "pkg_add
> -r foo". This worked, but it went and downloaded older versions of
> various programs (i.e. Mozilla Firefox 0.9). How can I tell pkg_add to
> use the "5-latest" (5-STABLE? RELENG_5_3?) branch? Do I have to update
> my sources before I can do this?

You do not have to update the FreeBSD sources to use the latest version of tha 
ports, no.  However, you do need to update the ports tree itself:

See section 4.5 in particular, using cvsup, although it sounds like you've 
already done some of this....

> So after I installed 5.3 yesterday I installed some packages with
> pkg_add -r (which used the 5.3-RELEASE versions of the software), and
> then installed some other stuff with ports, and then updated ports with
> cvsup and then installed yet some more stuff, and now I seem to find
> myself in the FreeBSD equivalent of "DLL Hell". Should I just blow my
> system away and start from scratch? Is that the best course of action to
> take at this point?

Oh, goodness no-- almost anything that goes wrong with a system can be fixed 
without reinstalling.  The key is to solve the problem the right way.  :-)

Try installing sysutils/portupgrade, and run "portupgrade -ai" to begin with. 
  That will likely solve many of your issues, although if you have some of the 
more complicated ports installed (think Perl, KDE, GNOME), consult 
/usr/ports/UPDATING for additional help and suggestions.


PS: Another choice besides portupgrade is sysutils/portmanager; it uses a 
different approach to dealing with dependencies that may involve compiling 
more stuff, but also seems to be little more robust in the face of complex 
dependency changes...

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