Ports/Packages Philosophy

Sean Cavanaugh millenia2000 at hotmail.com
Wed May 7 15:29:32 UTC 2008

> Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 07:53:37 -0600
> From: modulok at gmail.com
> To: ewqdsacxz900 at yahoo.com
> CC: freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
> Subject: Re: Ports/Packages Philosophy
> On 5/6/08, Dsiuh Djsids <ewqdsacxz900 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > I am interested to know what some of your software installing/updating
> > philosophies are regarding ports/packages on either a server or a home
> > desktop. For example, how often do you update your software and when you do,
> > do you run something like 'portupgrade -a' or individually take care of each
> > piece of software?
> Upgrades...unless they're very pressing security issues that directly relate
> to the well-being of my server, I upgrade as rarely as possible. Upgrading
> things has a tendency to break stuff at the most inopportune time. Frankly,
> I'm not sure why everyone is so adamant about having the latest updates. If
> the program does what I require, I would rather have a more aged version
> which has been given time to get the bugs worked out.
> As far as building software, I do this as rarely as possible as well. Unless
> there is a specific functionality which requires a set of non-default
> compiler flags, I use packages. It makes no sense to waste time re-compiling
> the same program, with the same compiler options, for the same processor
> architecture as has already been done by countless others. For example, if
> you ran a lab of 300 identical computers, would you re-compile every program
> on each computer? Probably not. If I can get a pre-compiled binary from a
> reliable source, I'd rater do that, than sit around all day waiting for
> software to build in hopes of benefiting from a few custom build options.

something to think about to is that the ports collection will be more current than packages.
Example of this is GNOME 2.16 being listed in packages collection for a while after GNOME 2.18 came out.
If you use a custom kernel, ports would be compiled to run a bit more optimized for your processor (i.e. 686) than the GENERIC kernel (486-586-686) but good coding of the program should not have this kind of reliance anyway.

if you want the system up and running fast with known working versions, definitely stick with packages.
if you want the latest software, use ports and keep them upgraded.

its always a personal call.

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