Newbie questions (updating, ports, etc.)
macerl at telkomsa.net
Thu Dec 3 10:25:13 UTC 2009
I recently installed FreeBSD 8.0-RELEASE on my home desktop and am considering
making the switch from Debian GNU/Linux.
I have a few questions which I am hoping the list can clarify for me.
1.) Keeping installed ports/packages up to date.
As far as I can tell from the docs, perhaps the most convenient method is to
use something like:
# portsnap fetch update
# pkgdb -F
# portupgrade --batch -aP (do I need an "R" here?)
which should first try to find a package from the repositories and failing that
will fall back to a port. What is the current wisdom here?
Is it safe to use the --batch switch? As far as I understand, this will use
the configuration defaults and not prompt the user whenever a port requires
some user (options) configuration. Is this interpretation correct? Otherwise,
is there a way to get portupgrade to use the defaults non-interactively, to
automate the process.
Related to the above, are the default options that appear in the ncurses
dialogues the same as those used in the building of packages?
2.) Evolution of ports (and packages) versus evolution of the base system.
Reading the docs makes it clear that FreeBSD maintains is a rigorous
distinction between the base system and add-on packages (ports). This is very
appealing. However, as far as I can tell so far, even though my base system is
8.0 -RELEASE (and remains fixed between releases?), the ports continuously
evolve (are updated). Is my understanding correct that by tracking a RELEASE
system I can have "bleeding edge" (or close) versions of ports? Or, do I need
to track STABLE of CURRENT for that?
3.) Upgrading ports seems to take considerable time (at least with my
experiments on a 5 year old Pentium IV). I am keen to adopt FreeBSD as my
desktop for work (Physics Professor, Research and teaching). Is it feasible
in a work environment to upgrade ports without getting bogged down in a
compile-a-thon, leaving one with a useless workstation. (My target machine
will be an 8-core HP z600 (Xeon) which leads me to believe that I could do the
upgrading in the background while I continue to work uninterrupted. I'd like
to hear others experiences here.)
Sorry for the long post, but I could not find clarification on the above in the
Handbook and other sources I've read.
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