[FreeBSD-Ports-Announce] Time to bid farewell to the old pkg_ tools

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at infracaninophile.co.uk
Thu Feb 6 06:45:40 UTC 2014

On 05/02/2014 23:57, Kevin Oberman wrote:
> 1. The ports/packages system is not total crap. In fact, at the time jkh
> started it, it was far superior to any tool available.

When I first encountered the ports, way back in 1998 or so, I was
completely mind-blown that something so fantastic could exist.  Yes, it
was revolutionary at the time and right where FreeBSD should be --
leading the rest of the world with great innovations.

However, things have changed in the last 16 years. Development of the
ports as a global concept has been resting on its laurels a bit, and the
rest of the world has caught up, and indeed overtaken.   Partly that was
due to the mindset of seeing binary packages as a second-class thing;
partly due to the old pkg_tools not providing the scope to implement
innovative features; partly due to pkg_tools being part of the FreeBSD
base, so impossible to update over reasonable timescales due to the
requirement to support older RELEASE branches.

pkg(8) addresses those problems, and I hope will do so for at least the
next decade.

> 5. The introduction of pkgng could have really been handled better and that
> probably increased the negative feelings about it. It was also a bit before
> it was really ready. It still lacks a few features I feel are quite
> important, but they were also missing from the old system.

I don't think it's possible to make a change of this magnitude without
upsetting anyone.  We have been getting a lot of feedack on the lines of
'Wow! This is great.  When can we have feature XYZ?'  to which we
frequently have to reply that XYZ can't be implemented without breaking
compatibility with pkg_tools.  Like sub-packages.

I'd be interested to hear what features you think are missing.  We will
implement anything (eventually...) that there is demand for and that is
technically feasible, and that fits with the overall concept of what we
think a packaging system should do.  There's a number of ideas in the
github issue list already (usually tagged with 'longterm' or 'thinking')
and we are happy for people to add to that, or to discuss ideas -- the
freebsd-pkg@ list is a good place for that.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.

PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey
JID: matthew at infracaninophile.co.uk

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