ports versus packages

Dan Nelson dnelson at allantgroup.com
Thu May 22 21:45:05 PDT 2003

In the last episode (May 23), David Banning said:
> I was talking to a debian Linux guy the other day who preferred
> debians' precompiled packages because, as he put it, "you just load
> it, and go, and it always works -."

Note that a FreeBSD user can do exactly the same thing by choosing to
use packages, either by using "pkg_add -r" or "portupgrade -PP".  Or a
debian user can choose to download and build from source, using
"apt-get source".  I've done both myself.

> What is the benifit for us to compile versus just installing the package?
> - and how come we tend to use the pre-compiled packages less than some
> of our fellow *nix users? - (at least that's my perception)

I like it because it lets me pick my own settings for a particular
package.  uw-imap, for example, defaults to disallowing plaintext
passwords, and you have to recompile to enable it.  Or consider the
mutt port, which has many optional patches that can be applied.  Then
there's the case of software that cannot be redistributed in binary
format with modifications, like qmail.

	Dan Nelson
	dnelson at allantgroup.com

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