keeping all things up to date

Chad Perrin perrin at
Tue Apr 17 21:12:44 UTC 2007

On Tue, Apr 17, 2007 at 02:58:34PM +0200, Michael Grant wrote:
> >Just as an example that just came up recently: gettext was updated in
> >the ports tree, which required a rebuild of all ports that depend on
> >it. I missed reading /usr/ports/UPDATING before, so I didn't notice
> >this fact. I did an update on my girlfriends laptop which resulted in
> >several applications not being usable anymore. Imagine my face as I
> >had to explain to her why she was unable to use her machine for one
> >and a half day.
> >Another lesson learned...
> >
> >That's why I agree to Chad: Doing automatic updates isn't advisable.
> >They might even come at the wrong time, e.g. when you need your system
> >resources. I'm thinking about monsters like OpenOffice, GNOME or KDE.
> Wait, before this gets out of hand, yes, I've been bitten with gettext
> more than once over the years.  Mostly I'm worried about bug fixes in
> the OS and in the ports I've installed.  I'm not talking about massive
> upgrade from one version of the OS to another.
> What would be nice to see is some script that would sort out
> dependencies and update things sanely.
> I think we're all guilty at some point of not having read UPDATING and
> updating something.    It would be nice if there was something could
> watch out for certain conditions and then print out the relevant
> section from UPDATING on the screen.
> Those are just some obvious ideas.  However, there are unix systems,
> for example Ubuntu, which has a sort of package manager that handles
> automated updates that sorts out dependencies.  I was just wondering
> if anyone had done anything like that for FreeBSD?

Ubuntu just uses Debian's APT.  Most of the time it works like a charm.
Sometimes, it produces frustrating failures -- like updating gettext
without reading UPDATING, except you don't have UPDATING and sometimes
don't have any warning at all.

I prefer what I've encountered of FreeBSD's approach.  If someone can
point me at software that will do something similar to APT but without
the occasional bit of failure to which that sort of "do everything for
me" system is prone, I'd be happy to have it -- but I'm not sure it
exists, or would even be easy enough to create that we'll see it any
time soon.

If you have specific ideas about what parts of the updating process are
"safe", you might try writing a few shell or Perl scripts that automate
those steps -- then share them with the rest of the world.  You might
also, if writing such scripts is too far outside your expertise, simply
put together a carefully crafted list of steps you think should be taken
so you can pass it on to others like myself who might be more likely to
write the code (at which point I/he/she can give it back to you for your
own use).

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
"Real ugliness is not harsh-looking syntax, but having to
build programs out of the wrong concepts." - Paul Graham

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