cfg-update equivalent?

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sat Apr 5 08:16:49 UTC 2008

Andy Christianson wrote:
> In Gentoo, there is a program called cfg-update that will help to merge
> new configuration options that come with a new version of software when
> you do a system update from portage.

> Does FreeBSD have any equivalent to this that ensures that configuration
> files work after updating software with portupgrade?

Portage and ports work in vary different ways despite the similarity of
outcome.  In particular, the ports have the massive advantage of being
separated from the base system under FreeBSD.  This means that there are
great swathes of functionality that can simply be assumed, and need no
configuration knobs to deal with.  Also, dare I say it, FreeBSD developers
understand the principles of maintaining constant ABIs and APIs and
adhering to POLA rather better than what I've seen of Gentoo.

As for maintaining the configuration files used by installed ports, well
again, the philosophy is completely different here as well.  How a port is
configured is held to be no business at all of the port and entirely in the
control of the system administrator.

You don't get spoon-fed a pre-packaged configuration.  The disadvantage here
is that the system administrator has to think about what they are doing --
so it takes more time and effort to make things work right.  Of course, the
advantage here is that the system administrator has to think about what they
are doing -- so the system is going to be made to work right straight from
the beginning and the people maintaining it will have learned a lot more about
keeping it working right.

On installation, ports can suggest to the adminstrator what to do next; they
cannot prescribe such. Which means that if you want to set things up in a way
that the port maintainer, or indeed the software author, had never contemplated
even in their wildest dreams, well so you can.  And no necessity to unpick
someone else's idea of the right way to do it (which would inevitably be
reimposed after any updates) beforehand either.

In short, the answer to your question is "no."



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP:     Ramsgate
                                                  Kent, CT11 9PW

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