Best practices for managing tweaked ports

Michaël Grünewald michael.grunewald at
Tue Feb 5 12:05:33 UTC 2008

Dear FreeBSD folks,

I am seeking for a word in advice in how to automatically tweak some
applications, possibly making packages for them.

Long version:

The XDM software provides an example to illustrate the issues: I have
written scripts and configuration files that tweaked XDM to my fancy,
and I wonder how use them to a large (large has a magnitude of 2 :) )

The current solution is: I have a post install shell script that plugs
my files into appropriate location. This works but there is two

  1. I have to run that post install shell script on each targetted

  2. The home-made files are alien to package management tools, and
     cause (little) trouble int package management tools operation.

Here are solutions I envisaged, I would like to know about pitfalls,
recommendations, user experience, etc., with these:

  1. I do use portupgrade, so I could use A/B (afterinstall,
     beforebuild) switches, hooks in pkgtools.conf as a base for a
     simple `port tweaking framework'. This would however not produce
     packages with tweakings wired in.

  2. I could prepare ports dedicated to tweaking, i.e. a port that
     installs nothing but configuration files. I am afraid this cannot
     be done in a straightforward manner, since a given file (say
     /usr/local/lib/X11/xdm/Xresources) cannot be managed by two
     packages (the one made from the original XDM, and the one made
     from the XDM tweaker port) .

  3. I could prepare a port derived from the original XDM port, that
     adds any tweaking, and play with pkgtools.conf to remap port
     dependencies adequately.

As stated in the introduction, I would be very glad to get your
advices, from your direct experience in this topic as well as `a
Many thanks for your attention.

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