Free BSD 8.1

perryh at perryh at
Mon Sep 27 06:49:53 UTC 2010

Matthew Seaman <m.seaman at> wrote:
> On 26/09/2010 13:30:19, Michel Talon wrote:
> > Matthew Seaman said
> >> Be aware that installing the ports tree from the DVD images
> >> is not the ideal way to do it ... it is better to ... grab
> >> an up-to-date copy of the ports directly from the net.
> > 
> > I disagree with that ...  Another option is to install
> > the ports tree from the  DVD,and install corresponding
> > precompiled packages ... and *not* updating the ports
> > tree ...

I suspect the best results can be had from an approach in between
these; details below.

> ... being up-to-date with the ports tree generally *does*
> give you better results than not.

> Ports are a moving target, dependent entirely on upstream changes.

This last is an oversimplification.  Not all ports even _have_ an
upstream, and those that do (granted, the great majority) depend
not only on upstream changes but also on the maintainer's and
committers' ability to keep up with those changes.

> Expecting that a snapshot taken months or weeks ago will work
> just as well as one updated in the last hour is plain daft ...
> ported software generally does improve over time.  Updates that
> fix problems are way more common that updates that introduce them
> ...

Couldn't this as well be said of FreeBSD itself?  If it were
universally accepted, there would be no need for the stable
or security branches and the considerable effort that goes
into maintaining them:  everyone would just run -CURRENT.

One _huge_ advantage of starting with a release _and its
corresponding set of ports & packages_ is that everything
is self-consistent.  This tends not to be true of snapshots
taken between releases, if only because no one has time to
do that much release engineering for every update of every

I tried to follow the OP's approach a few years ago, and got
burned rather badly.  By the time I had the system working
well enough to start on the project I had intended to work on,
the time budgeted for the setup _and_ the work had been almost
entirely consumed in setup!  I get the impression that M. Talon
may have had similar experiences.

I've recently started on a new system, and am planning to install
8.1-RELEASE, including the corresponding ports tree; then install
what ports I can from packages and also fetch the corresponding
distfiles; and finally build -- from release-corresponding ports --
any that aren't available as packages or where I want non-default
OPTION settings.  That approach should avoid most nasty surprises
while getting things set up and working.  _After_ everything is
installed and configured properly will be plenty soon enough to
consider whether any ports need to be updated -- and the already-
installed-and-working package collection will provide a fallback
in case of trouble trying to build any updated versions.

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