Not able to install firefox 4 from 8.2 stable packages

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sun May 22 08:41:58 UTC 2011

On 22/05/2011 06:35, Xn Nooby wrote:
> I'm a struggling nooby.  I am trying to install firefox 4 on a fresh
> 8.2 installation. I want to the core system to track the "errata"
> branch, and get binary packages from 8-stable (which has firefox 4).
> I installed FreeBSD 8.2 release.
> # freebsd-update fetch install
> rebooted
> # portsnap fetch extract
> use BASH shell
> # export PACKAGESITE=""
> installed x11 and icewm
> # pkg_add -r firefox
> get perl conflict between 5.10 and 5.12
> # pkg_add -fr firefox
> firefox installs but I get "firefox3" instead of firefox 4.0
> # pkg_info| grep firefox
> shows "firefox-3.6.13,1"
> trying to use source
> # cd /usr/ports/www/firefox
> # make install clean
> get errors about firefox 4.0.1 needing nspr>=4.8.7
> # pkg_add -r nspr
> says nspr-4.8.6 or older is already installed

   # portsnap fetch update
   # cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portmaster
   # make install
   # portmaster --check-depends
   # portmaster www/firefox

Portmaster will upgrade any out-of-date dependencies for you, which will
include upgrading devel/nspr to version 4.8.7 (the latest available in
ports at this time) as part of the process of compiling and installing
the software from ports.

Your experience illustrates some of the biggest problems with

   -- there's no concept of 'alternate dependencies' in compiled
    packages.  This means that if you install software that has, eg. a
    dependency on perl using packages from, then you
    will have to install the default lang/perl5.10 perl port.  If you
    install from source using the ports then the system is a lot more
    flexible and will allow you to mix and match whatever versions you
    require a lot more freely.

  -- similarly, the dependencies recorded in a pkg list exactly the
    versions they were compiled against.  pkg_add will accept a *newer*
    version of a pkg when it is trying pull down any dependency
    packages, but not an older one, even if the software would work
    perfectly well when compiled against the older version.   There
    isn't a mechanism for saying eg. "this pkg needs any version of
    foobar>=3.1.459 because that's where some critical functionality
    was introduced"

  -- just using the standard pkg tools doesn't give you much room to
    understand what alternative versions of software are available, or
    guide you in choosing between them.  So there are currently 8
    different ports named matching 'firefox*', including 3 different
    upstream software versions, plus options to do with
    internationalization.  You'ld need to investigate the pkg-descr
    files via or or by installing the ports tree, in
    order to make an informed choice (and you'ld need to know that
    those resources existed; not necessarily obvious to a beginner).

  -- it can be difficult to mix and match pkgs from several different
    repositories or from a mixture of packages and ported software; not
    because of any functional difference between pkgs and ports
    (because there isn't any) but because of dependency and version
    conflicts.  Also, the concept of 'multiple package repositories'
    hasn't really penetrated the FreeBSD psyche.  If you are using pkgs
    but not from the official FreeBSD pkg archive, then you've probably
    rolled your own local pkg system which you use exclusively.

There is work going on to change this situation -- search the list
archives for discussion of pkgNG and PC-PSD's .pci format if you're
interested. In the mean time, many people find that installing
everything from source via the ports is the least frustrating method,
albeit at the cost of spending more time running compilations.



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

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