Unable to upgrade packages on FreeBSD

Bas Smeelen b.smeelen at ose.nl
Mon Jan 30 23:01:17 UTC 2012

On Mon, 30 Jan 2012 17:04:56 -0500
David Jackson <djackson452 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 3:58 PM, Bas Smeelen <b.smeelen at ose.nl> wrote:
> > On Mon, 30 Jan 2012 12:52:07 -0500
> > David Jackson <djackson452 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > I have tried endlessly to no avail to upgrade binary the packages
> > > on Freebsd to the latest version. I have tried:
> > >
> > > *portupgrade -PP -a
> > > *portmaster -PP -a
> > > *pkg_update
> > >
> > > All fail miserably and totally and have left the system in an
> > > unuseable state.
> >
> > What's unusable? For instance, servers are perfectly usable without
> > graphical tools. If you have tried `endlessly` why didn't you
> > consult /usr/ports/UPDATING and just recompile the ports without
> > using binary packages?
> > Or you might want to try PCBSD, it's FreeBSD with some fancy stuff
> > taken care of which might solve the problem you complain about.
> > >
> >
> I wish to use binary packages and I specifically do not want to
> compile anything, it tends to take far too long to compile programs
> and would rather install some packages and have it all work right
> away. Binary packages are a big time saver and are more efficient. It
> should be easy for FreeBSD to make it easy to install the most recent
> versions of all binary packages, its beyond belief they cannot pull
> off such a simple ans straight forward, and basic part of any OS.

I understand your motivations. 
On my 1,6GHz celeron it takes a lot of time to compile the ~600 ports I
use, especially chromium for instance and when I forget to give an
option to not bother me with questions it sits there waiting for me to
enter y or n.
Ports/ packages are not `a basic part` of the FreeBSD OS. I also don't
think it is simple and straight forward to satisfy all different user
requirements and options in a package system. Ubuntu for my taste has
had flukes in many ways many times in the past and still has (often
enough the developers desktop users complain). It works good with
complete upgrades at times, on the other hand it still leaves me
sometimes with an unusable freezing OS on the desktop, and before every
upgrade it has becomes mandatory to me to first try it with an USB boot.
This is something I cannot have on server systems being used 24x7.

> > > Why can't FreeBSD just make the package system "just work". Right
> > > after installing FreeBSD I should be able to type a single command
> > > such as update_packages and it should update all packages on the
> > > system, with no errors and without requiring any configurations
> > > to be troubleshooted, it should work out of the box.
> > >
> > > Why not? Why is something so simple so difficult and impossible?
> > > Ubuntu can do it, why not FreeBSD?
> >
> > FreeBSD unlike Ubuntu is an entirely volunteer project. Ubuntu has
> > a dedicated corporation working on it and I guess a larger user
> > base.
> >
> The reason that FreeBSD has a smaller user base is because it has a
> dysfunctional package system and it is hard to upgrade package to the
> most recent version, making FreeBSD more difficult to use/
> But doing a workable package system is not difficult, it something
> that FreeBSD should be easily able to make it easy to have a way to
> upgrade packages to most recent versions out of box anbd in an error
> free and reliable way.
> > >
> > > Why cant FreeBSD  Just make the package upgrades work.
> >
> > Because uh well it's not up to FreeBSD since the ports work
> > perfectly with the documentation that comes with it or it might
> > depend on the user base also, but _you_ can help to make binary
> > package upgrades work better.
> >
> >
> > A working package system is a part of any good operating system and
> > saves
> time from having to compile programs. It is more convenient for most
> users to use packages so having a package system will make FreeBSD
> more popular. the reason freebsd is not used by as many people as
> Ubuntu is because of the extreme difficulty and unreliability of
> using FreeBSD.

Well, if you are talking about desktop work places, you're
probably right. This is what PCBSD is for, or even Ubuntu or other
'Operating Systems'
On servers however FreeBSD is extremely reliable. It requires the
operator to take care of the system, OS updates and upgrades are rock
solid for decades and application (ports/ packages) updates/
upgrades require the operator to evaluate the changes in detail. I have
had a lot of trouble by the ease of upgrade/ update on other 'OS'
applications which I did not encounter on FreeBSD because FreeBSD
required me to think about what I was doing and then it
goes well the first time.

> FreeBSD does not HAVE to make the system reasonably easy to use for
> common users who want to install packages, but it would be the right
> thing to do, especially if FreeBSD wants more users.

Again PCBSD might be an option.
It depends on what kind of users. Users who think and can rely on a
rock solid OS or users who just upgrade/ update and then sit with
failing application services, database changes and so on, because they
did not read the application notes, which gets blamed on the OS anyway.

There is a good reason for FreeBSD to have a distinction between OS
and applications/ ports/ packages. It works great for me.

In short: FreeBSD makes you think about what you are doing beforehand
which makes a great way to upgrade/ update application, database e.g.
on servers whithout running into service downtime. Other OS's don't or
do it less. I like that a lot, it saves a lot of incoming phone calls.

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