Unable to upgrade packages on FreeBSD

Roland Smith rsmith at xs4all.nl
Tue Jan 31 00:27:05 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 11:49:46PM +0100, Polytropon wrote:
> > Binary
> > packages are a big time saver and are more efficient.
> More efficient? Depends. In regards of installation, they're
> often faster. In regards of spped during operation... well,
> depends. :-)
> The binary packages are compiled from the ports sources with
> the maintainer's default options. Those options might not
> perform optimal on _every_ imaginable system. 

The defaults may also pull in a lot of stuff that you don't need. E.g, the
math/gnuplot port pulls in pdflib, teTeX and wxWidgets (among other things)!
That is quite heavy for a program for making graphs. 

Pdflib is restricted, and gnuplot has a perfectly working pdf output
when the cairo library is used (which is also the default). It also has X11
output without wxWidgets, and TeX support is only really interesting for TeX
users. That's not to criticize the maintainer, who presumably had good reason
to choose these defaults, but to illustrate a problem.

> Just consider X: With or without HAL? With which drivers?

Without! ;-)

> > 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/

I doubt that is the main reason. Maybe for novice desktop users, but those
don't seem to be the majority or even a large part of the userbase.

> I do not agree with this statement. The user base of FreeBSD
> consists of a major amount of people who do not use the
> binary packages, as it seems, because ports work well for
> them.


> > 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.

There is a saying in engineering that everything is easy for the person who
doesn't have to do it.

R.F.Smith                                   http://www.xs4all.nl/~rsmith/
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