Port Changes FAQ

Matthew Seaman matthew at FreeBSD.org
Sun Jun 15 07:57:17 UTC 2014

On 15/06/2014 00:53, Chris Maness wrote:
> I have not been keeping up with all of the changes going on with
> FreeBSD.  I received a couple of end of life notices, so I have
> upgraded and I am good till fall.  Is there a place where I can find
> out all the changes that are happening so that I am not asking the
> same question that might have already been asked many times here?

There is a lot going on in the ports at the moment.  We're removing some
things that have caused a logjam in ports development for many years,
and consequently running to catch up on a lot of ports system
infrastructure changes which ideally would have happened long ago and at
a more gradual pace.

An important date is this September, which is when pkg_tools will
finally reach EoL.  Removing pkg_tools support is going to enable a lot
more modernization in the ports tree.  pkg-1.3 should be out sometime
this summer too, and that has some significant changes to do with
solving dependency requirements, which will make a big difference to end

As polytropon said else-thread, the new pkg(8) stuff basically adds
state-of-the-art binary package management.   It most certainly doesn't
take away the ability to use the ports to build from source.  However,
pretty intimately connected with pkg(8) there is also poudriere(8) which
gives you the best of both worlds: the control and customizability of
building everything from source and the speed and convenience of
maintaining your live systems by installing binary packages.  It's well
worth giving poudriere a spin, even if you've only got a few machines to

How to keep up current with all these changes?  You can pick up a lot by
reading the /usr/ports/CHANGES file, but that's a bit bare of context.
The most effective method is probably to follow the ports at ... mailing
list -- but that involves wading through a lot of other traffic to pick
out the bits that might interest you.  The ports-announce at ... list is
good too, but doesn't necessarily carry everything relevant.  The
quarterly reports should provide a reasonable overview of activities,
but they only show up every 3 months.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey

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