Minimal skills

Brandon helsley brandon.helsley at
Thu Jun 4 08:15:16 UTC 2020

I started using FreeBSD about 2 months ago and have purchased books like absolute freebsd and have learned a lot.
I can set up a desktop environment that has all the programs I need, so that's not the problem. It's that I want to progress past simple editing of configuration files and minor system administration tasks like the crontab. I want to try and stick with FreeBSD as my main and probably mostly only OS. Meaning, I would like to skip the ubuntu step. It seems as though the FreeBSD docs is the way to go. Just read it over a few times, as well as the porters handbook. I'll get straight to it so I can contribute to ports and docs, even if it takes a couple years!!!



> On Jun 4, 2020 at 12:23 AM, Polytropon  <freebsd at>  wrote:
>  On Wed, 3 Jun 2020 23:56:37 -0600, Brandon helsley wrote:  >  Thank you, I'm minimally familiar with the port files but I know  >  where and what they are, so I think it would be a great starting  >  point. I think so, too. The handbook sections about updating and using the ports collection is a real treasure trove.  >  So is this kind of contribution limited to submitting patches or  >  is there some kind of other persistent communication with the  >  "upstream", whatever that means. Depends on the project / port. I would probably check the docs that come with the port and see how they ("upstream" - those who write and maintain the initial program) would like the contributors to communicate. For FreeBSD (as the OS), patches are the easiest way of adding something new; they can be submitted with a bug report and request for inclusion.  >  Could you tell me what this tool "diff" is. A diff (the tool, the process, and its result) means "difference". For example, if you find a manpag
e where the explanation for a certain option is missing, you take the original file, make a working copy of it, change that working copy, and create a file that contains the difference (i. e., the diff, also often called the patch) between the original and the updated version. This diff can then be sent to the FreeBSD team, and they will apply it; the next issue of FreeBSD will then contain the updated manpage instead of the original one. See "man diff" and "man patch" for details. Persons who have proven to be trusted contributors will get direct access to the source code repository: they can check in their changes by themselves. Here is a simplified outline of the process: # cd /usr/src/bin/ls # cp  ls.1   ls.1.orig  # vim  ls.1  ... you make your changes ... :wq # diff  ls.1   ls.1.orig   >   ls.1.diff  Now  ls.1.diff  is what will be submitted. On the FreeBSD team's side, something like this happens: # cd /usr/src/bin/ls # patch  <   ls.1.diff  # svn commit Yes, this is actually 
_very_ simplified. :-)  >  I' bet I'll have to learn it myself but if you could give me  >  an overview and familiarize me that would be great too. You will definitely have to learn the required tools, but in my opinion, that's worth doing it, and documentation contributors are one of the most important people in a project. Never undervalue good documentation.  >  Right now I already have dedicated a PC to FreeBSD. I'm quite  >  intimidated by the editing of configuration files but have  >  managed to install and configure fluxbox and other simple  >  GUI's. That is an excellent starting point. So more or less, you already have the foundation for further work. You can refine such an environment by choosing what window manager or desktop environment fits your needs best, what programs (web browsers, editors, PDF viewers and so on) you like best, and tailor the installation for optimal use.  >  I'm currently working on making it a mail server but am stuck  >  for now. Why do you want t
o make a PC (I assume it is intended to be used as a workstation) a mail _server_? Not that this is impossible - don't get me wrong! -, but what is the reason? I would even say it's probably better to install a MUA (a mail user agent, an "email program", a mailer) so you can use it to conveniently (!) read and write mails. There are many GUI MUAs that you can use, or if you prefer, you can use a TUI (text-mode based) mailer in an X terminal, if that is your choice. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with installing and using Thunderbird, the de-facto standard mailer nowadays.  >  Other than simple configurations like firewalls or jails or  >  virtualbox I find FreeBSD difficult too learn. Everything worth learning might look hard at the beginning. But always remember: If you feel learning is hard, that's just a sign that your brain is _actually_ learning, i. e., it does what you want it to do. The brain likes learning.  >  I'll work on understanding port files and sources as my nex
t step. The Porter's Handbook provides a great overview. You can see it in action with your installed ports tree. You should also understand the purpose and basic use of Subversion (svn), as version control is a significant aspect of working both with the ports collection and the system sources, if you want to do more than just using it to install stuff. The answers to questions like "What do I have to do?" mostly depend on _you_ answering the question "What do you want to do?" ;-) -- Polytropon Magdeburg, Germany Happy FreeBSD user since  4.0  Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ... 

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list