help me understand latest->quarterly pkg.conf switch

Glen Barber gjb at
Sat Jul 25 02:04:42 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 09:23:12PM -0400, Nikolai Lifanov wrote:
> On 2015-07-24 17:27, Glen Barber wrote:
> >On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 05:15:52PM -0400, Nikolai Lifanov wrote:
> >>I noticed that in stable/10, /etc/pkg/FreeBSD.conf was switched from
> >>using
> >>latest package set to whichever one that is "quarterly" word is pointing
> >>to
> >>at the moment. What is the motivation for this change?
> >>
> >
> >This was not done in the stable/10 branch, it was done in releng/10.2.
> >
> >>Quarterly package sets are useful if the end-user is able to pick which
> >>one
> >>to pull from and there is some amount of time of support overlap so that
> >>the
> >>user has time to validate the new package set and switch his systems to
> >>it
> >>(like what is done with pkgsrc). As-is, "quarterly" works just like
> >>"latest"
> >>from end-user perspective, but for most of the lifecycle packages are
> >>outdated and there is a massive update bomb four times per year.
> >>
> >>Port branches are still valuable to those building their own packages,
> >>since
> >>they can support the previous (unsupported by the project) branch,
> >>backporting fixes manually, while validating and upgrading to the new
> >>one.
> >>But, what is the value of the quarterly package set as-is and what is
> >>the
> >>value of switching to this set by default?
> >>
> >
> >In general, the quarterly package set is less prone to having build
> >failures, since the changes in the branch are (by intent) less
> >intrusive, while still receiving security updates.  It is analogous to
> >the stable or releng branches in src, and how they compare to head.
> >
> >(This will be noted in the final 10.2-RELEASE announcement, as well as
> >the release notes, and will also include instructions on how to switch
> >to the 'latest' branch if that is what is desired.)
> >
> >Glen
> Cool, thanks for the explanation!

You're welcome.  (The 'quarterly' branch is admittedly under-documented,
which is a problem.)

> What would be really amazing to see are quarterly branches that the end user
> can switch between, like${ABI}/2015Q3 ->
>${ABI}/2015Q4 when he is ready, with at least a little bit
> of overlap.

I agree this would be a "nice to see" feature, but as I have insight
into how the pkg(8) mirrors operate, this is an unfortunately
non-trivial thing to implement.


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