Subject: Re: Package system, was: FreeBSD killed archie, was: where is top
To: John F. Woods <>
From: Alistair Crooks <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/15/1997 08:04:30
> > In -current, we have the NetBSD package system, which is hugely derived
> > from the FreeBSD ports system. The way it's set up, you don't have to
> > know where the sources are - let the package system do the work for
> > you. The following output shows how to install top (and this is on a
> > machine behind a firewall).
> > 
> > root@pumpy:/usr/pkgsrc/sysutils/top(1772)# make && make install
> > >> top-3.5beta5.tar.gz doesn't seem to exist on this system.
> > >> Attempting to fetch from
> That's how to install top-3.5beta5.  Now, how would one install an
> earlier version?  Or the *next* version of top (before the pkg
> maintainer gets around to updating the tree)?  Or any other package
> which the NetBSD package tree does not yet contain?

To install an earlier version, you'd do as you do at the moment i.e. dig
out your old sources from your backups, and install from that.  This is
current-users, though, and my older (patched) version of top stopped
working around about the time that the swap changes were incorprated.
The conspiracy theorists amongst us are invited to contribute reasons
why this might have happened.

If there's a new version, I'd like to think that the patches in the
package in the tree would give the moderately-clued person an inkling of
what to do - i.e. see if the package author has updated the new version
to include support for NetBSD if it's not already there, and if so,
remove the appropriate patches, or just to try a make as before. I'd
also expect you to inform one of the packages people that the new
version exists, as (at least) the md5 checksum will need to be updated
in the pkgsrc tree.

If the pkgsrc tree doesn't yet include your favourite package, I'd
encourage you to send a reference to it to me (, so that
it can be put into the tree. I've sent two pieces of documentation,
aimed at different levels, to various interested parties, and to date
have received zero feedback.  This could be because those people are
incredibly busy at the moment (but it's been about 2 weeks, guys, you
know who you are).  When I get some feedback, I'll make the docs more
available. Until such time, I'd point out the FreeBSD porting handbook
and to ask people to get in touch with me if there are specific
NetBSD-related things you wish to discuss.

> > PS. If anyone has a favourite piece of software which they use, and it's
> > not in the package system, please get in touch with me with a view to
> > putting said favourite software into the package system. Thanks.
> netpbm and WU-FTPD come instantly to mind.  I'll sort through my 300MB
> /usr/local/src partition and mail further suggestions. ;-)

Great, I look forward to it.