Subject: Re: Newbie Questions
To: Alistair Crooks <>
From: Richard Rauch <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 01/28/2002 05:26:47
> > > We used to have a file, mk.conf.example, which was used in the same
> > > way you describe - copy it to /etc/mk.conf, and edit in place. Over
> > > time, new options get added to the defaults, others get taken away,
> > > others still get changed. And merging this into your (old) version
> >
> > ...which makes a pretty good argument for just copying over the new one
> > and editing it, if you have much by way of personal preferences at
> > variance with the defaults.  (^&  Trying to figure out what *new* options
> > have been added seems like a chore.  (Unless there's some guarantee that
> > the order of options will never change so that you can sanely diff the new
> > defaults against the old.  Even then, you have to remember to make a copy
> > somewhere before you delete the old defaults file.  And, if the meaning of
> > options ever changes, you have more trouble trying to merge stuff in.)
> The trouble with the old approach is that default values can change,
> and because you're running an old version of the config file (without
> definition), then things can happen in mysterious ways.

Do we have that option?  (^&

Maybe I don't understand you...  If you copy over the defaults file,
you'll get all of the *current* settings.  *Not* an ``old version of the
config file''.  If you browse it and edit it to tastes, you'll get no
surprises.  And, since the file is well-commented, you can basically
follow your nose and get expected results.

> > Practice shows me that it's undesirable to update pkgsrc on a regular
> > basis.  After the Nth time of rebuilding libpng, and hence reinstalling
> > all and sundry, because some obscure package *really* thinks that it needs
> > the latest and greatest libpng, I stopped updating pkgsrc.  Assuming
> > infrequent updates of pkgsrc, I still maintain that it's easiest to copy
> > the file to /etc/, then browse it and make changes.
> I think we all agree that the last libpng update was not done very
> well, and I apologise to everyone for that.

I'm sorry, I wasn't meaning to point a finger at a particular update, much
less a person.  In fact, unless the update that you speak of was a while
ago, I probably haven't (yet) seen it.

libpng has just (in my experience) *always* been a touchy library.  Maybe
it needs to be.  But fairly often in the past when I updated pkgsrc,
*something* insists on the latest version of libpng (well, a later version
than I happen to have), and I end up having to rebuild a ton of stuff.

I don't hold anyone particularly responsible.  But I also don't update
pkgsrc on a regular basis anymore.  When I *do* update pkgsrc, I fully
expect to have to rebuild libpng and everything that depends upon libpng.

> However, with the new, you're free to do copy
> it to /etc/mk.conf and modify it there.  It won't hurt that you're
> including the file twice, and anything in /etc/mk.conf is defined
> before is included, and so will override the
> defaults. So you haven't lost out with the new usage. In addition,
> other users now have all the defaults set properly for them, unless
> they decide to override them. I count this as a major win.


I'm not objecting, like I said.  But, I must be dense, because I don't see
any reason not to recommend the copy-and-edit approach to others.

  ``I probably don't know what I'm talking about.''