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NetBSD guide, how to install packages


Here is an email to sum up the discussion which happened today in #netbsd

"hramrach" raised a point about the NetBSD guide saying it could be made clearer about how to install packages on NetBSD once the system is fully installed, booted up and configured.

First, I must say that indeed all the needed information is there:

- has a link to both "The NetBSD Guide" *and* "The pkgsrc guide" - The paragraph "1.5. Applications for NetBSD" of "The NetBSD Guide" clearly states that NetBSD has a big package collection which is named "pkgsrc" thus allowing to use a search engine to get more informations on what is pkgsrc and how it works (and how to install it on NetBSD) - And indeed the home page of pkgsrc ( ) clearly gives the commands to copy/paste in order to install a binary package on NetBSD

So, in theory, everything is said and is there.

But, (yes there is a but), maybe "The NetBSD Guide" could be a little bit more user friendly and contains a paragraph with very basic informations on how to bootstrap yourself with pkgsrc. Why? Because usually when you want to install NetBSD and you are a newcomer, you go in the "Documentation" area, you find "The NetBSD Guide", you click on it (and therefore lose the pkgsrc link that maybe you didn't even see because you stopped reading a few lines above). Then you follow "The NetBSD Guide" to do all the setup and configuration and then you search for some way of installing applications and if you're lucky you find the paragraph 1.5., if you're not then you're lost.

So maybe at the end of the install and the basic configuration, a basic pkgsrc setup could be provided just "for information", followed by a link to the pkgsrc homepage (or documentation) "for more complete information".

The idea is not to bring/include the documentation of pkgsrc in "The NetBSD Guide" which indeed is just a guide to NetBSD and *not* pkgsrc.
The idea is to ease the link between NetBSD and pkgsrc for the user.
Since there is a strong link between NetBSD and pkgsrc (I guess I'm not wrong if I say almost all NetBSD users use pkgsrc?) I think it's not a bad idea to have a few lines about basic pkgsrc configuration in "The NetBSD Guide".

So what to include? Where to stop?

I would at least include this:

how to for instance install tmux:

|PKG_PATH="$(uname -s)/$(uname -m)/$(uname 
-r|cut -f '1 2' -d.)/All"
export PKG_PATH
pkg_add tmux

Adding that the two first lines can be written inside the .profile or bashrc or 
whatever is sourced automatically at startup.

Then adding an example about compiling a package from source.

And then finally a link to pkgsrc website "for more information".

OR, maybe just add paragraphs with just links to the corresponding section of 
the pkgsrc guide like:

X.1. Installing the packaging system (pkgsrc) on NetBSD

[link to]

X.2. Using binary package on NetBSD

[link to]

X.3. Compiling packages froms sources on NetBSD

[link to]

To summarize, The NetBSD Guide contains the information, but maybe it can be 
made easier for the reader to locate it and to bootstrap himself in the 
wonderful land of NetBSD with the huge package collection that pkgsrc brings :)

I hope I'm clear enough, what do you think of either proposition?

Best regards :)

Yann Sionneau

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