Subject: Re: Notes and Thoughs on System Packages
To: Jim Wise <>
From: Todd Vierling <>
List: tech-install
Date: 09/23/1998 12:45:49
On Sat, 19 Sep 1998, Jim Wise wrote:

: [ I am forwarding this here, as I forgot to CC tech-install on my
: original post.  I guess this thread belongs in tech-pkg, but I'm not
: sure. ]

It does.  I'm moving the thread there.

:     People would like to be able to install/remove system software
:     with a high level of granularity.  (Do I want Kerberos, but
:     not UUCP?  C but not Fortran?  Text formatting but not printing?)
:     This could be best addressed by providing our system software
:     as a series of packages which could be installed individually.

Known.  Planned.  Not known when we'll do this.  It probably will start with
the current set layouts as pkgs.  Higher granularity would come later.

:     Very possibly, this would open the possibility of keeping set,
:     information, in addition to package information around, and
:     offering the ability to remove all installed packages from a
:     given set at a later date.

Probably.  Fortunately,pkgs are also tar-files, so it should be possible to
have sets dump pkg info into /etc/pkg as part of the tarball.

:     Alistair Crooks has recently put together changes to use
:     ${LOCALBASE}/etc/pkg and ${X11BASE}/etc/pkg to store package
:     registration information, which is a big step toward solving
:     this problem (yahoo!).  Presumably, system packages will use
:     /etc/pkg, although this leaves open the question of what to do
:     if you share /usr between multiple client machines.

Admin from the server.  If you're sharing /usr, you don't want to delete
stuff in /usr from a client box.

:     In order to move to using system packages, we will need to
:     provide a way to generate binary packages from our source tree.

That's rather simple:  write up a fake set of PLIST, COMMENT, DESCR files to
send to pkg_create(1).

:     In a system based on install systems, an updated version of
:     the specific package containing at(1) could be released, which
:     users could download and pkg_add in a matter of moments.  It
:     would also be easy for an admin to tell if a system had been
:     upgraded by looking at pkg_info output.

Definitely a plus, but we really need to distribute security patches as
binaries anyway.  Cross-compilation will help this case immensely.

-- Todd Vierling (Personal; Bus.