Subject: Re: PROPOSAL: NetBSD System Packages (LONG)
To: Ty Sarna <>
From: Jim Wise <>
List: tech-install
Date: 09/30/1998 21:28:11

On 1 Oct 1998, Ty Sarna wrote:

>In article <>,
>Jim Wise  <> wrote:
>> I originally looked at the possibility of package sets being meta-pkgs,
>> and I'm not convinced it's a good idea.  The main problem I foresee is
>> that users will want to be able to remove a package set at a later date.
>> Removing a meta-pkg doesn't accomplish this, and it's not clear to me
>meta-pkgs have this problem. It needs to be adressed anyway, so I don't
>see any reason to invent this new, different mechanism that adds

It's not clear to me that meta-pkgs really set out to solve the same
problems as package sets.  The way I see it, providing a single
container for a large set of install packages is arguably as important
a goal of the package set design as letting a user select/deselect many
files at once.  This container functionality isn't really a goal of the
meta-pkg design, and, again, it's not clear to me that it should be.

>> Another concern about meta-pkgs is that several people, most recently
>> Jonathan in his summary of past discussion on this issue, have requested
>> that the system still be distributable as a relatively small number of
>> files, which can be downloaded and verified easily by hand.  Package
>The downside being that people may have to download a lot of data that
>they don't want. Keep separate pkgs in separate files. People who want
>to download stuff by hand can expect to have it a bit harder than those
>who use the nice install tools. Such is life.

In the current (install set) system, people have to download a lot of
data that they don't want.  I think that retaining this is probably an
acceptable overhead at the initial install time, in return for the
flexibility and convenience provided by package sets.

>> meta-pkg, I am left guessing as to what other packages I need to
>> download until I actually unpack the meta-pkg and try to install it.
>The tool should handle this for you.
>I envision sysinst presenting a nice collapsable treeview of the
>hierarchy of packages. The user checks what they want and it gets
>downloaded automaticly.

As Jonathan pointed out, by the time the tool is running, it's too late
to do this if you're installing by NFS, from a local partition, from
floppy, or by any means except FTP.  Depending on the tool being able to
download any packages the user missed is fine in a pkgsrc setting, but
is probably not reasonable at system install time.

- -- 
				Jim Wise

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