Subject: Re: Packages replacing NetBSD commands
To: Jim Bernard <>
From: Curt Sampson <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 07/21/1998 15:07:06
Sorry for the late response on this; I'm not doing much NetBSD work
these days due to other pressures.

On Sat, 18 Jul 1998, Jim Bernard wrote:

> Given that, it seems cleaner to put the pkg
> into /usr/pkg, which still leaves the precedence decision up to a person,
> but retains two important additional points of flexibility:
>   1) the precedence can be changed without deinstalling or reinstalling
>      anything
>   2) different users on the same system can make different choices as to
>      the userland binaries they prefer to use

This is, IMHO, quite wrong. Relying on the current $PATH to get
the precedence right is tricky at best; you may set it one way when
/etc/rc.local is run, but someone who does an su to kill and restart
a daemon may set it another way, giving you the version you didn't
want. I think the system administrator should be deciding which
version of a tool belongs on the system in almost all cases. For
those tools where you keep several versions, they should be named
differently (e.g., `perl4' and `perl').

What I'd personally like to see, for programs that are likely to
be replaced before a new release (such as sendmail and named) would
be to include the packages with the release, and have them installed
at install time.

If we start putting proper version numbers in packages (major,
minor, subminor, patchlevel, build) then pkg_add can be set up to
prompt if asked to overwrite a newer package with an older, so that
if I install the sendmail-8.9.1 package on my 1.3 system, and then
upgrade to 1.3.2, it would know not to install the sendmail-8.9.0
package (at least not without my permission).

I'd be willing to help out with the design work for this facility,
though I wouldn't be able to do much coding due to lack of time.


Curt Sampson	   Info at
Internet Portal Services, Inc.	   Through infinite mist, software reverberates
Vancouver, BC  (604) 257-9400	   In code possess'd of invisible folly.