Subject: Re: Refactoring "install" and "package" phases
To: None <>
From: Volker A. Brandt <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 05/21/2006 17:02:51
Johnny C. Lam writes:
> I would like to leverage our strength in
> making software build on lots of different platforms, and then allow
> installing and packaging software in the platform's "native" package
> format.

That is a very very very good plan. :-)

> The following are what I see as negatives of this proposal:
>   * It's a disincentive to improve pkgsrc's package management tools.
>     We'll certainly keep improving them for the sake of NetBSD and
>     DragonFly, but we may lose testing from Linux and Solaris users.

Isn't it time to define a completely new, binary-only NetBSD-native
package format, that leverages the best lessons learned from pkgsrc,
SVR4 packaging, Debian, RPMs, etc. etc.?

One clear indication of this is the lack of system packages and any
hands-off installation method for NetBSD.

Here's what I believe are some key requirements for a native package

  - completely HW and OS independent

  - leverage existing libraries to implement (e.g. a zip/jar
    format with an XML manifest/bom/laundry list)

  - one library and some frontend command; no dependence on any
    external tools or libraries

  - good performance when adding and removing packages, define
    installed packages database format separate from package
    "transport" format

  - transparent implementation of dependency resolution and

  - fully automatic conversion tool from (and possibly to) pkgsrc format

Or maybe we should go the pragmatic way and adopt an existing format
(maybe one from the above list), so we can just use the existing
toolchain for that format?

I'll spare you my usual "if only I had any time" lament... :-)

Regards -- Volker
Volker A. Brandt                  Consulting and Support for Sun Solaris
Brandt & Brandt Computer GmbH              WWW:
Meckenheim, Germany                                   Email: