Gary Affonso wrote:

If I do, it seems to me that the absolute first thing I should do after
installing a release version would be to change where "pkg_add -r" is
sourcing packages from. Either to "current" if I like to live on the edge or "stable" if I want to be a more conservative.

No, "stable" and "current" here refer to the branches of FreeBSD that the packages are compiled to run with, there are no other differences in the contents of the packages themselves.

I'm curious, why does "pkg_add -r" point to the "release" snapshot of ports by default? Is the idea that a "release" is well-tested and that any deviation from that (even security or bug-fix changes) is an unknown that new users need to be shielded against when grabbing packages with "pkg_add -r"? Seems to me it would be better to have "pkg_add -r" point to stable (which, if I understand things correctly, does get updated packages).

-release packages have gone through an extensive period of testing with that release, so you have more confidence they will work. The up-to-date packages may not work, may not even be present on the FTP site, and in general are not suitable for users who just want a working system without having to fiddle with it.

i.e. defaulting to the packages that came with the release is a conservative step that is appropriate for users who just want packages that work, and don't care about always having the latest versions. For the rest of you, you're going to be doing a lot more hands on admin anyway, so setting one env variable is not a heavy burden.

And how does one go about *permanently* changing the "pkg_add -r" target. You can set the PACKAGESITE variable in the shell which will work on a user-by-user basis but isn't there a way to centrally change PACKAGESITE without relying on each user to have properly config'd their individual shells?

In the typical configuration only root can add packages, so just add it there.

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