First off, thanks to Kris and Mel for the previous definitive answers.

Let me see if I can summarize this correctly...

1) It's important that administrators who are taking advantage of pre-compiled packages (like me) use packages that have been compiled for their particular base system.

2) For users running a "release" base system, there is set of pre-compiled packages provided for use with their particular release.

These are the packages found on the FTP site in the "release" folders on the FTP site.

3) The default behavior for "pkg_add -r" on RELEASE systems is to source it's pre-compiled packages from the "release" directory matching the underlying base-system's release.

For a 6.2-RELEASE base system (for i386), "pkg_add -r" will source packages from...


4) Those "release" packages are never updated for any reason. The list of available packages neither increases nor decreases, the versions of the packages made available doesn't change, and (presumably) the packages are never recompiled once the release has occurred.

It's a static list of packages compiled (and tested) for a particular release and then never touched again.

5) If an admin wants to install pre-compiled packages that are not present in the default "release" directory, they can configure "pkg_add -r" to source packages from one of the other "package" directories by setting the PACKAGESITE environment variable to point to one of the other package directories.

6) Care should be taken when re-pointing PACKAGESITE as it would then be possible for you to install a package that's been compiled against a different version of some base-system library than you are currently running.


How'd I do?  Assuming I did well, a couple of more questions...

1) Regardless of what base-system version you install, eventually the base system will need to be updated (in the least, to apply security updates).

So generally one important decision is what "version" of FreeBSD you're going to track when doing updates. Security? Stable? Current?

So what's the recommended application install-procedure if you start with a release system and then track "security" via freebsd-update? (A common scenario, I presume.)

It would seem that "pkg-add -r" is a no-go in this case. If you leave "pkg_add -r" pointing to it's default source, it'll grab packages compiled against the "release" system which, while unlikely, may have libraries incompatible with your new base system that's tracking security.

If you change "pkg-add -r" to source from "stable" or "release" you're getting packages compiled against a base-system even more different than your own "security" base system.

As far as I can tell there is not set of pre-compiled packages that have been compiled against the "secure" track.

2) How does "pkg_add -r" know it's on a "release" system? The handbook says that "pkg_add -r" will download from either the "current", "stable", or "release" package directories as appropriate.

How does it know I have a release system and not a stable system?

Particularly since my system is not *really* a release system once I do my first freebsd-update, right?. At that point it becomes a system tracking "secure", right?


Thanks again for the input so far. The package thing is making way more sense, hopefully a few more clarifications and I'll grok it.


- Gary
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