Chris Whitehouse wrote:
> Hi guys,
> When you have a minute please would you have a look at a proposal for
> changes to the packages system I posted which is kind of a ports
> equivalent of freebsd-update involving a 'ports-snapshot'.
> The original post is here
> A more detailed description is here
> And other peoples comments in between.
> It's going a bit parallel to the discussion here and in fact you have
> already offered some of the requirements,ie hosting
> Would you be interested in incorporating the idea into what you are
> doing? I could at least do some building of packages.
> One of the requirements is a new package management tool which I've
> called ports-update. Does anyone here have C or scripting skills who
> would be interested to write it? I'm sorry to ask, I know the FreeBSD
> way is to do it yourself, but I don't have programming skills. I could
> probably knock up a framework to start from though.
> If you are prepared to host a bunch of packages it would be
> interesting to ask people to give us a list of their installed
> packages to create a master list.
> Thanks
> Chris

I am following this discussion too.
I was actually thinking of some less drastic method to make a FreeBSD
desktop easier to build and less time consuming.
Currently there are at least two projects based on FreeBSD that offer
reasonable BSD desktops without lots of manual setup: DesktopBSD and
PC-BSD (PC-BSD actually had a version release yesterday).  The problem
is both projects focus on KDE. I would like to have a choice between
XFCE, Gnome and possibly some light WMs i.e. fluxbox.

I like to build my own packages, and have put together a spare machine
just for this purpose. It is no speed daemon (P4 2.5Ghz, 2G DDR2 RAM)
but it is stable and always available. What I intend to do - and I am
close to this - is start building package CDs (or DVDs) that people can
download and use in the following way:

- Perform a base install of FreeBSD with *no* additional packages
(except maybe the linux binary compatibility)
- Insert the CD/DVD and run a dialog(1) based sh script with options to:
    - Install packages
    - Configure X and DE / WM
    - Configure shell (i.e. startup files etc)
    - Configure sound card
    (and more)

All these packages would be build from the same ports tree so they would
be in sync. There should be regular (bimonthly?) updates to the CD
itself.  Everyone building a new system can use the latest CD, and
anyone who installed a system using a previous version could use the
same CD with portupgrade -PP (after setting PKG_PATH, PKG_FETCH etc).
This can actually be one of the menu options.

Taking this one step further (using your ideas), I could also distribute
the ports tree (and probably /var/db/ports assuming the ports do not use
default options) along with the packages, so anyone wishing to compile
more stuff could use this same tree knowing it will be in sync.

I intend to build a prototype of this soon. It will contain XFCE,
firefox, thunderbird, vlc, bash, openoffice, Xorg and few more
packages.  If it generates enough interest in the community, we will
then decide the final set of packages etc for the regular releases.

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