On Thu, Oct 16, 2003 at 07:59:00AM -0700, Dinesh Nadarajah wrote:

> I come form the Debian Linux world and would like to know how I can
> information about packages for installation. I use prots to install
> some, but many of them I just want to install binary files.

Debian apt is certainly one of the better package management systems.
> For eample, in Debian, I can use "apt-cache search mozilla" and this
> will list all packages with mozilla in it and then I can select the
> package for installation.

The emphasis in FreeBSD is generally on ports rather than packages.
For many ports, downloading the source and compiling doesn't take a
great deal longer than downloading a binary package.  Of course, for
some ports compilation takes quite a lot longer.

You can use the ports tree to search for what ports/packages are

    % cd /usr/ports
    % make search key=foo
    % make search name=bar

and you can also 'make readmes' which builds a series of .html files
that you can browse through to find stuff.  It's essentially the same
as what's at http://www.freebsd.org/ports/index.html

There's also http://www.freshports.org/ which has a lot of port
related stuff.
> In FreeBSD, when I run "pkg_add -r mozilla" I keep getting an error
> stating that it could not download package ftp://....../mozilla.tgz.
> Is there a better way to find what ackages are available for
> installation?

Generally the way to find out what packages are available is to scan
what's available on the FTP sites.  You can do in a slightly more user
friendly that using /stand/sysinstall (/usr/sbin/sysinstall if you're
on 5.x) by going to the 'Configure' and then 'Packages' menus.

However, sysinstall will try and locate a directory on the FTP servers
that matches the version number of your system.  This quite often
fails: there's not enough room on the FTP servers to keep sets of
packages for more than 4 or 5 releases (plus the packages for old
releases soon start to be a long way behind the times).

Eg. look at:


to see which releases have packages available.  Note too that
sysinstall isn't very sophisticated in the way that it tries to work
out what package directory to choose: for instance, if you're tracking
4-STABLE right now, sysinstall complains because it can't find a
directory for 4.9-RC2.

Note too that the packages on the FTP sites are updated "when
possible".  There will be an "official" set of packages built for each
release -- the 4.9-RELEASE packages went up to the FTP sites quite
recently (even though 4.9 hasn't been released yet), which means that
the package building cluster has had to be devoted to doing the
packages for the release and hasn't had much spare time for producing
updated packages for either 4-stable or 5-current recently.  There
will be a 'Latest' directory for recently updated packages: for
4-STABLE packages the last updates where apparently around 24th
September which predates the most recent updates to the ports tree.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK

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