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[20071107] NetBSD updating system
Elad Efrat has posted about a work he had lingering around for some time: a NetBSD updating system. It's called "haze" (as in purple haze), and here's what it does: ``Offer a system to generate binary updates for NetBSD (NOT patches), install, remove with full "rollback to previous state" support, and manage them. Simple dependencies are allowed. It also allows auto-generating security advisories from update data. ''

The process is split between people creating updates, and those applying them. See Elad's email for more details.

The system as a whole is at an early stage, but it works for carrying it further. Personally, I'm curious to see if this is more successful than "syspkg" and The NetBSD Update System (PDF), or if at least it gives more frequently updated "security releases". We'll see.

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[20060207] pkgmanager - a package manager for pkgsrc
After it has become a fashion that every pkgsrc user writes his/her own pkgsrc update script (because there's no one true way on how to approach the problem on one side, and pkgsrc offers a few tools but not THE solution), there's another tool taking a stab at the tool: Peter Schuller's pkgmanager doesn't try to remove all pkgs first (which is what 'make update' and pkg_chk aparently do), but tries to update the package "in place". See the pkgmanager homepage for more information.

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[20060203] Next proof-of-concept: upgrading binary packages
The next round in the eternal game of updating packages installed on a system comes from Havard Eidnes. He suggests having an index file on the FTP server keeping the binary packages, and working from there.

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[20060109] Updating my home PC's pkgs
After running NetBSD 3.0(_whatever) for some time on my home PC, and after there are 3.0/i386 pkgs available now, I decided to update all the pkgs I use the other day. In short, the process was a lot less painful than expected.

Using "pkg_info -u" gave me a rough idea of what I really installed (instead of what was pulled in as dependencies), and I then made a list of packages i wanted. As I didn't dare removing all my packages before the update, I set up a chroot environment in which I later installed all new packages, running " install=/usr/sandbox" from /usr/src.

After "chroot /usr/sandbox", I took my above list, and ran "pkg_add" on each one, pointing the PKG_PATH environment variable at the binary pkg repository on the NetBSD FTP server. Almost everything went smooth, except the few packages that cannot be made available via FTP - acroread, acroread5, mplayer and xv. Using pkgsrc to install them worked. Surprise.

After that I moved aside /usr/pkg and /var/db/pkg, replaced them with symlinks to /usr/sandbox/usr/pkg and /usr/sandbox/var/db/pkg, and rebooted the system. Maybe I should say that my home PC logs me in immediately via some magic dust, runs .xinit which starts up fvwm2, firefox, fires up the DSL connection and a few other things, so rebooting this machine is quite a good test to see what breaks.

With one exceptions, everything worked: firefox is now called firefox-gtk1 (I detest gtk2+!) so this wasn't found immediately. After adding a symlink to give me back a 'firefox' binary, everything works as before, just with newer packages.

In summary, the drama that I expected to manifest in missing binary packages and broken pkgsrc packages just wasn't there. I'm happy. Thank you, NetBSD! :-)

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[20050908] Yet another package upgrading tool
In the neverending story about people writing their own package upgrading tools, here's one from "fab" that is written in Python and which only prints commands to run on stdout, so it's a safe shot for testing. For the real thing there's "|sh -v". See his posting then grab it & play!

Someone should start a webpage with all those different upgrade tools out there, with all their strengths and weaknesses... and then tell me what to use if I want to play safe and only upgrade if it's known that everything is available as binary pkg (== compilation worked), either from a remote server or because it was built in some chroot locally.

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[20050326] Playing the pkg upgrade game
After knowing about pkg_chk and pkg_comp for quite some time, I took some time to look into them yesterday. I started with pkg_chk, which told me which of my pkgs were outdated, and gave me some commands to rebuild it, but when I tried to ask it for actions on how to rebuild a single pkg including depends (gimp), I didn't get anywhere useful, and decided to return to pkg_chk at a later point.

Looking into pkg_comp was a nice surprise, as this "pkg compiler" sets up a chroot/sandbox environment to build pkgs in, without affecting the "normal" system. Having binary sets from the netbsd-3 branch here, I told it to build pkgs for NetBSD 3.0 (pkg_comp can fake kernel version with ... one of these pkgs that I've forgotten the name of. libkver. :). Building binary pkgs works smooth, and I'm going through a whole "pkg_comp build meta-pkgs/kde3" right now, which makes some nice progress. Mmm, binary pkgs. :)

It seems that pkg_chk and pkg_comp make a good team to first check what needs updating, then prepare binary pkgs in a sandbox, remove outdated pkgs and re-install them from those binary pkgs. Funny enough, Gavan Underhand wrote a script to do exactly that!. Maybe this is the ultimate answer to the ``how do I upgrade pkg XXX and its depends without hosing the system when something goes wrong''-question? Time will tell!

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[20050117] Update script for pkgsrc
Gavan has made an esperimental update script for pkgsrc that uses pkg_chk, pkg_comp and lintpkgsrc to update pkgs while using as many precompiled binary pkgs as possible (using the bin-install target). Send your experiences to Gavan and/or tech-pkg@!

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[20041229] "The NetBSD Update System"
Al Crooks made a presentation about a system to automate parts of the NetBSD system at the Usenix 2004 conference. I've found the slides for the talk. Maybe we'll see something like Windows Updates soon... :)

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[20041125] software update
The NetBSD mail server is being switched server software these days. Our experienced team of admins will do their best to not disrupt service, but who knows what may happen. Besides new mail server software, an update of the mailing list archives on the web can be expected, too.

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[20040922] NetBSD Update System
Here's something more interesting about the recent events: Al Crooks gave a talk with some ideas about a NetBSD Update System similar to Windows Update, and how to implement it using pkgsrc and various assorted tools. See his presentation!

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