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The pkgsrc package database, which by default lives in /var/db/pkg/, should not be there. Instead, it should be under /usr/pkg/libdata/pkgdb/. The same applies to FreeBSD’s and OpenBSD’s ports and also Debian’s dpkg, but I’ll focus on pkgsrc because it’s the system I know best. Let’s see why the current default is suboptimal and why libdata is a good alternative.
During past week, I worked on a new package called etcutils. It provides a (reduced) tool-set to programmatically manage files in /etc and is specially designed to allow pkgsrc to update /etc/shells and /etc/services in a more consistent way. I'm happy to say that the 0.1 release is now ready! Go to the etcutils web page for details. (I know that if you are a Linux user, you probably don't care about this because your distribution most likely already provides something similar.
As briefly outlined in the previous post, new versions of Glib provide GIO, a library that intends to be a low-level file system API on top of the POSIX interface. This library provides an interface to asynchronously wait for file system change notifications including the creation, deletion and modification of files. The monitoring functionality in GIO is modular: it is backed by different loadable plugins that implement OS-specific functionality. In particular, GIO uses an inotify module in Linux and a FAM module everywhere else.
For the 6th year in a row, NetBSD is a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code 2010! If you are a bright student willing to develop full-time for an open source project during this coming summer, consider applying with us! You will have a chance to work with very smart people and, most likely, in the area that you are most passionate about. NetBSD, being an operating system project, has offers for project ideas at all levels: from the kernel to the packaging system, passing by drivers, networking tools, user-space utilities, the system installer, automation tools and more!
Wow, it has been a long time... 5 years ago, I created the monotone-server package in pkgsrc, a package that provided an interactive script to set up a monotone server from scratch with, what I though, minimal hassle. My package did the job just fine, but past year I was blown away by the simplicity of the same package in Fedora: their init.d script provides a set of extra commands to initialize the server before starting it up, and that is it.
If you use sudo for, e.g. pkgsrc's just-in-time su, you may have often bitten by the problem that some compilations are slow and the build process stops right in the middle to ask you for a root password. If you go away while the system compiles, you'll be frustrated when you come back, as the process may still well be at the very beginning. This happens because, unless disabled by the system administrator, your sudo credentials last for 5 minutes.
drio asks in the suggestion box which is the best way to keep all the packages installed from pkgsrc up to date. I must confess that pkgsrc is quite weak in the updating area when compared to systems such as apt-get or yum. The problem comes from the fact that pkgsrc is a source-based packaging system, meaning that the end user builds packages by himself most of the times. Doing updates from such a system is hard because rebuilds take a long time and have high chances of breaking, leaving your system in an unusable status.
pkgsrcCon 2007 is over. The conference started around 1:00pm on the 27th and has lasted until today^Wyesterday (the 29th) at around 7:00pm. There have been 10 different talks as planned, although we weren't able to follow the proposed schedule. Most of the presentations were delayed and some were shifted because the speakers could not arrive on time. Not a big deal though. We have been, more or less, around 20-25 people.
Dear NetBSD, It is almost five years since we first met and I still remember how much I liked you at that time. Despite your 1.5 release had slow disk performance when compared to the other BSDs, I found in you an operating system that just felt right. You focused on clean and well designed code among many other goals; sincerely, I didn't come to you looking for portability because I never had anything else than i386 machines.
A few pkgsrc developers and I have been working hard for years to bring the GNOME Desktop to this packaging system and make it work under NetBSD. We are quite happy with the current results because the packages are updated very frequently and everything works. Well, almost. There are still several missing details that really hurt the end user experience and need fixing. If things continue as have gone until now, we will always be one step (or more!