Cleaning Up Ports11/29/2001
Despite all the praise the FreeBSD ports system gets, it has limitations. One of these limitations is actually related to one of FreeBSD's other strengths -- the upgrade system. The two interact in a very clumsy way.
The port installation process records every file a port includes and all of the port's dependencies. For example, many ports require the PNG graphics library. The port records the exact version of PNG it used, such as version 1.0.11. This is generally the same version found in the ports tree when you installed your first piece of software. The FreeBSD upgrade process can upgrade the version of the software supported by the ports tree. For example, PNG was recently upgraded to version 1.0.12. The library version number didn't increase, but the new library has minor bug fixes. I'd like to upgrade. If I do that, however, the 30-odd ports that have the exact PNG version hard-coded in them will have incorrect records.
My laptop has 187 packages. I upgrade my ports tree on a weekly
basis. This gets messy very quickly, and impossible soon after.
Fortunately, Akinori MUSHA has stepped up to the plate and developed a
tool to untangle this mess:
portupgrade(1) and friends.
The tools included in
portupgrade implement some new features in the
FreeBSD ports system. First is
portdb, which build
databases to index
/var/db/pkg and the ports tree. This accelerates
searching and manipulating this information. These tools also rewrite
/var/db/pkg files to maintain consistency. Finally, there
are wrappers for the various
pkg_* commands that handle rewriting both
the databases and the plain-text records when you add or remove
software. You get all this by installing
Before you start using
portupgrade, back up
/var/db/pkg! I've never
had any trouble with this program, but any tool that directly alters
system records has boundless potential to make your life difficult.
If you completely destroy your package records, you want to be able to
# tar -czvf dbpkg.tgz /var/db/pkg
pkgdb -F to do your initial setup and do some basic clean up. If
you have a lot of ports, and have upgraded your ports tree several
times, set aside a solid block of time to do this the first time.
Once you have a consistent database, maintenance is quick and easy;
it's only this first install that is time-consuming.
#pkgdb -F Checking the origin of Hermes-1.3.2 Checking the origin of Mesa-3.4.1 Checking the origin of Mesa-3.4.2_1 Checking the origin of ORBit-0.5.10_5 Checking the origin of XFree86-aoutlibs-184.108.40.206 ...
When it comes across a package with changed dependencies,
ask you if you want to correct them.
Stale dependency: esound-0.2.22 -> libaudiofile-0.2.2: libaudiofile-0.2.1_1 ? ([y]es/[n]o/[a]ll) [yes]
esound has recorded
libaudiofile version 0.2.2 as a dependency,
but version 0.2.1_1 is installed. I probably did a
pkg_add -f at some
point in the past, thinking that it would work despite the minor
difference in version numbers. (It did.) It's asking if I want to
update my entry in
/var/db/pkg/esound-0.2.22/+CONTENTS to point to the
libaudiofile that's actually installed. If I take the
default, it will correct the entry. If I type "a", it will not
only correct the
libaudiofile entry for
esound but also for every other
package that uses
libaudiofile. This is very handy for packages that
have many dependent packages, such as PNG.
In the previous example,
pkgdb was able to make an intelligent guess
about the dependency. Other times, it cannot guess at all. For
example, I built XFree86 from xfree86.org's CVS repository.
part of XFree86, so it has no record in
/var/db/pkg. This is OK; the
port-building process checks for the existence of a program, not for
its record in
/var/db/pkg. When a port's installation record is
/var/db/pkg, however, it assumes that the port is there if
it found the program. (This is arguably a shortcoming in the ports
system, but there's no easy fix for this.)
What this means is that when a port lists
imake as a dependency,
Stale dependency: Xaw3d-1.5 -> imake-4.1.0: New dependency? (? to help): ?
Here I have a choice. I can either assign a new dependency, or I can
tell the package that this is no longer a dependency. While Xaw3d
imake, I know that on this particular system it will
never find an
imake package installed. I want to delete the
dependency. If you hit "?" for help, you'll see:
[Enter] to skip, [Ctrl]+[D] to delete, [.][Enter] to abort, [Tab] to
New dependency? (? to help):
Control-D it is.
Delete this? ([y]es/[n]o/[a]ll) [yes]
If I choose "yes," it will delete just this
dependency. If I choose "all" it will delete this dependency whenever
it appears. A lot of ports use
imake; I want to delete them all.
You'll see this show up later:
Stale dependency: xneko-4.4 -> XFree86-libraries-4.1.0: Delete this? ([y]es/[n]o/[a]ll) [yes] Deleted.
Other times, there really is a dependency elsewhere that
pkgdb can't guess at.
Stale dependency: plugger-3.3_1 -> timidity++-esound-2.10.4:
New dependency? (? to help): ?
[Enter] to skip, [Ctrl]+[D] to delete, [.][Enter] to abort, [Tab] to complete
New dependency? (? to help): timidity++-2.10.4
The tab completion makes this doable. I know that
timidity++-esound is using some version of
timidity, but I don't want
to go digging around to find out the whole version number. I can type
in the first few letters and hit tab, and get the rest of the package
name filled in.
Finally, at the end of the whole process
pkgdb will warn you about
Duplicated origin: graphics/Mesa3 - Mesa-3.4.1 Mesa-3.4.2_1 Remove any of them? [no]
Here I have a problem. It's not uncommon when you install software from packages to have the package require another package. You might have a slightly different version of the package already installed. If you're installing via package, however, it automatically installs dependencies even if a slightly different version is already installed. At some point this happened to my system. My laptop has two different versions of Mesa, but one has overwritten the other. It obviously cannot be too bad, as my system still works. (Eventually, I should entirely remove Mesa and install a known good version.) Still, I need to clean up the package database. I arbitrarily removed the older version.
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