Computers & Tech

Pkgsrc – The Unknown Gem

I’ve just posted an update on this article. Please do check it out.

Update: (07-Sept-2019)

As of October, 2018, I moved away from Pkgsrc to MacPorts. I was advised to go with Homebrew by many people on the forums, but after reading the article linked above, I am not for it.
Sure, Homebrew gets most of the new packages and probably gets updates faster than MacPorts, but I prefer MacPorts in that it feels quite native to MacOS.

The reason for moving away from Pkgsrc was because I tried installing a couple of packages and only have them fail on me. I tried installing the same using MacPorts and it went through without a hitch. So I’m happy with MacPorts for a while.

I’ve not forgotten about Pkgsrc and having used MacPorts for about a year, it is unlikely that MacPorts will die. But it certainly seems that it is losing traction when compared with Homebrew. My worry is that one day most developers will be forced to move over to brew in the long run and the ports and packages will be left to a handful of maintainers; with many ports going obsolete and outdated.
The one advantage that Pkgsrc has going for it, is that it is a fork of NetBSD. This means that as long as NetBSD will be around, Pkgsrc will too and its packages will be more up to date.

I will be giving Pkgsrc a shot again.

Update: (21-Sept-2019)

I currently have Pkgsrc installed on my system and so far it is going better than last time. In talking with one of the developers (Jonathan Perkin), I’ve come to learn about Pkgsrc; more than what is on the net these days. All those who use Pkgsrc seem to like it, but from some of the reviews most users switched out to MacPorts after a short stint – just like me. One did say that he would be interested in giving a shot again.

The beauty of Pkgsrc is that since it is portable and works on a number of systems, it means that you benefit from all the work developed for all those systems. Pkgsrc works on NetBSD, Haiku and Linux as well as MacOS. According to Jonathan, because of this portability, it really helps with bug fixes, etc. as what fixes something for one OS, most likely fixes it for all the others as well.

Many people who use MacPorts always say that it is like building from source and using the ports on FreeBSD. I would say that it is more like any other package manager on Linux or ‘pkg install’ on the BSDs. Pkgsrc is the best actual clone of the FreeBSD source system. So I would say that if you are coming from the BSDs and you will find it right at home.

In an earlier post, “How Unix is OS X‘, I said that I was willing to dive into the depths of MacOS (then known as OS X) and find out the capabilities of its Unix / POSIX heart. I would say that with Pkgsrc, its a pretty good place to start.


Julx's Blog

That’s right… I’m going talk tech and specifically talk about package managers. Those who use Linux, Unix or one of the BSDs will definitely understand what I on about.

Anyone familiar with the OpenSource movement and the Unix/Linux approach to managing software, will know that there is really nothing better than typing up a command in a terminal window and having your software automatically installed for you. All the more, it transports you into ‘hacker’ mode as you see all those lines of code; scrolling across your screen like its an 80s/90s hacking movie. Too bad those who are using MacOS can’t have that kind of pleasure.. Or can they?

Meet Homebrew. Powerusers and developers have been using this for a long time.
Homebrew is a package manager for macOS that provides simplified management of software for Apple computers, similar to those found in Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu. I…

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Categories: Computers & Tech

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