pkgin, a tool to manage pkgsrc binary packages

May 27, 2009 posted by Emile Heitor

From the day I began using NetBSD I felt that there was a need for a binary package manager. pkgsrc is great of course, I use it, love it and contribute to, but I'm not brave enough to build my entire environment with it. Of course the esteemed pkg_add(1) and pkg_delete(1) can handle binary packages installation, but when it comes to upgrades, binary packages manipulation is far from being straightforward.

For many years, Linux has had tools like apt, yum and pacman that are able to handle packages installation properly using remote repositories. With such tools, packages installation, removal and upgrade are really simple, there is no need to cvs checkout, make(1) or worse in order to have a usable environment within a few minutes. I felt that this was something which might have impacted on a persons decision to install NetBSD.

That's why I started the pkgin project 3 months ago. Pkgin (pronounced "pay-kay-djin") is aimed at being an apt / yum like tool for managing pkgsrc binary packages. It relies on pkg_summary(5) for installation, removal and upgrade of packages and associated dependencies, using a remote repository.

At the moment, pkgin is available in pkgsrc-wip, not yet in the official pkgsrc tree, as it is still in a test phase and the code obviously moves a lot. Expect the first pkgsrc release to land around June.

For the brave, latest code is available via CVS, using as the CVSROOT and anoncvs as the password. Please do not hesitate to give feedback, but try not to ask to change its entire behaviour as the choices have already been discussed with many NetBSD developers.



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