There comes a time in the life cycle of just about every software packageÂ that it has bee re-evaluated, refreshed, deprecated or just retired.
It is time that we bid farewell to the old pkg_* software that has beenÂ part of FreeBSD since the beginning, and has served us well. After yearsÂ of development, testing, and playing, pkg(8) has become a suitableÂ replacement.
Pkg is the Next Generation package management tool for FreeBSD. It is theÂ replacement for the current pkg_info/pkg_create/pkg_add tools that portsÂ use to register local packages and which provide remote packages. Its mainÂ goals are to facilitate remote binary package upgrades. It also works withÂ ports without remote binary packages.
Pkg, combined with the quarterly release package sets, enables easyÂ installation and safe upgrades for binary packages. Signed, binaryÂ packages are available for all supported FreeBSD releases on the i386 and Â amd64 platforms from pkg.freebsd.org. Additionally, for those compilingÂ ports from source, pkg’s new database format gives more fine-grainedÂ querying and management of installed software.
New features on the drawing board, like automatic pkg-plist generation,Â sub-packages, creating multiple packages containing different parts of aÂ port from one build process, and flavours, being able to ask for e.g. aÂ webserver, without directly specifying a specific one, cannot beÂ implemented in the old pkg_* tools and those plans are currently on hold.
You are not obligated to switch to binary packages, if you still prefer toÂ compile your own ports, it is a simple matter of installing ports-mgmt/pkg,Â run pkg2ng, add WITH_PKGNG=yes to your make.conf and use pkg <action>Â instead of pkg_<action>.
You can read more about pkgng on the FreeBSD wiki,Â https://wiki.freebsd.org/pkgng.
The decision has been made to allow the old pkg_* software to be EoL’d 6Â months from now, at September 1, 2014 in all active FreeBSD branches.
Please start testing pkg(8) in your test environments before taking itÂ live, you will find the benefits of full binary updates for your ports toÂ be beneficial in a very short amount of time. Even if you prefer toÂ compile from source, you will still reap the benefits of the modernÂ packaging system.