pkgsrc-2011Q1 details

I already noted that the quarterly release is out, but the pkgsrc-2011Q1 release announcement is available now.  There’s good reasons to link to it – the list of updated packages, new packages, and credits for the work people have been doing.  Here’s the part I really want to pick out:

We’re aiming to make this the last branch to support non-DESTDIR packages. We have almost finished the transition to DESTDIR installation, where a staging directory is used to make a binary package, which is then managed by the pkg_install tools.

The reason I’m highlighting this is: it’s good news!  One of the long-term complaints with pkgsrc is that the upgrade process is painful.  If you try to build an upgrade and the build processfails after uninstalling the existing package, not only are you not getting the upgrade, but you’ve lost the existing package.  Binary packages for download helps with this (and generally is faster), but only so many packages can be built separately and made available for download.

Building a package separately and then installing from there removes these issues.  No binary redistribution issues, actual downtime is minimal, and the package is known to work when an upgrade happens.  This removes most of the problems I’ve heard raised about pkgsrc over the years.