Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PC-BSD Day 3: Angels 1 – Demons 3

Between BSD and Linux there are plenty of similarities and differences from a technological, judicial and moral viewpoint. No doubt the various crowds could go head to head over those differences (which they actually do from time to time), but there is one area where BSD beats Linux hands down consistently. Its mascotte.

Tux is the cherished mascotte of Linux, but in the end it is always portrayed in the same way: a big, fat penguin with a silly grin on it’s face. No, then the little red devil with it’s fork that runs around in the world of BSD. BSD graphics artists really play with the mascotte in a creative way. Just take a look at the splash screen of KPorts.

Tempting the devil
I like the Bible. It is my guide for professional and private life, one that I always want to keep close at hand. There is a lot of software available for reading and studying the scriptures and I want some of it on my computer as well no matter the operating system it runs on. One, I want to install either BibleTime or GnomeSword which provide access to a large collection of free Bible translations and dictionaries. Second, I want to install a denominational collection that is designed for Windows but -with the help of Wine- runs nicely under Ubuntu Linux. So, how did it go on PC-BSD

Angels 0 – Demons 1
Given the choice between BibleTime and GnomeSword I went for the KDE based BibleTime. I really did not feel like a lengthy install process again with tons of dependencies. Just to make sure my ports collection was up to date I ran the update process under KPorts and selected BibleTime. The program was available as source (1.6.x) or as binary (1.4.x). I don’t know why, but I opted for the most recent package. Again the process went from dependency to dependency only to report multiple time that those dependencies could not be resolved. Finally it ended, leaving me without BibleTime.

Angels 0 – Demons 2
Now I am never the guy to give up that easily. I went back to KPorts and selected the option to install the binary version of BibleTime. That did give less dependency related warnings. All dependencies could be met. Unfortunately, most packages installed on the new PC-BSD system were of a more recent nature than 1.4.x needed which was a new reason for the installation to fail.

Angels 1 – Demons 2
As a third attempt I went to the PBI website. That provided me with a PBI package of BibleTime 1.6.x. It was a matter of downloading and installing the package before I finally could fire up BibleTime and download the various Bible translations and dictionaries. PC-BSD-D3-3 PC-BSD-D3-2

Angels 1 – Demons 3
I installed Wine on the first day and with my previous experience under Ubuntu I really expected the install of my own library to go smoothly. And it did. No glitches, no strange or uncommon warnings. Nothing wrong. Until I tried to run the program and got crash warnings. Needless to say it was very frustrating to run into a snag like this.


Am I mistaken but did that red devil’s grin got a little wider just now?


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7 thoughts on “PC-BSD Day 3: Angels 1 – Demons 3

  1. Manolis on said:

    Why do I have a feeling that you are mixing ports – packages – PBIs in a way that you are creating problems?
    I have not used PC-BSD for a while now (but will certainly do when the final version is out) but as a daily user and admin of a few FreeBSD systems, I will give you a few tips:

    On a FreeBSD system, pkg_add will fetch packages built when the RELEASE was made by default. The ports system (when updated, like you did) will build the latest available programs. Old programs and new ports will not mix well together.
    Actually there is a way to get the latest in binary packages with pkg_add, and this involves setting the PACKAGESITE environment variable to: (all in one line, capitalization is important)

    this can be done in your shell startup files, if you are using bash, add this to .profile:

    export PACKAGESITE=

    (again it is all one line)

    if you are using csh (I am not certain what is default on PC-BSD, but you can find out by opening a terminal and typing echo $SHELL) then:

    setenv PACKAGESITE

    (Actually you may want to check the value of this variable on your PC-BSD system beforehand:

    echo $PACKAGESITE)

    This way, all your pkg_add operations will get the latest binary packages built by the FreeBSD servers, and these are more or less in sync with the ports versions (maybe a few minor versions behind). I am not exactly certain where the PBIs stand between those however.

    Updating the ports tree from the terminal should be as easy as the following:

    copy the file /usr/share/examples/cvsup/ports-supfile to a suitable location. My preference is /root
    Switch to root credentials (su – )
    cd /root
    chmod 755 ports-supfile
    edit with you favourite editor and replace CHANGE_THIS with a FreeBSD mirror near you
    Still as root, run:
    csup -g -L 2 /root/ports-supfile

    I do have a feeling the graphic port managers still leave a lot to be desired. I installed BPM on my system as well a f ew months ago, and it would not run, because I was using the development version of the portupgrade app.

    You could learn a lot about your PC-BSD system by reading FreeBSD mailing lists (freebsd-questions is a good start) and also the freebsd handbook. I understand your approach is mostly attempting to use PC-BSD as an easy FreeBSD alternative, but don’t forget what is under the hood.

    Wishing you a good luck on your explorations. Feel free to ask on my email address, I will be glad to help.

    Take care,

  2. OK WELL 1st and foremost, if you want an actual GOOD graphical ports manager, I’d without a doubt suggest you to use the DesktopBSD ports manager instead, install/build from /usr/ports/sysutils/desktopbsd-tools , yes the port manager is included in the “tools”. Once you get that amazing tool working, software management under BSD will be a piece of cake.
    I’ve use KPorts and it just plainly SUCKS. If you want or need any more advise or info about it, email me up, since I suppose you got my gmail 😉

  3. Thank you Manolis. I appreciate this well worked out response.

    The FeeBSD handbook helped me out here and there, but I admit I tried to blunder my way around based on previous Windows and Linux experiences. I do this on purpose since PC-BSD aims at the less technical savvy desktop user.

    I admit I didn’t realize the main difference between pkg_add and the ports collection, but I can see why mixing the two up would cause conflicts.

    The PBI system is supposed to be “independent” from the other two, since packages are installed parallel to the “normal” installed software. PBI’s should be self-contained and complete packages, taking care of the dependency problems. The cases of Abiword and GIMP have proven to me that this is not always so. Both packages rely on GNOME related dependencies that are not (completely) taken care of in the PBI. My blunderous attempts to use the ports collection did take care of the dependencies and allowed the previously installed PBI’s to run.

    Oh, and before I forget, when you install PC-BSD the default shell is CSH, but you can select (as I did) BASH.

    I will definitely make an attempt to change the PACKAGESITE environment and learn to work with PC-BSD in a better way. I really want to dig deeper into the world of *BSD for this series of articles. No doubt I will make use of your offer 😉


  4. @ Erik
    I do now 🙂
    And the desktopbsd-tools are on the list for the next session. Thank you for the feedback.

  5. There’s a BibleTime PBI available. Please check

  6. Pingback: Ruminations on the Digital Realm » Archive » PC-BSD Day 4: Making a fresh start

  7. portsnap is much faster to update ports than csup:

    portsnap fetch update

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