First Look and Call for Testers/Documenters: PBI Command Line Utilities

Late last week, Kris commited the PBI command line utilities that will go into 9.0. This post contains instructions for those who wish to give the commands a try (they work on 8.x) and how you can help with documentation, usage examples, and feature suggestions. If you like using Software Manager, don’t worry as that will still be in 9–these utilities are additional goodies for those comfortable with the command line and who are looking for a FreeBSD-like PBI command suite similar to pkg_add, pkg_info, etc.

To try out the utilities, cd to your home directory (or other suitable directory) and issue the following commands:

# svn co svn://
# cd pbi-manager
# sh (as the superuser)

I’ve started some documentation to briefly describe what you get. Note that the documentation gives the 9.0 paths–for now, you’ll see the described files in your pbi-manager directory.

Currently there isn’t a test repository containing 9 PBIs so pbi_add -r won’t work unless you first create a PBI and pbi_update(1) won’t work until a newer version of the underlying port is made into a PBI. We’ll announce the availability of the test repository once it is up, which should be shortly after the 9.0 alpha snapshots become available. If you’re already familiar with how to create a PBI, give the pbi_create(1) command a go. If you’d like to try converting a port skeleton into a PBI, try pbi_makeport(1). The modules-examples/ directory contains examples for firefox and gimp so that you can compare the new module format to the old module format.

Here’s where you can help us out:

– we need real-world usage examples; if you want to help us write them on the wiki, leave a comment or hop onto #pcbsd on IRC freenode and we’ll make sure you get a wiki account. If you write a how-to on your website/blog/etc., let us know so we can refer other users to it.

– we need to let others know about the new functionality, especially FreeBSD users familiar with ports and packages. Feel free to blog/tweet/etc. your experiments!

– we will need people to become PBI creators so we have a great repository of software for when 9 is released.

– we need people to review and help edit these 2 pages: the PBI Manager section of the PC-BSD 9 Handbook and the PBI Module Builder Guide so that it contains instructions for both 8.x and 9.x formats and is easy for new PBI creators to follow.

– we need feature suggestions for the PBI command line tools. Is there something you can do with a pkg_* command that you can’t do with a pbi_* command? Is there something that would be really cool to do with PBIs that currently is not being done?

– we’ll need translators for the man pages. I’ll check to get an ETA on when they will be available in Pootle.

If these PBI tools interest you, we recommend that you join the pbi-dev mailing list as there will be much discussion on the new format and tools between now and the release of 9. If getting email from a list is not your thing, check out the gmane options for this list.

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Written by dru. Posted in new features, pbis

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Comments (4)

  • Xavier A. Alvelo
    September 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm |

    That sounds awesome… esp. for people that have that rookie fear, and are afraid the might mess up something using ports. Hopefully it might take some of that fear off.

  • September 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm |

    Will pbi_add work on a PC-BSD 8.x machine? You mentioned it won’t work on 9 because there is no 9 repository. But I assume it should work on 8.x(?)

    Really looking forward to test driving these when I get a minute.

    • September 23, 2010 at 7:03 am |

      The command will work, but not to add 8.x PBIs as the PBI format has changed between 8.x and 9.x. However, you can use these tools to create a PBI in the 9.x format and add it, all from an 8.x system.

  • Jesse
    September 23, 2010 at 9:56 am |

    I have installed these tools. As I’m still on PC-BSD 8.1 I can’t do remote installs/upgrades yet. However, I can report the install worked okay. The only error I got was

    “cp: man/.svn is a directory (not copied)”

    It didn’t impact functionality.

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