[talk] Why am I no longer able to install FreeBSD packages?

James E Keenan jkeenan at pobox.com
Tue Apr 10 09:27:10 EDT 2018


Since October 2016 I have run FreeBSD-11.0 in a VMWare VM (currently, 
VMWare Workstation 14 Player).  Broadly speaking, I've used this almost 
entirely for QA purposes for Perl 5.  I've gotten comfortable installing 
packages, mainly via 'pkg' but sometimes via 'make install' in the ports 
tree.  And since Brian Callahan's talk at NYCBUG in January I've had 
ports accepted in both FreeBSD and OpenBSD.*

But in the last week, whenever I try to use 'pkg' to install libraries 
on FreeBSD, I am likely to get a message like this:

$ sudo pkg install shared-mime-info
Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue...
Fetching meta.txz: 100%   944 B   0.9kB/s    00:01
Fetching packagesite.txz:  100%    6 MiB   3.2MB/s    00:02
Processing entries:   0%
pkg: Newer FreeBSD version for package libxfce4util:
- package: 1101001
- running kernel: 1100122
pkg: repository FreeBSD contains packages for wrong OS version: 
Processing entries: 100%
Unable to update repository FreeBSD
Error updating repositories!

Now, I have the feeling that this is related to the age of my version of 
FreeBSD.**  I have spent hours doing internet searches on these message, 
have called 'pkg clear -a' repeatedly as per the results of those 
searches yet still experienced this problem.  But I confess I do not 
understand FreeBSD's release cycle at all.  So here are my questions:


* What exactly is "wrong" about my OS?

* Did that "wrong" status come into being on some specific date (e.g., 
April 1)?

* What configuration files on my system do I need to examine to get data 
on this situation?

* Can I change those configuration files to say, in effect, "Don't worry 
about 11.1 ports; continue to direct me to 11.0 ports"?

* If not, is my FreeBSD-11.0 installation now basically hopeless when it 
comes to installing packages?

* If that is the case, can I upgrade to 11.1 within the VM -- and what 
risks would that entail?

Thank you very much.
Jim Keenan


$ uname -mrs
FreeBSD 11.0-RELEASE-p1 amd64

*Sadly, my OpenBSD VM crashed several weeks ago, so for now I'm focusing 
on FreeBSD.

**Prior to Brian's talk in January, I had an OpenBSD-5.9 VM.  I tried to 
obtain the ports tree for that and found that it had been removed from 
the Internet.  I was told that OpenBSD only maintains the tree for two 
versions (then 6.1 and 6.2) at any point in time.  Does something 
similar pertain for FreeBSD?

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