pkgsrc is a cross operating system package manager. It supports -- among many
others -- NetBSD, Minix, SmartOS, Linux, and macOS. I like it because of this
portability. It also has the additional, and I would say the best, benefit of
being installed in the home directory and run completely without needing root
access. I also like that I don't have to depend on binary packages built by
someone else, say Joyent, although there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Finally, it provides a large number of different packages. I have never
encountered a package that I needed but was not available. In short pkgsrc is a
portable, featureful, and flexible package manager. What's not to like?
pkgsrc can sometimes be a little behind native package managers, such
as MacPorts on macOS, but it catches up quickly. For my use case -- getting
access to multiple versions of Python -- it works well enough if I closely
follow its trunk branch.
There's generally good and detailed documentation available for pkgsrc but an
introductory guide that pulled in some essential starter information was
lacking. This guide fills that void by making it easy to get started with
pkgsrc and learn about some of its core concepts. Thus, I dubbed it the mini
handbook or the missing starter handbook.
Read more …