Table of Contents
Basically, there are two ways of using pkgsrc. The first is to only install the package tools and to use binary packages that someone else has prepared. This is the “pkg” in pkgsrc. The second way is to install the “src” of pkgsrc, too. Then you are able to build your own packages, and you can still use binary packages from someone else.
On the cdn.NetBSD.org site and mirrors, there are collections of binary packages, ready to be installed. These binary packages have been built using the default settings for the directories, that is:
LOCALBASE, where most of the files are installed,
/usr/pkg/etc for configuration files,
VARBASE, where those files are installed that may change after installation.
If you cannot use these directories for whatever reasons (maybe because you're not root), you cannot use these binary packages, but have to build the packages yourself, which is explained in Section 4.2, “Bootstrapping pkgsrc”.
To install binary packages, you first need to know from where
to get them. The first place where you should look is on the main
pkgsrc CDN in the directory
This directory contains binary packages for multiple platforms. First, select your operating system. (Ignore the directories with version numbers attached to it, they just exist for legacy reasons.) Then, select your hardware architecture, and in the third step, the OS version and the “version” of pkgsrc.
In this directory, you often find a file called
bootstrap.tar.gz which contains the package
management tools. If the file is missing, it is likely that your
operating system already provides those tools. Download the file and
extract it in the
/ directory. It will create
/usr/pkg (containing the tools
for managing binary packages and the database of installed packages).
In the directory from the last section, there is a
All/, which contains all the
binary packages that are available for the platform, excluding those
that may not be distributed via HTTP or FTP.
To install packages directly from an FTP or HTTP server, run the following commands in a Bourne-compatible shell (be sure to su to root first):
export PATH PKG_PATH
Instead of URLs, you can also use local paths, for example if
you are installing from a set of CDROMs, DVDs or an NFS-mounted
repository. If you want to install packages from multiple sources,
you can separate them by a semicolon in
After these preparations, installing a package is very easy:
pkgin search nginxnginx-1.19.6 Lightweight HTTP server and mail proxy server nginx-1.18.0nb8 Lightweight HTTP server and mail proxy server
pkgin install zsh nginx-1.19.6 vim
Note that pkgin is a user-friendly frontend to the pkg_* tools.
Any prerequisite packages needed to run the package in question will be installed, too, assuming they are present in the repository.
After you've installed packages, be sure to have
/usr/pkg/sbin in your
PATH so you can actually start the just
To update binary packages, it is recommended that you use pkgin upgrade. This will compare the remote package repository to your locally installed packages and safely replace any older packages.
Note that pkgsrc is released as quarterly branches.
If you are updating to a newer quarterly branch of pkgsrc, you may
need to adjust the repository in
To deinstall a package, it does not matter whether it was installed from source code or from a binary package. Neither the pkgin or the pkg_delete command need to know.
To delete a package, you can just run pkgin remove
package-name. The package
name can be given with or without version number.
The pkg_info shows information about installed packages or binary package files. As with other management tools, it works with packages installed from source or binaries.
The pkgsrc Security Team and Packages Groups maintain a list of known vulnerabilities to packages which are (or have been) included in pkgsrc. The list is available from the NetBSD CDN at https://cdn.NetBSD.org/pub/NetBSD/packages/vulns/pkg-vulnerabilities.
Please note that not every "vulnerability" with a CVE assignment is exploitable in every configuration. Some bugs are marked as active simply because an fix was not marked as such. Operating system specific hardening and mitigation features may also reduce the impact of bugs.
Through pkg_admin fetch-pkg-vulnerabilities, this list can be downloaded automatically, and a security audit of all packages installed on a system can take place.
There are two components to auditing. The first step, pkg_admin fetch-pkg-vulnerabilities, is for downloading the list of vulnerabilities from the NetBSD FTP site. The second step, pkg_admin audit, checks to see if any of your installed packages are vulnerable. If a package is vulnerable, you will see output similar to the following:
Package samba-2.0.9 has a local-root-shell vulnerability, see https://www.samba.org/samba/whatsnew/macroexploit.html
# Download vulnerabilities file 0 3 * * * /usr/pkg/sbin/pkg_admin fetch-pkg-vulnerabilities >/dev/null 2>&1 # Audit the installed packages and email results to root 9 3 * * * /usr/pkg/sbin/pkg_admin audit |mail -s "Installed package audit result" \ root >/dev/null 2>&1
will update the vulnerability list every day at 3AM, followed by an audit
at 3:09AM. The result of the audit are then emailed to root.
On NetBSD this may be accomplished instead by adding the following
to fetch the vulnerability list from the daily security script. The system
is set to audit the packages by default but can be set explicitly, if
desired (not required), by adding the following line to
pkgtools/lintpkgsrc and run
lintpkgsrc with the “-i”
argument to check if any packages are stale, e.g.
lintpkgsrc -i... Version mismatch: 'tcsh' 6.09.00 vs 6.10.00
After obtaining pkgsrc, the
directory now contains a set of packages, organized into
categories. You can browse the online index of packages, or run
make readme from the
directory to build local
README.html files for
all packages, viewable with any web browser such as
The default prefix for installed packages
/usr/pkg. If you wish to change this, you
should do so by setting
mk.conf. You should not try to use multiple
LOCALBASE definitions on the same
system (inside a chroot is an exception).
The rest of this chapter assumes that the package is already in pkgsrc. If it is not, see Part II, “The pkgsrc developer's guide” for instructions how to create your own packages.
To build packages from source, you need a working C compiler. On NetBSD, you need to install the “comp” and the “text” distribution sets. If you want to build X11-related packages, the “xbase” and “xcomp” distribution sets are required, too.
The first step for building a package is downloading the distfiles (i.e. the unmodified source). If they have not yet been downloaded, pkgsrc will fetch them automatically.
If you have all files that you need in the
you don't need to connect. If the distfiles are on CD-ROM, you can
mount the CD-ROM on
/cdrom and add:
By default a list of distribution sites will be randomly
intermixed to prevent huge load on servers which holding popular
packages (for example, SourceForge.net mirrors). Thus, every
time when you need to fetch yet another distfile all the mirrors
will be tried in new (random) order. You can turn this feature
off by setting
PKG_DEVELOPERs it's already disabled).
You can overwrite some of the major distribution sites to
fit to sites that are close to your own. By setting one or two
variables you can modify the order in which the master sites are
MASTER_SORT contains a whitespace
delimited list of domain suffixes.
MASTER_SORT_REGEX is even more flexible, it
contains a whitespace delimited list of regular expressions. It
has higher priority than
MASTER_SORT. Have a
pkgsrc/mk/defaults/mk.conf to find
some examples. This may save some of your bandwidth and
You can change these settings either in your shell's environment, or,
if you want to keep the settings, by editing the
and adding the definitions there.
If a package depends on many other packages (such as
meta-pkgs/kde4), the build process may
alternate between periods of
downloading source, and compiling. To ensure you have all the source
downloaded initially you can run the command:
make fetch-list | sh
which will output and run a set of shell commands to fetch the
necessary files into the
distfiles directory. You can
also choose to download the files manually.
Once the software has downloaded, any patches will be applied, then it will be compiled for you. This may take some time depending on your computer, and how many other packages the software depends on and their compile time.
If using bootstrap or pkgsrc on a non-NetBSD system, use the pkgsrc bmake command instead of “make” in the examples in this guide.
For example, type
at the shell prompt to build the various components of the package.
The next stage is to actually install the newly compiled program onto your system. Do this by entering:
while you are still in the directory for whatever package you are installing.
Installing the package on your system may require you to be root. However, pkgsrc has a just-in-time-su feature, which allows you to only become root for the actual installation step.
That's it, the software should now be installed and setup for use. You can now enter:
to remove the compiled files in the work directory, as you shouldn't need them any more. If other packages were also added to your system (dependencies) to allow your program to compile, you can tidy these up also with the command:
Taking the figlet utility as an example, we can install it on our system by building as shown in Appendix C, Build logs.
The program is installed under the default root of the
packages tree -
/usr/pkg. Should this not
conform to your tastes, set the
variable in your environment, and it will use that value as the
root of your packages tree. So, to use
LOCALBASE=/usr/local in your environment.
Please note that you should use a directory which is dedicated to
packages and not shared with other programs (i.e., do not try and
LOCALBASE=/usr). Also, you should not try
to add any of your own files or directories (such as
pkgsrc/) below the
LOCALBASE tree. This is to prevent possible
conflicts between programs and other files installed by the
package system and whatever else may have been installed
Some packages look in
alter some configuration options at build time. Have a look at
pkgsrc/mk/defaults/mk.conf to get an overview
of what will be set there by default. Environment variables such
LOCALBASE can be set in
mk.conf to save having to remember to
set them each time you want to use pkgsrc.
Occasionally, people want to “look under the covers” to see what is going on when a package is building or being installed. This may be for debugging purposes, or out of simple curiosity. A number of utility values have been added to help with this.
If you invoke the make(1) command with
PKG_DEBUG_LEVEL=2, then a huge amount of
information will be displayed. For example,
make patch PKG_DEBUG_LEVEL=2
will show all the commands that are invoked, up to and including the “patch” stage.
If you want to know the value of a certain make(1)
definition, then the
should be used, in conjunction with the show-var
target. e.g. to show the expansion of the make(1)
make show-var VARNAME=LOCALBASE/usr/pkg
If you want to install a binary package that you've either
created yourself (see next section), that you put into
pkgsrc/packages manually or that is located on a remote FTP
server, you can use the "bin-install" target. This target will
install a binary package - if available - via pkg_add(1),
else do a make package. The list of remote FTP
sites searched is kept in the variable
BINPKG_SITES, which defaults to
ftp.NetBSD.org. Any flags that should be added to pkg_add(1)
can be put into
pkgsrc/mk/defaults/mk.conf for more
A final word of warning: If you set up a system that has a
non-standard setting for
LOCALBASE, be sure to
set that before any packages are installed, as you cannot use
several directories for the same purpose. Doing so will result in
pkgsrc not being able to properly detect your installed packages,
and fail miserably. Note also that precompiled binary packages are
usually built with the default
/usr/pkg, and that you should
not install any if you use a non-standard