new sysinstall

Matthew Dillon dillon at
Sun Aug 24 13:29:38 PDT 2003

    What I would like to see is a program which 'deconstructs' a build.  So,
    for example, you would build and customize a machine as you see fit and
    then run the program to generate a procedure which will duplicate the

    The program would figure out which portions of the build correspond to 
    base system, ports, release, whatever (by using MD5 checksums), and would
    then generate a configuration file which deals with those parts of the
    system, and the same program would also generate a script, tar file,
    and/or patch set (or whatever) containing modifications relative to that

    With these two pieces of information in hand it would be fairly easy to
    create sophisticated updating and upgrading utilities.  In particular 
    I want to be able to deconstruct a machine into its component pieces
    even in the case where the database being used to manage the packages
    becomes corrupt or gets out of sync.  Kind of a 'tell me exactly where
    this came from' utility.

    % whomade /bin/ls
    /bin/ls from RELENG_4 as of <date>

    % whomade -diff /etc/passwd
    /etc/passwd from RELENG_4 as of <date> with modifications

    And so forth.  If whatever packaging system we come up with is not 
    capable of supporting the above then we haven't come up with the right
    packaging system.

					Matthew Dillon 
					<dillon at xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

:I like the idea of using xml data to replay the build.  You still need 
:an infrastructure like Jumpstart (Sun) or Kickstart (Redhat) in which to 
:do the initial build (from cd or remote install machine) as well as 
:handle the "replay" of the data.  But using xml to structure the 
:post-install configuration could simplify the creation of the 
:post-install scripts.
:Unfortunately, the FreeBSD ports system is too unstructured and gets in 
:the way of doing this right.  Too many options for building ports are 
:buried in the make options (i.e. make WITH_GTK2=yes, etc).  You often 
:have to dig in the Makefile to find them since they are never described 
:in the pkg-descr file (pet peeve of mine).  Although I primarily use BSD 
:systems, I'm very envious of the package systems of most Linux distibutions.
:Richard Coleman

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