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Date:      Wed, 21 Jan 2009 01:16:45 +0200
From:      Manolis Kiagias <>
Subject:   Re: Newbie: offline package use / XFCE.
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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Thomas W. Holloway wrote:
> Greetings from newbie land.
> I have what I hope is a simple question about using packages offline,
> with particular reference to XFCE if that matters. I am not so much
> asking "how do I do this?" as I am "Do I understand this correctly?"
> I have read the appropriate sections of the Handbook, Lehey's
> _Complete FreeBSD_ (both paragraphs :) ), and Lucas' _Absolute FreeBSD
> (2nd ed.). I have googled and done some searching of this list's
> archives, and couldn't tease the answer out of them. As you will see,
> it would be a LOT of work to "just try it", so I don't feel too bad
> about asking before diving in.
> I would like to install XFCE on a FreeBSD 7.1 box that is and will
> remain (for now) offline. No network connection at all. If I have read
> correctly, this means downloading the appropriate package(s) and using
> pkg_add. So far, so good (I haven't done it, but it seems clear enough).
> The package for XFCE4, as listed here
> is a "meta-port" (I believe I understand the idea), which seems to
> have about one hundred (100) dependencies. Of course, some of those
> will have dependencies of their own, and so on. My question is this:
> In order to "download/ftp the package" for XFCE4, I would have to
> obtain all hundred (or so) of the listed files _and_ any dependencies
> they may have so as to point pkg_add at them locally. Is this correct?

In short, yes.  And this will be quite difficult to get right. *Unless*
the machine you actually use to get the packages is also running
FreeBSD.   You could then pkg_add -r xfce4 on it  and then recreate  all
the required packages and transfer them to the target machine. To
recreate the packages:

# cd /usr/ports
# mkdir packages
# cd packages
# pkg_create -Rb xfce-x.y.z

(hint: use pkg_info -Ix xfce to get the exact name of the xfce metaport
to use with pkg_create)

The same applies also if you decide to build xfce from Ports.  You could
still create packages in the same way.
Simply copy the packages to a CD or USB drive, and pkg_add on the target
machine (note you will not use '-r' on it as all the packages are local)

>   If not correct, what have I missed (a pointer to what I've missed
> should be sufficient).
> I've also looked at it from the XFCE side, where there is a nice,
> detailed doc by Benedikt Meurer, here

This document refers to an older version of XFCE and may not be
applicable to the current one. I've never used this, I definitely prefer
to build my own packages from the official port.

> This strongly implies that I can bypass the pkg_add procedure
> entirely. Might be worth trying, but I'd still like to know if I've
> understood what the package listing above is saying.
> Editorial comment and/or general advice on XFCE is not unwelcome. It's
> just secondary to the question.

XFCE is nice, I've been using it on almost all my FreeBSD desktops. It
is a no frills desktop. The default look is somewhat blunt, but it is
easy to customize to taste.  I also usually install ristretto (picture
viewer) thunar-volman-plugin (for mounting USB drives etc) and a few
other xfce utilities. It compiles rather quickly on my humble Pentium IV.

As a side note, I have a machine specifically for building packages and
it just happens that I finished a complete build run today (for FreeBSD
7.1 32bit). This includes XFCE, Xorg, Gnome + power tools + fifth toe,
KDE4 (4.1 actually) and few other things. More than 1.5G of packages.  I
could possibly upload just the XFCE + dependencies packages somewhere so
you can download them and use them. Contact me directly if you wish to
go down that route.

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