About me: My name is Solène Rapenne, pronouns she/her. I like learning and sharing knowledge. Hobbies: '(NixOS BSD OpenBSD Lisp cmdline gaming internet-stuff). I love percent and lambda characters. OpenBSD developer solene@.

Contact me: solene on libera.chat, solene+www at dataswamp dot org or @solene@bsd.network (mastodon). If for some reason you want to support my work, this is my paypal address: donate@perso.pw.

Managing OpenBSD installed packages declaratively

Written by Solène, on 05 May 2022.
Tags: #openbsd

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Introduction §

I wrote a simple utility to manage OpenBSD packages on a system using a declarative way.

pkgset git repository

Instead of running many pkg_add or pkg_delete commands to manage my packages, now I can use a configuration file (allowing includes) to define which package should be installed, and the installed but not listed packages should be removed.

After using NixOS too long, it's a must have for me to manage packages this way.

How does it work? §

pkgset works by marking extra packages as "auto installed" (the opposite is manually installed, see pkg_info -m), and by installing missing packages. After those steps, pkgset runs "pkg_delete -a" to remove unused packages (the one marked as auto installed) if they are not a dependency of another required package.

How to install? §

The installation is easy, download the sources and run make install as root, it will install pkgset and its man page on your system.

$ git clone https://tildegit.org/solene/pkgset.git
$ cd pkgset
$ doas make install

Configuration file example §

Here is the /etc/pkgset.conf file on my laptop.

borgbackup--%1.2
bwm-ng
fish
fzf
git
git-annex
gnupg
godot
kakoune
musikcube
ncdu
rlwrap
sbcl
vim--no_x11
vlc
xclip
xfce
xfce-extras
yacreader

Limitations §

The only "issue" with pkgset is that for some packages that "pkg_add" may find ambiguous due to multiples versions or favors available without a default one, you must define the exact package version/flavor you want to install.

Risks §

If you use it incorrectly, running pkgset doesn't have more risks than losing some or all installed packages.

Why not use pkg_add -l ? §

I know pkg_add as an option to install packages from a list, but it won't remove the extra packages. I may look at adding the "pkgset" feature to pkg_add one day maybe.