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PKG_ADD(1) NetBSD General Commands Manual PKG_ADD(1)
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pkg_add -- a utility for installing and upgrading software package dis-
pkg_add [-AfhInRUuVv] [-C config] [-K pkg_dbdir] [-m machine]
[-P destdir] [-p prefix] file ...
The pkg_add command is used to extract and upgrade packages that have
been previously created with the pkg_create(1) command. Packages are
prepared collections of pre-built binaries, documentation, configura-
tions, installation instructions and/or other files. pkg_add can recur-
sively install other packages that the current package depends on or
requires from both local disk and via FTP or HTTP.
Since the pkg_add command may execute scripts or programs contained
within a package file, your system may be susceptible to ``Trojan
horses'' or other subtle attacks from miscreants who create dangerous
You are advised to verify the competence and identity of those who pro-
vide installable package files. For extra protection, use the digital
signatures provided where possible (see the pkg_install.conf(5)), or,
failing that, use tar(1) to extract the package file, and inspect its
contents and scripts to ensure it poses no danger to your system's
integrity. Pay particular attention to any +INSTALL or +DEINSTALL files,
and inspect the +CONTENTS file for @cwd, @mode (check for setuid),
@dirrm, @exec, and @unexec directives, and/or use the pkg_info(1) command
to examine the package file.
The following command line arguments are supported:
The named packages are installed. pkg_add will first try to use
pkg-name as full URL or path name without any wildcard process-
ing. If that fails, pkg_add will try to match packages using
wildcard processing. If that fails as well and pkg-name does not
contain any /, the entries of the PKG_PATH variable are searched
using the wildcard processing rules.
-A Mark package as installed automatically, as dependency of another
package. You can use
pkg_admin set automatic=YES
to mark packages this way after installation, and
pkg_admin unset automatic
to remove the mark. If you pkg_add a package without specifying
-A after it had already been automatically installed, the mark is
Read the configuration file from config instead of the system
-D Force updating even if the dependencies of depending packages are
not satisfied by the new package. This is used by "make
replace", after which one would typically replace the depending
-f Force installation to proceed even if prerequisite packages are
not installed or the install script fails. Although pkg_add will
still try to find and auto-install missing prerequisite packages,
a failure to find one will not be fatal. This flag also over-
rides the fatal error when the operating system or architecture
the package was built on differ from that of the host.
-h Display help and exit.
-I If an installation script exists for a given package, do not exe-
Override the value of the PKG_DBDIR configuration option with the
-m Override the machine architecture returned by uname with machine.
-n Don't actually install a package, just report the steps that
would be taken if it was.
Prefix all file and directory names with destdir. For packages
without install scripts this has the same behavior as using
Override the prefix stored in the package with prefix.
-R Do not record the installation of a package. This implies -I.
This means that you cannot deinstall it later, so only use this
option if you know what you are doing!
-U Replace an already installed version from a package. Implies -u.
-u If the package that's being installed is already installed, an
update is performed. Installed dependent packages are updated
recursively, if they are too old to fulfill the dependencies of
the to-be-installed version. See below for a more detailed
description of the process.
-V Print version number and exit.
-v Turn on verbose output.
One or more pkg-name arguments may be specified, each being either a file
containing the package (these usually ending with the ``.tgz'' suffix) or
a URL pointing at a file available on an ftp or web site. Thus you may
extract files directly from their anonymous ftp or WWW locations (e.g.,
ages/NetBSD/x86_64/9.0/All/bash-5.0.18.tgz or pkg_add http://www.exam-
ple.org/packages/screen-4.0.tbz). Note: For ftp transfers, if you wish
to use passive mode ftp in such transfers, set the variable FTP_PAS-
SIVE_MODE to some value in your environment. Otherwise, the more stan-
dard ACTIVE mode may be used. If pkg_add consistently fails to fetch a
package from a site known to work, it may be because you have a firewall
that demands the usage of passive mode ftp.
pkg_add extracts each package's meta data (including the ``packing
list'') to memory and then runs through the following sequence to fully
extract the contents of the package:
1. A check is made to determine if the package or another version
of it is already recorded as installed. If it is, installa-
tion is terminated if the -u or -U options are not given.
If the same version is installed and -U is not given, it is
marked as manually installed and process stops. If the -u
option is given, it's assumed the package should be replaced
by the new version instead. Before doing so, all packages
that depend on the pkg being upgraded are checked if they also
work with the new version. If that test is not successful,
the dependent packages are updated first. The replacing is
then prepared by moving an existing +REQUIRED_BY file aside
(if it exists), and running pkg_delete(1) on the installed
package. Installation then proceeds as if the package was not
installed, and restores the +REQUIRED_BY file afterwards.
2. The package build information is extracted from the
+BUILD_INFO file and compared against the result of uname(3).
If the operating system or architecture of the package differ
from that of the host, installation is aborted. This behavior
is overridable with the -f flag.
3. The package build information from +BUILD_INFO is then checked
for USE_ABI_DEPENDS=NO (or IGNORE_RECOMMENDED). If the pack-
age was built with ABI dependency recommendations ignored, a
warning will be issued.
4. A check is made to determine if the package conflicts (from
@pkgcfl directives, see pkg_create(1)) with an already
recorded as installed package or if an installed package con-
flicts with the package. If it is, installation is termi-
5. The file list of the package is compared to the file lists of
the installed packages. If there is any overlap, the instal-
lation is terminated.
6. All package dependencies (from @pkgdep directives, see
pkg_create(1)) are read from the packing list. If any of
these required packages are not currently installed, an
attempt is made to find and install it; if the missing package
cannot be found or installed, the installation is terminated.
7. If the package contains an install script, it is executed with
the following arguments:
pkg-name The name of the package being installed.
PRE-INSTALL Keyword denoting that the script is to perform
any actions needed before the package is
If the install script exits with a non-zero status code, the
installation is terminated.
8. The files from the file list are extracted to the chosen pre-
9. If an install script exists for the package, it is executed
with the following arguments:
pkg_name The name of the package being installed.
POST-INSTALL Keyword denoting that the script is to perform
any actions needed after the package has been
10. After installation is complete, a copy of the packing list,
deinstall script, description, and display files are copied
into <PKG_DBDIR>/<pkg-name> for subsequent possible use by
pkg_delete(1). Any package dependencies are recorded in the
other packages' +REQUIRED_BY file.
11. Finally, if we were upgrading a package, any +REQUIRED_BY file
that was moved aside before upgrading was started is now moved
back into place.
The install script is called with the environment variable PKG_PREFIX set
to the installation prefix (see the -p option above). This allows a
package author to write a script that reliably performs some action on
the directory where the package is installed, even if the user might
change it with the -p flag to pkg_add. The scripts are also called with
the PKG_METADATA_DIR environment variable set to the location of the +*
meta-data files, and with the PKG_REFCOUNT_DBDIR environment variable set
to the location of the package reference counts database directory. If
the -P flag was given to pkg_add, PKG_DESTDIR will be set to destdir.
Additionally, PKG_METADATA_DIR and PKG_REFCOUNT_DBDIR are prefixed with
See pkg_install.conf(5) for options, that can also be specified using the
In all cases, pkg_add will try to install binary packages listed in
You can grab a compiled binary package from remote location by specifying
# pkg_add http://cdn.NetBSD.org/pub/pkgsrc/packages/NetBSD/x86_64/9.0/All/firefox-84.0.tgz
The base URL can also be provided by the configuration variable,
# export PKG_PATH=http://cdn.NetBSD.org/pub/pkgsrc/packages/NetBSD/x86_64/9.0/All
# pkg_add firefox
You can also specify a compiled binary package by filesystem path:
# pkg_add /usr/pkgsrc/packages/All/tcsh-6.14.00.tgz
If you omit the version number, pkg_add will install the latest version
available. With -v, pkg_add emits more messages to terminal:
# pkg_add -v /usr/pkgsrc/packages/All/unzip
pkg_admin(1), pkg_create(1), pkg_delete(1), pkg_info(1),
Initial work and ongoing development.
NetBSD wildcard dependency processing, pkgdb, upgrading, etc.
Rewrote most of the code base to work without external commands.
Package upgrading needs a lot more work to be really universal.
Sure to be others.
NetBSD 9.99 March 8, 2021 NetBSD 9.99