Freesco
...From Scratch.


FAQ's, HOWTO's & Documentation
FAQ's
Packages
 
 
 


Package FAQ's
Important note: Read our Third Party Disclaimer.

  1. What are packages?
  2. Where do I get them from?
  3. How do I use them?
  4. How do I install a package?
  5. How do I remove a package?
  6. How can I mirror packages so that I can use them offline?
  7. How can I write a package?
  8. Installing <Package X> has stopped my router working correctly / lost my data / destroyed my hardware.

1) What are packages?

Packages are small self-contained programs that come ready-compiled for use on a Freesco machine. Packages provide an easy and fast way to install and uninstall extra components onto a Freesco machine. They are intended to make it easy to add extra facilities (everything from text editors to Perl interpreters, new drivers to network statistics) to a Freesco machine quickly, easily and simply. Normally, all packages are pre-configured and can be used by even a novice user without need of specialist knowledge.

2) Where do I get them from?

There are a number of official packages and also many third-party packages. See our Programs & Packages section for more details.

3) How do I use them?

There are several commands used within Freesco for installing and removing packages. These can be run from the Freesco machine or over a telnet connection.

First, we need to find a package to install for which there is the listpkg command, which shows which packages are available from a particular site. If you type:

listpkg

Freesco will look on the official Freesco site and show you a list of all the currently available "official" packages (for which you must be connected to the Internet, obviously). Each package has a name and a short description, e.g.:

ftp - Standard linux/unix ftp program.

You can also list the packages on sites other than the official Freesco site by giving the listpkg command the address, e.g.:

listpkg http://www.fromscratch.org.uk/
This will list all of the packages available from this site.

Next, once you have a chosen a package to install, you need to install it.

4) How do I install a package?

Packages are installed using the installpkg command. Say you wanted to install the ftp package from the official Freesco site. You would type:

installpkg ftp

The following screen then appears:

Now downloading the install script for ftp from the freesco site...
http://www.freesco.info/freesco.org/~devel/packages/0.2.7/ftp.sh (0K)
ftp.sh [########################] 0K | 204.42K/s
857 bytes transferred in 0.01 sec (109.69k/sec)
Do you want to view the install script before executing it [y/n]?

You've now downloaded the install script and now need to run it. Freesco asks if you wish to view the install script before running it (a sensible precaution if you do not trust the script (i.e. package) author and understand shell scripts). If so press Y and then Enter and you will see the script, which you can check for unscrupulous commands.

If you trust the script (i.e. package) author, press N and then Enter. You are now asked:

Continue installing [y/n]?

If you are sure you want to install the package, press Y then enter, else press N then Enter.

If you do install the package, it will go off and download it and install it and (hopefully) configure itself for you, although this may take a long time if you install a large package over a slow connection.

Once it is done, the package is then installed and ready for use (usually). Make sure to read all instructions concerning the package, in it's description, on the author's website and in the installation process.

To install a package from a site other than the official Freesco site, say wapr's las package, you would type:

installpkg http://www.freesco.info/freesco.org/~wapr/las

The http://www.freesco.info/freesco.org/~wapr/ is the path to the packages (where you would listpkg to see the list of wapr's packages). The las is the package name (as stated in the listpkg description).

5) How do I remove a package?

Typing the command:

removepkg

will display a list of packages which can be automatically removed. To remove a specific package from this list, say ftp, use this command:

removepkg ftp

You will be asked if you are sure and if you answer Y, the package will be removed. You may need to reboot your router after this to ensure correct operation.

If your package does not appear on this list, the package author has not provided you a way to automatically remove the package and this needs to be done so manually.

6) How can I mirror packages so that I can use them offline?

A package consists of two files, a .tgz archive and a .sh install script. For example, a package named joystick from www.somehost.com is actually the two files:

http://www.somehost.com/joystick.tgz
http://www.somehost.com/joystick.sh

Thus, downloading these links will give you the complete package so that you can place it on your own website or on a local network web server (such as Freesco's own web server).

For completeness, the list of packages seen when using listpkg is actually just a plain text file which is manually kept synchronised with available packages. E.g.

listpkg http://www.somehost.com/

actually just displays the file:

http://www.somehost.com/packages.txt

Once you have downloaded all the appropriate packages and the package list, copying them to a directory which you can access using a normal web browser, either on a proper web server on the web or a local intranet web server, or even the Freesco machine itself (if you enabled the Public HTTP server or Admin server and placed the appropriate files in the /www or /wwa directory respectively) you can then just listpkg and installpkg as normal.

Say you copied your favourite packages to a machine called router on your network which is running a webserver where the files are visible in the /packages directory of the website. Then:

listpkg router/packages

will display the packages.txt file from that location and:

installpkg router/packages/firstpackage

will install the package called firstpackage.

Please note: There appear to be problems accessing Freesco's internal webserver from the machine itself. Hence, if you have enabled the Public HTTP server on Freesco and copied your mirror packages into /www, listpkg and installpkg may or may not work depending on how you access the computer.

Using listpkg nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn (where nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn is the network IP address of the machine) or listpkg networkname (where networkname is the machine's network name) may or may not work. If it does not, usually the problem can be resolved using listpkg 127.0.0.1 or listpkg localhost instead of the usual syntax. Similar changes apply to the installpkg command.

7) How can I write a package?

There is an official HOWTO for this, which can be found on our Official HOWTO's page.

8) Installing <Package X> has stopped my router working correctly / lost my data / destroyed my hardware.

Er... not to put too fine a point on it... Tough. Read our Third Party Disclaimer. Blame the package author.

 

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