How do You manage different program versions?

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# 1  
Wrench How do You manage different program versions?

I have an general question which happens when installing software by compiling them self. I'm using FreeBSD system 10.0 and the ports. for info, see:
As I installed BSD for some years there was (i.e.) perl-14 installed. Now, when doing some upgrades, perl-16 is needed by some ports. The problem is: some other older programs, that are still installed, require perl-14 when I do a update.

Can I general have perl-14 and perl-16 installed at the same time on a Unix machine?

And if yes - what is when a program compilation just only recommend "perl" and can not find the right version?

When no - how can I compile the older programs when there are no upgrades it?

I get the same problem i.e. with python27 and python24. How is it managed in general under UNIX that programs can compile when they needed different version of other programs (such like perl, python) or libraries?

(to explain: I understand updating as installing error fixes and upgrading as install a new version of a program)
# 2  
I am not a specialist for FreeBSD, so my advice will be generic. It may well be that FreeBSD has some special provisions for some of the things mentioned, but what i am going to suggest should work on every UNIX- and UNIX-like system.

One possibility is to create different directories for different versions,then create a link for the default version: instead of installing a software to, say, /opt/software you install version 1 to /opt/software-v1, version 2 to /opt/software-v2, then create a link /opt/software -> /opt/sofware-v2, which will make version 2 accessible through /opt/software (which is probably the default path for it) as well. Instead of reinstalling over and over again you just recreate the link if the necessity arises.

You might even create the link prior to installation of the software so that you can use normal installation routines (which most times uses a fixed path) and still have different directories for the different versions.

Another option is to control different software versions through the envrionment: binaries are searched for in the order in which the directories appear in the PATH.

For example: you have a binary "mybinary" installed in /opt/software-v1/bin and in another version in /opt/software-v2/bin. If your path looks like:


Then every time you enter "mybinary" without an explicit path version 1 would get executed, Would it be:


instead, version 2 would be executed by default.

It is, btw., the same with other environment variables which accept a list of directories, like the ksh-specific "FPATH" for instance.

Finally, this is a variation on this method, you can create different users, one with an environment pointing to one version, the other pointing to the other.

I hope this helps.


Last edited by Don Cragun; 01-31-2015 at 07:07 PM.. Reason: Fix a couple of ICODE tags.

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