Package Management

The Zenwalk way of package management is to use NetPkg.

Netpkg is designed to update the system from a central repository. It can also install new software that is not on the install CD. Netpkg has a dependency management feature, enabled by default. A blacklist section in /etc/netpkg.conf can be edited for packages that you don't want to automatically update. xnetpkg is the GTK graphical user interface version of netpkg.

netpkg can be started in graphical mode or via the terminal. The graphical front end is the easiest to use, but with less fucntionality.

Using netpkg in the Graphical Mode (xnetpkg)

Running xnetpkg

XFCE menu => system > netpkg or via the ZenPanel

The Netpkg window appears, and it starts by loading a mirror database. At the moment, this version of netpkg does not work unless your box is connected to the Internet.

To select a mirror and click an downward arrow on the right. A list of available mirror address will drop down. Select a mirror which you want to use. There are 3 types of mirrors available: Current, Snapshop and Restricted.

  1. Current: select any of available Current mirrors if you wish to install stable packages and security fixes
  2. Snapshot : choose any of snapshot mirrors if you want to try out a cutting edge programs. The repository will contain the packages included in the development Zenwalk version
  3. Restricted: Some packages are located under a restricted mirror due to patent/legal reasons, like lame.

If you wish to edit, add mirrors that are not listed or remove mirrors, you can do so by writing down a mirror address in the box.

How to use


Netpkg has the following layout.

  1. Mirror selection menu
  2. Filters: Ticking New makes a list of uninstalled programs appear on the left. Ticking Installed shows a list of installed programs. Ticking Updates shows a list of upgradable programs available in the repository. Similarly ticking Downgrades lists available downgradable programs on the left.
  3. Main panel: This is where you see Categories and Program names as well as the status of each package.
  4. Action button: Click here after selecting package(s) to install, uninstall, upgrade or downgrade.
  5. Description box: This is where you get a brief description of a program you selected in Main panel

    How to install a package

  6. Select a package you want to install on Main panel.
  7. Read the description of the selected program. If you are happy with the selection, tick the little box next to the package name in Main panel.
  8. Click Action button to proceed.

  9. Under the Actions window, you will find:

       1. Your selection.
       2. Installation button as well as an option to include all the dependency files needed for the program to function.
       3. Click the little box here if you want to overwrite related congifuration files with .new config files. You can also exit this window by clicking Close.

  10. If you have chosen to update, downgrade or uninstall, the following action window similar to the one shown below will appear:

       1. Your selection.
       2. Installation button and Remove package button appear here.

Using netpkg in the Command Line Interface (netpkg)

Running netpkg

Become root by typing su,enter your root password, and type netpkg.

The terminal version of netpkg can do a lot more than the graphical version. Netpkg's parameters are covered in the next section.

How to use
Netpkg.conf (netpkg configuration file)

Located in the /etc directory

You will be able to change some parameters by adding or erasing the '#' symbol at the beginning of some lines to (un)comment configuration lines. Uncommented lines (those without hash marks "#") are read and executed. Here are the most useful:

Some advice for upgrading your system

First, always upgrade Netpkg:

   # netpkg netpkg

Then, when you have to update "X11, XFCE, Desktop", you should do it in text mode, with leaving the graphical one

Don't be afraid, it's quite simple:

  1. Leave your graphical session:

    Run your root Terminal, and go to init 3:
       # init 3
  2. Do the needed update:
       # netpkg xorg xorg-drivers xfce
  3. Go back to the graphical session, in init 4
       # init 4