New port with maintainer [was: Question about maintainers]

Mark Linimon linimon at
Thu Jul 28 17:51:44 GMT 2005

On Thu, Jul 28, 2005 at 07:22:49PM +0200, Roman Neuhauser wrote:
> I am a member of the mythical "users" group, and I don't mind fixing
> whatever breakage I stumble upon as I go.

And many users are in that same situation and that's fine; but many
others are either unwilling or lack the skills to do so.  See the GNATS
DB for many examples.  If things don't work for them, they're stuck.

> Would it be better if there were 9611 ports instead?

If they all worked -- yes!

> How about "maintained" ports where the maintainers don't take proper
> care of their ports?

That's why we have that policy (there's that word again) that maintainers
who don't maintain their ports after 3 months can have their ports
reassigned.  People have been reluctant to do that because the maintainers
are also volunteers and we try to respect their feelings (see below).

> I just don't see how no "designated maintainer" makes a port worse
> than port "maintained" by someone who refutes quite a bit of PRs
> with "I don't know, I only use minor part of the software, and
> that's all I can keep running".

At least someone is looking after it in the latter case; there is
someone the users can ask questions of, even if the answer is "I don't
know".  It is not an ideal situation, but it is a better situation
than having noone.
> FMPOV the situation is "mostly working" vs none.

Most users don't expect "mostly working".  They look at this list,
see that they can install something from it, and then get aggravated
when they find out they've wasted their time trying to use it.

> I've sent quite a few patches to various ports since I've started
> using FreeBSD, and my experience is that maintained ports
> (especially those "maintained" by certain addresses)
> are more likely to have PRs hanging for a long time. The situation
> is a bit <irony>better</irony> with ports maintained by people
> without a address, because committers usually don't
> bother waiting for approval.

This is like saying that one bad situation justifies another.  This
is not good logic.

It's an unpopular thing to try to hold ports maintainers accountable
for actually maintaining their ports -- especially in the cases of
FreeBSD committers, who IMHO ought to be held to a higher standard,
since they've already gone through a process which has shown that they
are willing to accept responsibility for work that they do on the project.
This work does go on and it's behind the scenes and best done while
wearing asbestos garb.  Since everyone working on ports if a volunteer,
we have no effective means of forcing anyone to do anything.  Gentle
reminders and requests are the best methods (again IMHO) to try to fix
these problems.

In any case, I believe that there are only a handful of maintainers
that fall into this category.  Spend an hour looking at portsmon's
various pages and I think you'll come to the same conclusion.

Again, I don't see how the idea that some maintainers don't maintain
their ports means that we should not bother to try to get ports assigned
to responsible people who will actively maintain them.


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