New port with maintainer [was: Question about maintainers]

Roman Neuhauser neuhauser at
Fri Jul 29 10:22:00 GMT 2005

    Marc, this mail is a bit lengthy, but please read it as a portmgr
    team member.

# linimon at / 2005-07-28 21:02:25 -0500:
> > You know, I'd really like to see a proof that most of the FreeBSD
> > users are what you call them: *users* (emphasis added to point out
> > the derogative).
> That's your derogative -- not mine.  Please don't misattribute quotes
> to me or put words in my mouth, thanks.  This thread is problematic
> enough without that.
    Yes, sorry, I didn't mean to put anything in your mouth; the
    derogative was mine.

> I think we ought to make a best effort to make sure that things work
> to the extent that, _in general_, people don't have to try to edit
> Makefiles to make a port install and run correctly.

    That's my thoughts exactly. I just don't think mandatory
    maintainership will help in this regard, or will bite us somewhere
> There is obviously not going to be any agreement here between the
> two camps of 'commit only things that we can guarantee will be useful'
> and 'commit anything that might be useful to someone, somewhere, at
> some point.'  Frankly if we go to the latter it will save me, personally,
> an awful lot of effort that I try to put forth, and I will instead go
> work on my own interesting hacks.
> If people feel strongly enough that this single requiremet is too
> burdensome, then maybe they should investigate setting up a ports-wip
> (Work In Progress) repository somewhere to hold 'might work, good luck'
> code.  NetBSD uses this model as pkgsrc-wip; you don't even need to be
> a NetBSD committer to add things to it.  (Disclaimer: I merely lurk
> on the NetBSD lists and am not intimately familiar with their processes.)
    This looks like I somehow caused you to think that I advocate
    committing halfbaked ports. That's not the case. I'll try to explain
    my point using a specific, realworld example.

    On 2005-03-22, George Gesslein II, author of a mathematical software
    called mathomatic and a FreeBSD nonuser asked on ports@ whether
    someone could create a port for it:

    I sent a PR with the port the same day. MAINTAINER was set to
    ports at, because I have zero use for the software. I wrote
    the port because I thought it might be useful to someone else (the
    author probably thoughts so if he requested the port):


    From: Roman Neuhauser <neuhauser at>
    To: Mikhail Teterin <mi+mx at>
    Cc: freebsd-gnats-submit at
    Subject: Re: ports/79118: [NEW PORT] math/mathomatic
    Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 22:19:34 +0100

     # mi+mx at / 2005-03-22 15:57:42 -0500:
     > Roman, why would not you be the maintainer?
         Ok, sign me up.
         /me sighs

    I had had a reply written saying that I'd simply be a very bad
    maintainer for the port (for the above mentioned reasons), but the
    thought of the ping pong ("why not?", "c'mon, you can do it!", etc
    [hyperbole, but that's what you guys do, and it's not pleasant])
    wasn't too attractive, so I bowed.

    On 2005-04-11, thierry committed a modified version of the port
    without consulting the changes with me (but put my address in
    MAINTAINER).  The original submission wasn't perfect: I forgot to
    handle NOPORTDOCS. Thierry should have told me to fix the problem,
    there was no rush after all, but that didn't happen. He didn't
    mention that the code is different from the PR number quoted in the
    commit message either.

    On 2005-05-18, Ying-Chieh Liao sent a PR updating the port to a
    newer version, with cc to me. That was nice: I don't use the
    software, and wasn't even aware that there was a new release.

    So, what do we have here? Am I the maintainer? What does that
    actually mean anyway? These are honest, serious questions I would
    like to get answers to, because I don't see a practical difference
    besides the value of MAINTAINER; in practice, you guys don't lose
    your time honoring the variable's value.

    This wasn't an isolated incident, and I expect having my name put on
    further pieces of someone else's code without permission as I
    continue contributing my little bits.
    You know, talking to you as the portmgr team member, you do have
    a problem with port maintainership handling, but it's a different
    one from "too many ports at ports".

    Ying-Chieh's patch nicely brings forth the other side of the story:
    he/she hadn't created the port him-/herself, but updating it to a
    newer version was easy enough. *That* is what I meant by "I'll
    create a port, someone will probably find it useful", I have *not*
    pushed the idea that ports that meet the criteria for BROKEN on
    arrival should be committed!
    From where I'm standing, bringing the port in (even "unmaintained")
    looks like a win.

How many Vietnam vets does it take to screw in a light bulb?
You don't know, man.  You don't KNOW.
Cause you weren't THERE.   

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