ports and PBIs

Garrett Cooper yanefbsd at gmail.com
Sat Apr 10 10:35:07 UTC 2010

On Sat, Apr 10, 2010 at 1:45 AM, Julian Elischer <julian at elischer.org> wrote:
> On 4/10/10 12:20 AM, Garrett Cooper wrote:
>> On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 11:28 PM, Sam Fourman Jr.<sfourman at gmail.com>
>>  wrote:
>>> On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 10:11 PM, Adam Vande More<amvandemore at gmail.com>
>>>  wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 8:31 PM, Julian Elischer<julian at elischer.org>
>>>>  wrote:
>>>>> Alfred Perlstein , Matt at ix systems Kris (Mr PBI), some
>>>>> others and I, felt that these ideas seemed to make some sense
>>>>> and so I put them here for comment.
>>>> FWIW, when I see these discussions I'm always left wondering what's the
>>>> bad
>>>> part?  I do think there are problems, but there doesn't seem to be a
>>>> clear
>>>> defined set of what is wrong.   IMO, there should be a defined set of
>>>> goals
>>>> to judge possible implementations against.
>>> Let me start by saying FreeBSD ports is by far the best system I have
>>> used to date.
>>> but as good as it is, there is room for improvement.
>>> Being a FreeBSD user now for many years, one thing I think would be nice
>>> is:
>>> being able to have easier access to development ports( Masked ports
>>> kinda like Gentoo).
>> Masking ports and packages in general introduces all sorts of fun new
>> complexity for end users as well as maintainers. The last time I used
>> Gentoo (which was only a matter of months ago), a lot portage packages
>> were still masked even though they've been stable for months, years,
>> etc. This is very annoying for me as an end-user because bug blah
>> could be fixed in a later release but in order to unmask the pieces
>> for version blah, I had to unmask 10~15 other `unstable packages',
>> which greatly increased the chance of instability on my system (this
>> was particularly the case back several years ago, but Gentoo has
>> become more conservative over the years, and appears to be approaching
>> some level of equilibrium with Fedora, Ubuntu, etc in terms of
>> releases and package versioning).
>>> right now is a GREAT example, currently there are new Gnome ,KDE and
>>> Xorg.
>>> these are all MAJOR ports,dependencies run deeper and deeper with every
>>> release.
>>> there can never be enough testing...but they all exist in random
>>> subversion servers around the web...
>> ports isn't going to solve this. Post the Xorg modularization (which
>> needed to occur anyhow because Xorg and Xfree86 before that was were
>> monolithic beasts), I personally don't see that change in the amount
>> of  flux on a quarterly cycle, and the number of packages I install
>> today isn't that much greater than back 6 years ago when I started
>> using FreeBSD. So, while there might be some claim here to note, I
>> think it's mostly exaggerated.
>>> I would very much like to help test these Major ports, but installing
>>> them is a pain.
>>> there should be some sort of overlay system in place, so I can just
>>> build the development ports
>>> after agreeing to a few well placed warnings of course. and Well if I
>>> hose my system all to hell..
>>> well then I could just click on a bunch of PBI's and I am back in
>>> business...
>> Ok, apart from the interface (click a PBI, and magically you have
>> packages installed)... how is this really different from binary
>> packages? Have you tried installing binary packages lately via
>> pkg_add? If not, I'd give it a shot instead of installing from ports.
> yes but there are still dependency problems if you want to install a single
> package and you installed all the previous ones a year ago.
> With PBIs each package is self standing, so you can install one
> and not worry if it requires a different version of some library
> to what you installed last year.

If I'm understanding you correctly you're saying it's an issue when I do:

pkg_add A B C

# 1 year passes

pkg_add D

# D depends on A, B, C, of different revisions. pkg_add barfs because
it can't find the applications, etc.

This is something that's been hashed over a number of times (a few of
which I've participated in in #bsdports). There needs to be a simple
update command which will handle the action of upgrading packages,
because there isn't a proper command that will do so today.

Unless PBIs are self-contained entities which have their own sets of
dependent utilities and libraries, etc (which you weren't suggesting
in the sentence above), or install into a common location with
versioned directories (which is a pain in the ass and involves a lot
of hardcoded pains dealing with libtool files, libraries, etc -- been
there, done that with Gentoo Linux -- there are hack scripts written
to work around several possible hardcoded version issue, and there are
a handful), AFAIK there's nothing positive and new that PBIs can bring
to the table in this regard that can't be implemented in pkg_install
as-is, other than the point-click-install user-friendly interface.

>>> better still, make the development ports a PBI, I am just thinking out
>>> loud here,but that may work, toughts?
>>> one could say I could use merge scripts like marcusmerge for example,
>>> or use Virtualbox...
>>> but for large ports like Xorg and gnome or KDE, virtualbox doesn't cut it
>>> yet...
>>> thinks like Nvidia Video cards, multiple monitors, USB devices, and
>>> whatnot do not work on virtual box..
>>> PBI's for development ports, with all the dependencies, wrapped in one
>>> package.
>> Ok, well here's the thing. Instead of having N shared dependencies and
>> libraries in /usr/local/lib, you'd have N**2 shared dependencies and
>> libraries in each and every package. Now, let's look at
>> $ ls -l irssi-0.8.14_1.tbz ~/Downloads/Irssi0.8.14_1-PV0.pbi
>> -rw-r--r--  1 gcooper  gcooper  6856203 Apr 10 00:05
>> /usr/home/gcooper/Downloads/Irssi0.8.14_1-PV0.pbi
>> -rw-r--r--  1 root     wheel     517442 Apr 10 00:07 irssi-0.8.14_1.tbz
>> The .tbz file is a file created with pkg_create -b, and the other file
>> is the PBI I pulled off of http://www.pbidir.com/bt/download/210/2079
>> . Big difference in size (13.25 fold difference).
> Yes but that is a worst case thing.  We are talking about making
> a system where the PBIs contain all the libraries needed but that
> only some of them are installed, when there is not already the
> same one (i.e. identical) installed by a previous PBI.
> so if you installed, say, 20 PBI from the same 'set' you woudl only
> be installing one copy of the libraries that

See above comment.

>> PBIs only comprise a small set of packages in FreeBSD; if my
>> understanding is correct based on a mirror referenced in pbidir.com,
>> the number is currently under 500~750 PBIs -- this is drastically
>> smaller than the number of binary packages produced by ports on a
>> regular basis for FreeBSD.
>>> solution? well let all the developers develop working ports in
>>> progress in one place, give users like me a way to track these changes
>>> and install and test them... I think FreeBSD becomes a better place for
>>> it.
>> Packages are more of the answer IMO, not PBIs. PBIs are merely a
>> different set of contents and different means of delivering those
>> contents, and while I like the idea of point - click - install, I'm
>> not ready to create unnecessary complexity by having libraries rev'ed
>> according to what the maintainer A believes are correct, even though
>> maintainer B set it differently, and I'm not interested in sacrificing
>> disk space for this reason. If I wanted to use a packaging scheme like
>> this, I should be using Mac OSX as my primary operating system.
> well no-one is going to make you use PBIs

Yes, but if I now have to waste more bandwidth and disk space
installing packages, why shouldn't I go to another operating system?
Switching over to PBIs will reel in more desktop and entry-level
sysadmins, etc, but I fear that it will isolate folks in the embedded
market as well as several more seasoned users because of the
implications involved with the extra bandwidth requirement and

>> Thanks,
>> -Garrett
>> PS Don't let this discourage you though in considering the entry-level
>> user case. I'm just apparently more insane than some folks (not as
>> insane as some others though), and I just don't believe in this
>> ideology because things are fine for me as-is.

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