Unification of distfiles

Marc Espie espie at nerim.net
Sun Oct 19 08:53:35 PDT 2003

I think trying to unify distfiles somehow is a great idea.
If I remember right, both Free and Net have mechanisms similar
to DIST_SUBDIR, so it just means that we ought to try to have
similar naming there.

I'm all in favor for greater communication in that area, and possibly
people advertizing distfiles mirrors that would hold stuff for all three

Now, for stuff that exists over in OpenBSD land, that might be of
interest to other people.

One other issue which has been fairly annoying as far as OpenBSD was
concerned, is distfiles changing checksums without changing names.

We've had a fairly thorough mechanism for dealing with this in place
for a long while, look at the code handling REFETCH in our bsd.port.mk,
plus the /usr/ports/infrastructure/fetch/link-checksums script.

Basically, every mirror should run this once in a while. This establishes
alternate access methods for files, based on md5/sha1/rmd160 checksums.
The price to pay is that the mirror ought to be located on a system
with unix filesystem semantics (and preferably a single partition) to avoid
duplication of files.

We also have a `mirror-maker' target that knows how to create a master
Makefile in /usr/ports/distfiles, that is 10000+ lines long, and can be
used to do automated operations on all distfiles (fetching them, checking
checksums, verifying mirrors). The fact that it is a Makefile makes it very
easy to run operations in parallel and diminish network bandwidth
bottlenecks for grabbing a file.

I've been very happy with this redesign of our infrastructure (note that
the Makefile is portable enough that Bob Beck actually runs it under
Solaris on a sunsite for a distfiles mirror), and I believe it could be
useful to other people.... Feel free to ignore this, if you feel offended
by the idea that OpenBSD may have done something right.

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