Second "RFC" on pkg-data idea for ports

Charles Swiger cswiger at
Tue Apr 13 13:00:50 PDT 2004

Hi, Garance--

On Apr 12, 2004, at 11:40 PM, Garance A Drosihn wrote:
> The basic idea is to collapse many of the separate files for a
> port into a single pkg-data file.  The web pages explain why I
> think this might be worth doing.  Please check them out at:
[ ... ]
> What I'd like is some idea of whether this project is worth
> pursuing.  If not, then Darren and I will concentrate on some
> other, less disruptive project.  If people like the general idea
> of this project, then we'll see how much of we can do.

You have some interesting ideas, but there seems to be a disconnect 
between the stated goal for this change and what you are actually 
proposing to do.

It seems to me that a project which moved the distinfo or pkg-descr 
files into the port Makefile-- similar to how pkg-comment/$COMMENT was 
done-- would result in roughly the same savings of inodes and disk 
space that your proposal is expected to accomplish, would be easier to 
do, and would be less intrusive than trying to replace the Makefile 
with your proposed XML-ish pkg-data format.

I remember some of the pain of dealing with the pkg-comment transition: 
a proposed change that can be done incrementally, or not at all for 
certain ports (ie, if a port has lots of distfiles, keeping distinfo 
external is probably easier to maintain) is much easier to accept than 
an all-or-nothing change that breaks backwards-compatibility.

If you do want to pursue the notion of replacing the set of files in a 
ports directory with your own archive format, perhaps you might start 
with a less ambitious goal, and find a way of archiving the contents of 
the files directory into a single file/inode-- perhaps  
Doing so would avoid a lot of the complexity and breakage of changing 
the port Makefiles into anything else, yet would still accomplish much 
of the inode/size savings that you want to accomplish...


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