Call for feedback on a Ports-collection change

Garance A Drosihn drosih at
Thu Jan 8 16:49:29 PST 2004

I have been pondering a possible change for the way the ports
collection is done.  I've done a little exploration into the
idea, but I thought I'd ask for more feedback before sinking
more time into it.  I believe I have someone who would do much
of the actual work for this change, so I think I can make it
happen, but I want to know if the FreeBSD ports project would
be interested in this idea if I come up with some working

To keep this as a "doable" project, I also have a fairly
modest goal:  Further reduce the inode-count of the ports
collection.  That's it.  There are many things which could
be done as a follow-on to this, but that's all I want to
try for right now.

The method is also pretty modest.  The only thing that makes
this a big project is the need to do it across the entire
ports collection, and without causing any disruption.

What I want to do is create one new file per port, and then
move almost all the other files into that new file.  Ideally
each port would end up with just two files.  The Makefile,
and this new file (some ports might also need a
file).  Especially as disks get ever-larger, I think we're
better off with fewer-but-larger files, instead of a larger
number of tiny files.

I would also write a single simple program, which knows how
to find the correct info for any given purpose.  Thus, the
format of the file should not be important.  The program
would know what to do for both "old-style" and "new-style"
ports, so we don't have to convert the entire collection
at once.  I think the easiest and clearest way to implement
this would be one C program, and not 800 lines of /bin/sh
commands and deep make-magic.

Does this seem like a reasonable project for me to pursue?
Does it conflict with other projects which are already in
the works to do a similar restructuring?  I wouldn't want
to start this project if no one thinks it is worth doing.

[This message is BCC'ed to FreeBSD-arch, but I expect the
discussion to happen on FreeBSD-ports]

Garance Alistair Drosehn            =   gad at
Senior Systems Programmer           or  gad at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute    or  drosih at

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