[FreeBSD-Announce] Volunteers needed to help maintain ports

Dmitry Marakasov amdmi3 at mail.ru
Thu May 25 04:38:46 PDT 2006

* Kris Kennaway (kris at obsecurity.org) wrote:
> Many of you no doubt make use of the FreeBSD Ports Collection for
> installing and managing third-party software.  What you may not know
> is that a lot of the ports in the Ports Collection have no assigned
> maintainer.  Unmaintained ports tend to lag behind the rest of the
> Ports Collection in the speed of updates to new versions, and in the
> overall quality of the port.  With nearly 15000 third-party
> applications in the Ports Collection, and dozens more added every week,
> there is an ever-present need for more volunteers to assist in
> maintaining ports.
I think that there's no much reason to panic about large quantity of
ports without maintainer. I have more that 500 ports installed, and
among ports that have no maintainer, almost every port is at it's
latest version.

What are unmaintained ports? 
I can divide these into 3 categories:

1) Software no longer developed. New versions are released very
rarely, if ever released. Do these actually need a maintainer?
I see high probability of situation like this:
- Someone answers the call and adopts the port
- ...time passes...
- Maintainer becomes unreachable, and even if someone sends an update,
  we'll have to wait for `maintainer timeout', and then reset the
  maintainer again.

2) Software with new versions released frequently. The port has no
maintainer, but still it's updated by `by-passers' regularly, so it's
at latest version.

3) Ports that actually need a maintainer. This is small percentage of
currently `unmaintained' ports. I think most of these are in specific
categories like biology, science, finance.

My opinion is that we don't need every port without maintainer adopted
by someone, as this will not do any good and may even harm. But, we
need maintainers for unmaintained ports which:
- are currently outdated (i.e. newer vesion of software was released)
- have PR's, compile problems or are BROKEN
Also, we might explicitly ask people who update unmaintained ports to
become maintainers of these.

By the way, for determining currently outdated ports, we need something
like Edwin's `New ports distfiles checker'. It was located here:
but now it seems to be dead. I've risen that topic in March. Edwin said
then that there were problems with sqlite (which seem to be fixed now),
and Shaun Amott offered to run similar service. I think this topic has
to be risen again - such service will be of great help in keeping ports
up to date and seeking maintainers for ports that are really in need of

Best regards,
 Dmitry                          mailto:amdmi3 at mail.ru

More information about the freebsd-ports mailing list