duration of the ports freeze

Mark Linimon linimon at lonesome.com
Sat Dec 1 05:22:51 PST 2007

On Sat, Dec 01, 2007 at 03:08:43AM -0800, David Southwell wrote:
> I must say I am having difficulty understanding the policies applicable
> during ports freeze. 

I had hoped that http://www.freebsd.org/portmgr/qa.html and
http://www.freebsd.org/portmgr/implementation.html would have been clear
enough on what the policies are -- that was the motivation for writing
these documents.

> The freeze seems to be of longer duration than originally expected

As are most of them.  Welcome to the world of software engineering
schedules :-)

> I would however like to ask, on the basis of what is being learned now,
> how could the length freezes be diminished on future occasions? 

After the 5.3 release, there was a lot of discussion between the ports
management and release engineering teams on how to do exactly that.

To some extent we're dependent on the state of the source tree; changes
that affect the ABI cause us to have to go back and re-do package sets.
The release engineers are now much more aware of this impact that they
were in the past.  However, .0 releases are particularly difficult on
this front, since we have to live with any ABI mistakes for several
years.  Thus, it's worth a delay to avoid having to support a bad or
questionable implemenation.  Unfortunately, these are often not caught
until the prelease starts to get widespread testing outside of the
developer community.

Another cause is that we're trying to get as many packages buildable and
useful for release as we can.  This is particularly important for the
non-i386 architectures, which do not have as large a user base.

Note: this time we waited to start the freeze until nearly the RC1 date --
in the past, we had done it earlier in the beta cycles.  There's nothing
to be done when RC1 slips, however; we want to have as good a package
set entering RC1 as we can get.

In the meantime, the number of working packages is probably close to an
all-time high numerically (I don't have enough sense of historically to
say percentage-wise, although I suspect it's a recent maximum).  Folks
can help out by trying to install systems just from the packages and
letting us know what problems they find.


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