Limitations of Ports System

Stephen Montgomery-Smith stephen at
Thu Dec 13 12:59:43 PST 2007

Steven Kreuzer wrote:
> This thread was called "results of ports re-engineering survey" but I 
> figured I would start a new thread.
> On Dec 12, 2007, at 6:45 AM, Ade Lovett wrote:
>> We *know* it can be done better.  We *know* the scaling limits of the 
>> current system, and most of us are completely amazed it even still works.
>> If y'all want to make a difference, concepts and ideas we have plenty 
>> of.  Code talks.
> Out of curiosity, are any of these shortcomings documented anywhere? I 
> have been using ports on my home machine for a long time and I've never
> had any problems with it. I assume the issues come into play when you 
> work with multiple systems you are trying to keep in sync, etc.
> I would be interested in reading about some of the limitations people 
> have run into when using ports.

My personal frustration is the great length of time it takes to do "make 
index" and pkg_version (which calls "make -V PKGNAME").  The problem is 
that make has to read the entire makefile, including all the includes, 
before it can decide the value of any variable.

I spent quite a while looking for speed improvements in this particular 
area, and couldn't find anything.  I think that you have to dispense 
with "make" as the tool that coordinates the building of the ports, and 
rethink it from scratch.

(I more or less came to the conclusion that it would be better to wait 
ten years until computers are ten times faster, and that in the mean 
time I could live with this particular problem.)


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