Limitations of Ports System

Paul Schmehl pauls at
Fri Dec 14 08:08:55 PST 2007

--On Friday, December 14, 2007 12:19:06 +0000 RW 
<fbsd06 at> wrote:

> On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 22:34:58 -0500
> "Aryeh M. Friedman" <aryeh.friedman at> wrote:
>> Namely if I build abc with options 123 and 345 and
>> def with 345 and 678 then 345 will be cached for def since we already
>> set it for abc.
> How do you know the user wants 345 set on both ports?
> It might be a useful stable feature on "abc", but causes lock-ups on
> "def"

SInce I've already killfiled Aryeh, I can only infer what you are 
responding to and respond to him.  But let me state this emphatically in 
the hopes it will get through his thick skull.  IT IS NOT THE JOB OF PORTS 
TO MAKE DECISIONS FOR USERS.  Please repeat that one hundred times until it 
gets through.

No port should *ever* make decisions on a users behalf.  Suggestions, yes 
(e.g. OPTIONS that are enabled by default.)  Decisions, no.  If you depend 
on another port *and* on certain knobs in that dependency being enabled, 
then *tell* the user that during your port's install and let them decide 
how to handle it.  DO NOT enable those knobs yourself, no matter how 
tempting it may be.

It is beyond impossible for anyone to know what every user who is 
installing ports already has on their boxes or what they might want to add 
or ***what you might break***.  Once you begin making decisions for them, 
you could well stomp all over something that was functioning perfectly 
normally and break a critical box.

DON'T DO IT.  That is so Microsoftian it's not funny.

Paul Schmehl (pauls at
Senior Information Security Analyst
The University of Texas at Dallas

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