DEPENDS -- is it time to remove it?

RW fbsd06 at
Fri Jan 5 09:37:42 PST 2007

On Thu, 04 Jan 2007 14:01:46 +0000
Matthew Seaman <m.seaman at> wrote:

> Dear all,
> The ports make infrastructure has a whole series of variables for
> showing how one port depends on another: LIB_DEPENDS, BUILD_DEPENDS,
> RUN_DEPENDS etc.  Amongst these is what looks to me like the
> vestigial remnant of an earlier phase of the ports: the plain,
> unmodified 'DEPENDS' variable.
> This seems to have an effect apparently like all of the other DEPENDS
> variants rolled together, but unlike the others you can't give it a
> filename or a shlib to use as a test that whatever it references has
> been installed, so it always causes its target to be installed.
> The Porter's Handbook says (Section 5.7.10):
>    "Do not use DEPENDS unless there is no other way the behaviour you
> want can be accomplished. It will cause the other port to always be
> built (and installed, by default), and the dependency will go into the
>     packages as well. If this is really what you need, you should
> probably write it as BUILD_DEPENDS and RUN_DEPENDS instead--at least
> the intention will be clear."
> Plus it seems that there is nowadays a grand total of just 3 ports out
> of 16,300 or so that actually uses this variable:

Isn't DEPENDS still a sensible way of making one metaport depend on
another. For example if someone wanted to create a personal desktop
metaport that depends on KDE, xorg etc.  

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