Suggested improvements for ports

Boris Samorodov bsam at
Fri Jan 11 09:43:20 PST 2008

On Fri, 11 Jan 2008 09:29:14 -0600 Paul Schmehl wrote:

Seems that some answers (well, maybe some not obvious, some lack
examples, etc.)  are already at the Porters Handbook:

> Some of this has been discussed ad infinitum, but, in an off-list
> conversation, I came up with this list of suggested improvements for
> port.  I'd like to see these things done, but I'm not sure how.
> Improve the docs?  Create a checklist?

> 1) You can't build a dependent port and first set the config for the
> options that you want.  So, when you select sasl in postfix, you never
> get the chance to check the saslauthd option, for example.
> 2) There's no standard for some of the details of port building.  So,
> it's entirely up to the port maintainer and the committer to decide
> how to build the port.  The postfix port maintainer *could* include a
> dependency for saslauthd. He chose not to.  He *could* include a note
> in pkg-message that warns you that saslauthd needs to be installed as
> well.  He chose not to.  His choices are both reasonable and
> customary, but they don't serve the customer well.

I'd say that there is a way to handle this one: PR. Post a PR with
patches to a current port. If maintainer abandoned the patches you may
file a PR to create a new port (ex. a slave one) which you will

> 3) There's no standard for the format of pkg-plist, pkg-message or
> pkg-descr, so port maintainers are free to put whatever they want in
> there.  There's a customary way of doing it, but it's not set in stone
> and variations are found throughout ports.

At those cases which needs standartization (i.e. http section at
pkg-descr) it exists. And I don't see much harm if the rest is not
standarized. Can you show an examples when it hurts?

> 4) There's no standard for config files.  Do you overwrite?  Do you
> ignore?  Do you create port.conf-sample?  port.conf-dist?
> port.conf-example?  Do you check to see if port.conf is there, and, if
> not, copy it to ${LOCALBASE}/etc? ${PREFIX}/etc?
> 5) There's no standard for pkg-plist.  When is it required?  When is
> it not? (IOW, what's the maximum number of files you can put in
> Makefile so you don't have to create a pkg-plist?  Do you use unexec
> always?  Or only when you want/decide to?  Do you just ignore the conf
> file and not uninstall it?

> I don't know the right answer to these questions, but I think they
> need to be answered.  I'm willing to volunteer to do some work if
> someone will tell me what that work is.  Docs?  A committee?

The best way is to enhance the Porters Handbook. Take a topic, create
patches, send them to the list, discuss and then send a PR with
patches. That would be great. BTW, thanks for taking care of it.

> Suggestions welcomed.

Boris Samorodov (bsam)
Research Engineer, Telephone & Internet SP
FreeBSD committer, The Power To Serve

More information about the freebsd-ports mailing list