A plea or sanity in port options menu

Bill Moran wmoran at potentialtech.com
Mon Feb 2 12:39:28 PST 2009

In response to Warren Block <wblock at wonkity.com>:

> On Mon, 2 Feb 2009, Bill Moran wrote:
> > How about:
> >
> >       Options for port-fu
> > [ ] BRG   Bernstein Riggs Guillotine parsing
> > [X] QFZ   Quantum Freeze Zulu rending
> >
> > At least that one gives me _some_ idea what those TLAs mean.
> There was talk some time ago of having extended descriptions.  Several 
> ideas, but the one that made the most sense to me would be a box at the 
> bottom that would display a description as you moved through the 
> options:
> [.] BRG
> [X] QFZ
> Bernstein Riggs Guillotine parsing
> with the . representing the cursor/highlight position.  Move down and 
> the bottom line would change to say "Quantum Freeze Zulu rending".  The 
> nice thing about the box at the bottom is it would give a full line or 
> possibly several lines for explanations.
> Seems like it could be added without breaking the existing system with 
> an optional OPTIONS_DESC variable that would correspond with OPTIONS.
> I don't really know how hard that would be; ideas are cheap, 
> implementation more costly.

I don't think there's any need for any new features in the ports
infrastructure.  I think it's just a matter of Makefile authors taking
the time to describe their options.  A quick test of some ports turns
up this one:

 [ ] OPENGL  OpenGL support 

True but useless.  How about:

 [ ] OPENGL  Use OpenGL graphics library

...which, at least give the user _some_ idea what they're doing.

OpenGL probably isn't a good example, however.  It's pretty easy to Google
OpenGL and figure out what it is.  Here's some more bizarre options:

 [X] EPUB          Epub modules
 [X] EXTENSIONS    Extensions
 [X] TEMPLATE      Templates
 [X] TOOLS         Tools

I mean, if I enable "Extensions", what happens?  How do I figure out
what happens?  I have to read the Makefile, at which point having these
options on a menu is pretty pointless.  I mean, I can't even come up
with a Google search to help me figure out what "tools" are involved

There are some ports that do this very well.  For example:
 [ ] NLS               Use internationalized messages
 [ ] PAM               Build with PAM support (server only)
 [ ] LDAP              Build with LDAP authentication support
 [ ] MIT_KRB5          Build with MIT's kerberos support
 [ ] HEIMDAL_KRB5      Builds with Heimdal kerberos support
 [ ] OPTIMIZED_CFLAGS  Builds with compiler optimizations (-O3)
 [X] XML               Build with XML data type (server)
 [X] TZDATA            Use internal timezone database (server)
 [ ] DEBUG             Builds with debugging symbols
 [ ] ICU               Use ICU for unicode collation (server)
 [ ] INTDATE           Builds with 64-bit date/time type (server)

I mean, a Google on ICU is liable to bring up all sorts of medical drama
websites, but I can do a search for "ICU unicode" and find my answer on
the first result.  Not only am I told that optimized compiler flags are
an option, but I'm told the exact one that will be used (-O3)

The porters handbook doesn't seem to offer any helpful advice on these:

In fact, the examples it provides are excellent examples of doing it

Let me see about making a patch to the porters handbook to provide some
advice ...

Bill Moran

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