FreeBSD Port: syslinux-3.72

Luigi Rizzo rizzo at
Tue Mar 17 17:21:18 PDT 2009

On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 01:25:41PM -0700, Cynthia Flynn wrote:
> I would like to draw your attention to this posting in regards to the 
> syslinux FreeBSD port:
> FWIW, that posting belongs to this thread:
> Of more importance is H. Peter Anvin's private response to me in which 
> he said this:
>   "Okay, that sounds like the FreeBSD port stuff pull in way too
>    many things that aren't obligatory.  Python is only used by one
>    small contrib script that isn't relevant to 99% of all users
>    (pretty much only used by large-site system administrators); the
>    X libraries I have no clue where they even come into the picture!
>    Sounds like the FreeBSD ports people either need to factor the
>    package differently, or suppress some of their dependencies".
> syslinux is a powerful tool, but its FreeBSD port is just too bloated. 
> And given GRUB's inability to boot logical partitions, this means that a 
>  Linux-free FreeBSD production environment isn't possible for us. Not 
> the end of the world, I know, but it would be great if a future version 
> of the syslinux port were cleaned up to require only the truly necessary 
> dependencies and preferably without the horrible mtools package.

The only direct dependencies that syslinux brings in are "perl"
(not python) and "mtools".

Probably "perl" can be removed, though I did not bother because probably
95% of the systems have it installed already.
Patches welcome, of course, and if you want to install syslinux on
a reduced system you can just grab the two binaries you need:

    > ldd `which syslinux`
    /usr/local/bin/syslinux: => /lib/ (0x2807f000)

    > ldd `which mtools`
    /usr/local/bin/mtools: => /lib/ (0x2809e000) => /lib/ (0x280ae000) => /lib/ (0x281b0000)

I don't know why you think mtools is horrible, but it has a big reason
to be there, as explained in sysutils/syslinux/pkg-descr:

    This FreeBSD port can additionally operate on plain files containing
    a FAT image, thus requiring no special privilege. The program relies
    on mtools to perform the manipulation of the FAT filesystem.

I think the extra dependencies that you find listed for syslinux:

    > grep pkgdep /var/db/pkg/syslinux-3.72/+CONTENTS
    @pkgdep kbproto-1.0.3
    @pkgdep perl-5.8.8_1
    @pkgdep pkg-config-0.23_1
    @pkgdep xtrans-1.0.4
    @pkgdep xproto-7.0.10_1
    @pkgdep libXdmcp-1.0.2_1
    @pkgdep libXau-1.0.3_2
    @pkgdep libX11-1.1.3_1,1
    @pkgdep libICE-1.0.4,1
    @pkgdep libSM-1.0.3,1
    @pkgdep mtools-3.9.10_4

come directly from mtools, which seems to have a similar list of
dependencies. Once the mtools dependency list is fixed, we should
be ok.


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