mtools vs X11 (Re: FreeBSD Port: syslinux-3.72)

Cynthia Flynn 1cynthia2flynn3 at
Fri Mar 20 14:24:29 PDT 2009

Steven Kreuzer wrote:
> On Mar 19, 2009, at 4:06 AM, perryh at wrote:
>> Gary Jennejohn <gary.jennejohn at> wrote:
>>> Luigi Rizzo <rizzo at> wrote:
>>>> ... Cynthia Flynn wrote:
>>> [snip - syslinux pulls in too much X11 stuff]
>>>> I think the extra dependencies that you find listed for syslinux:
>>>> [snip]
>>>> come directly from mtools ...
>>> Yeah.  It looks like mtools uses X11 by default, which IMHO is
>>> incorrect.  Instead it should have an option to turn X11 _on_,
>>> rather than one for turning it _off_, as it currently does.
>> IMO it is a POLA violation for mtools to depend on X11 *at all*.
>> Instead of having an option, maybe the port should be split so that
>> mtools itself just provides the code to access FAT filesystems, and
>> (say) mtools-gui does the fancy display stuff.
> mtools already supports WITHOUT_X11 so if you don't want the GUI stuff, 
> you can build the port
> without it. Personally, I think it makes more sense for mtools to be the 
> full and complete representation
> of the actual program.

Can someone confirm for me that a normal port install of mtools brings 
up a configuration menu in which the WITHOUT_X11 option can be set? I do 
not remember seeing any such thing, but it has probably been 6 months 
since I last tried it.

I would never have guessed mtools was a GUI application. I've only ever 
heard of and seen mtools being used as a command line tool set and 
therefore had the expectation that its port would be available to 
FreeBSD server operators in a fashion that makes sense for non-GUI 
users. Perhaps I am not as typical a user as I thought, and you folks 
certainly aren't obligated to address the requirements of niche users, 
but if the setting of WITHOUT_X11 is not clearly presented for setting 
during a normal port install then I would humbly suggest that for all 
practical purposes it doesn't exist for most users.


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