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

Cynthia Flynn 1cynthia2flynn3 at
Fri Mar 20 17:35:18 PDT 2009

Steven Kreuzer wrote:
> On Mar 20, 2009, at 5:24 PM, Cynthia Flynn wrote:
>> 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.
> when you do a make install for the mtools port, it does not prompt you 
> if you would like to build the port without X11. This can be enabled by 
> passing
> -DWITHOUT_X11 to make, or adding WITHOUT_X11=yes to make.conf to apply 
> it to all ports that you build on that system

And I should have to dig into each potential port to investigate whether 
such options might exist before finding out the hard way that my system 
is going to be loaded up with things I neither need nor want? Not a very 
user friendly approach.

>> 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.
> Can we consider people who use the CLI an advanced user? If so, the 
> expectation that they will be able to build a port with -DWITHOUT_X11 is 
> not unreasonable.
> People who are more likely to use the GUI are the ones who will not be 
> aware of the WITHOUT_X11 knob.

No, IMHO you absolutely cannot make such an assumption. Perhaps you are 
too young to recall this, but in the days of MS-DOS, everyone was using 
a CLI and very few would surpass the designation "novice". The UI in use 
does not imply a skill level. That said, yes, I am a relatively advanced 
user and could easily and comfortably customize the build. But I have 
more important things to do with my time than figure out what was made 
non-obvious and then document extra settings or steps for less 
knowledgeable people to follow.

I've installed numerous FreeBSD ports that exposed commonly desired 
options during the installation process. As far as I am concerned, that 
set a defacto standard that the mtools port does not meet. I'm afraid, 
Steven, that I do not understand your resistance to improving the user 
experience, advanced or not. And why you're suggesting to fork the port 
when simply presenting the option in an install-time configuration menu 
is all it would take to address the need is also beyond me. Perhaps I'm 
still missing something here.


More information about the freebsd-ports mailing list