Improving Ada support on FreeBSD and in the ports system

Mark Linimon linimon at
Sun Nov 8 04:06:36 UTC 2009

It's true that the Ada packages have suffered a fair amount of bit-rot
in the past year or so.  I'm happy to see someone stepping forward to
work on them.

On Sat, Nov 07, 2009 at 09:29:36PM +0000, freebsd-ports at wrote:
>   PROBLEM 1. Lack of packages
>     Of the 10 packages listed, only three of those (maybe two) actually
>     work.

There were several more working, but a recent compiler update broke them.
At that time the portmgr team went ahead and marked the ports "broken".
That both advises users that they don't compile, and also triggers a
periodic email to the ports@ mailing list.  Beyond that we have to rely
on work done by individual contributors.

>   PROBLEM 3. Compiler version chaos and lack of architecture support
>     I believe there needs to be a mechanism to select an Ada compiler
>     for use with packages.  I'm not sure what the Ports system currently
>     provides for this case.  [...]  The setting should probably be a
>     port option that can be set in make.conf.

Most of the general mechanisms for selecting "port alternative foo vs.
bar" live in ports/Mk.  In particular, you will probably want to look at
ports/Mk/  A more advanced example is in  Note:
don't feel bad if you don't understand the contents of these files; they
have evolved to their current state over quite some period of time.  It's
perfectly fair to ask for help.

>     Lack of architecture support is a time-consuming issue.  Both GCC
>     and GNAT have support for a wide range of architectures but GNAT
>     only has support for FreeBSD i386 (and now AMD64 in trunk).  I have
>     produced bootstrap binaries for GCC 4.4 on i386 and AMD64 on FreeBSD
>     7.2 (and will produce binaries for 8.0 when it arrives) but do
>     not have access to any other architectures running FreeBSD.

For something like this that isn't widely used, I wouldn't spend too much
time on anything other than i386 and amd64.  That's where the majority of
our user base is (I'm guessing 80% and 15%, respectively, based on the PR
arrival statistics.)

I run the sparc64 package builds, and those machines have plenty of trouble
keeping up with the things they're already asked to build :-)


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