Data files and ports

Jesse Smith jessefrgsmith at
Fri Jun 11 19:31:00 UTC 2010

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Pentchev <roam at>
To: Greg Larkin <glarkin at>
Cc: Jesse Smith <jessefrgsmith at>, freebsd-ports
<freebsd-ports at>
Subject: Re: Data files and ports
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2010 17:41:45 +0300

On Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 10:17:46AM -0400, Greg Larkin wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Jesse Smith wrote:
> > I'm trying to teach myself how to build a FreeBSD port and, with a lot
> > of help from the manual, it's going well. I have a question though
> > concerning policy/style.
> > 
> > I'm trying to port a program which is distributed in two separate
> > packages from the upstream project. One package contains the executable
> > program and the other contains data files. The Data package rarely
> > changes. The idea being packaging them together would use up a lot of
> > extra bandwidth.
> > 
> > Which brings me to the question: Since the executable relies on the data
> > files being in place before it's run, how should I handle that in the
> > port? Should I just get the executable to install and let the user
> > manually get the data files? Should I create a second port for the data
> > package? Or should I find some way of making the executable's makefile
> > download and unpack the data package?
> > 
> > My instinct is to create a separate port for the Data package and list
> > it as a dependency for the Executable port. I'd appreciate some
> > guidance.
> > 
> > Thanks.
> Hi Jesse,
> Welcome to the fray, and I'm glad to hear that you're learning how to
> develop FreeBSD ports!
> To answer your question - your port Makefile can download multiple
> distribution files from the upstream download site.  For a couple of
> examples, see these Makefiles:

All good points, and good examples.  However... :)

Well, I do believe that if "the Data package rarely changes", then it
would be unnecessary not only to distribute it each time as a port's
source distfile, but also to include it (unchanged) in different
releases of the *packages* that the port builds.  Thus, IMHO it would
be best to make a separate port for the data file and have the main
program (port) depend on it.  This would make sure that not only people
who build the port "by hand" do not download the data file more often
than necessary, but also the people who use packages do not download
needlessly big packages for each program update with no data change.

Hope that came out clear enough; I know I'm not thinking straight today.



Thanks to everyone who replied. There were some good points made all
around. Let's say that I do decide to go with the idea of making the
Data files a separate port. How do I tell the Ports system not to try to
build the data file and instead just install the files to a location of
my choosing? Usually a project's Makefile decides what gets built and
where items go, but data packages are... dumb, they're just files. My
thought is to create a patch which adds a Makefile to the "work"
directory after the archive is untarred, which would handle the "make"
and "make install" commands.

Would that be an acceptable practise?


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