Removing Cruft from the ports tree

Charlie Kester corky1951 at
Fri Apr 1 20:26:23 UTC 2011

On Thu 31 Mar 2011 at 22:57:44 PDT Matthew D. Fuller wrote:
>So, while removing OPTIONS alone may be good, we really need to
>dismantle the system that caused the need for them in the first place
>to avoid creating a greater mess.  I think it coud be useful to turn
>to Wikipedia for an example (and indeed, not just an example, but a
>pre-built distribution system!).  By simply eliminating any sort of
>officially "blessed" ports tree (with all the complications and
>liabilities that entails), encouraging users to set up Wikipedia pages
>with recipes for building packages, and building a little
>infrastructure (using sufficient tools already existing in the base
>system; we can easily backport to 6.x and beyond) for fetching them
>down and building on request, we can free up an enormous amount of
>machine- and man-power, while making the result far more democratic.
>Really, the only significant challenge is rogue vandalism, but again,
>Wikipedia itself has already developed systems for handling that.  It
>may take a little effort on our part to keep that up for our
>particular needs, but surely far less than is currently required.  And
>as an additional bonus, by having it available on an easily-editable
>wiki, we can save all the trouble of submitting and load of dealing
>with PR's, and reduce our dependance on gnats too.  It's pretty much
>all upside, when you think about it.

Or we could simply stop fighting the common misconception that there's
such a thing as a BSD distro.  Instead, we should embrace the concept
and encourage people to combine the kernel and userland with their own
preferred set of packages, built with their preferred set of options and
configurations, and to make the result available somewhere for download
-- preferably on a site they host themselves.

PC-BSD has already made the first steps in this direction.

No one understands the distinction we're making between OS'es and
distros anyway.  The prevailing opinion seems to be that the quality of
an OS can be gauged, for example, by whether or not it has a graphical
installer, whether it uses KDE or Gnome, and whether or not it can run


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