Ports system trolling

Michal Varga varga.michal at gmail.com
Mon Aug 29 02:19:49 UTC 2011

On Sun, 2011-08-28 at 14:43 -0700, Doug Barton wrote:
> On 8/28/2011 1:54 PM, Michal Varga wrote:
> > On Sun, 2011-08-28 at 15:30 -0400, Sahil Tandon wrote:
> > 
> > [...]
> >> Criminal?  Indifference?  This sort of troll-ish hyperbole is decidedly
> >> unhelpful. 
> FWIW, I agree with Sahil that this post of Jerry's was over the top, as
> several of his have been of late. To use the word "criminal" in this
> context is sufficient all on its own. To accuse people who spend an
> enormous amount of their own free time trying to make this thing work of
> being indifferent is just plain rude.

While I'm the last one to be trying to belittle the effort put by some
people into ports (or FreeBSD in general), lately, this particular
mantra is starting to get a little overused. I know that it almost
borders with criminal (I see what I did there) even trying to suggest
that, but seriously - just because someone "did a lot" this or other day
(week, month, or year) for FreeBSD, doesn't make them *untouchable* to
critique for the rest of their lives. This is very wrong approach and
such way of thinking only leads to a pretty rotten (and pretty elitist)
community. Note that I mean it generally, without pointing to any
current case at all. It's just... Recently it's being invoked so much
that it's on the verge of losing any meaning.

Jerry (ok, I'm probably starting to sound like his mother, writing third
email about him and all that, but it'd be hard to get to some point
without pointing to him directly) clearly stated what was his concern -
that there should have been a note put in UPDATING the moment the issue
was discovered (I would personally mention *testing* somewhere in there,
but that's me), and that the chosen approach - "waiting for a maintainer
approval to give his permission for a fix" when you already have there a
situation with mailing list filling up with more and more reports about
breaks (meaning, people out there actually get bitten by it right at
this very moment, losing them time, losing them money, losing them hair,
choose what applies) - is pathetic.

Now. Would I personally chose the same words? Definitely not, it's far
from being polite and I could easily imagine the shitstorm following it
(now just see the shitstorm following me using the word shitstorm). But
it's not about the one single word from the whole thread, we are not
elementary school children. It's about the situation behind it, and
that's the one that really needs addressing, not a bunch of heated
words. In such situation, I (personally, again) wouldn't consider this
even warranting a quiet off-list warning, it's not like this guy is
cross spamming threads and randomly attacking people out there just for

Late edit:
I was only speaking about the situation happening up until starting this
particular reply, now I see things got a little bit more heated in
meantime (most of which I didn't read, yet), but that's already out of
scope of this. Just to make things clear.

> > On some of my desktop setups, I keep about 900-1000 installed ports (and
> > there are some ~200-300 for servers in general). There already seems not
> > to be a single week, even once, without some MAJOR breakage that always
> > takes hours (sometimes days) to track down and fix by my own ...
> FWIW, my experience has not been even close to yours, although I do find
> broken things occasionally.

Well, as far as I remember, you weren't using FreeBSD as a desktop OS
(or at least weren't much), so this probably contributes to your
(better) experience with recent ports. Of course it's just something out
of the back of my head, I may be mistaken, but I think I remember you
stating it some time, someplace.

Anyway - with some 1000 ports on a full feature desktop system (that's
like 1/20th of all we have in total, right), be it Gnome or KDE (god
help with both), the breakages are massive, and almost constant.

On the other hand, this practically doesn't happen on any major Linux
distribution (and no, I'm not that guy arguing we should move ports to
debian binary packages, there's no need to worry); this wasn't happening
in 4.x days too, this wasn't happening in 5.x days and everyone knows
what a.... loving miracle.... FreeBSD 5 was, this wasn't happening in
(early) 6.x days (much), but especially from 7 onwards, and the last
year, having a 1000-ports desktop system is just a plain nightmare.
There is constantly *something* broken. And not like it's just one thing
at a time.

Do I have stats for it? No, obviously. If I was making paper notes of
that, I'd have eradicated few rainforests by now (errr, so no, I don't
have stats for it, but I have my daily experiences maintaining both
server and desktop BSDs without a break since 2000, so that leaves some
memory here and there).

[Rest moved to a standalone email, as it's somewhat long and stuff.]


Michal Varga,
Stonehenge (Gmail account)

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