Superfluous dependencies

Michel Talon talon at
Sat Mar 12 23:18:25 UTC 2011

Mark Linimon said:

> On Sat, Mar 12, 2011 at 02:12:34PM -0800, Charlie Kester wrote:
> > I'm not aware of any tool that will display a similar dependency tree
> > for a port *before* it is installed.
> Note: it's running a live set of queries on the tree, so it's slow.

Wonderful tool! Using it i have found a nice illustration of the
title of the thread by looking at the dependencies generated by the
ports math/maxima.

If you run it you will find *tons* of dependecies. However, being a
regular user of maxima, that i compile myself on my machine using cmucl
i know that maxima has exactly *one* dependency, a lisp system.
Taking the example of cmucl one needs only a previous binary version of
cmucl, because it is written in lisp, and the base C compiler to produce 
the executable "lisp". It should not be much different with sbcl, except
if one foolishly adjoins unnecessary optional software. When having
a lisp, one can in fact compile maxima  without even using make, but
make simplifies the job. It is not *necessary* to have optional
gnuplot (which one may or may not desire), and even less to have (*)
graphical front ends like xmaxima or  wxmaxima. The teTeX dependency is
completely superfluous. 

I mention this example because it is characteristic of a tendency of
many FreeBSD ports to add a kitchen sink of superfluous dependencies
which render upgrades and so on complicated.

(*) most serious users of CAS software i know (maple, etc.) always 
type their code in a window using a standard editor, and copy-paste it
in another window running maple, maxima, etc. Using the GUI toolkits
is almost always a considerable loss of time.


Michel TALON

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