If ports@ list continues to be used as substitute for GNATS, I'm unsubscribing

Marcus von Appen mva at freebsd.org
Wed Dec 18 12:25:24 UTC 2013

John Marino <freebsd.contact at marino.st>:

> Over the months I've seen several ports users copy a failure log and
> mail it to ports@, usually without even saying "hello".  I've tried to

Do the QAT reports bug you on this list? If they do not, why is that so?
I did not see you complain about those.

> discourage that behavior but other members of this mail list encourage
> this method of bypassing writing PRs.  One user even proudly boasted

In my opinion, writing a PR with all the required information (using send-pr
or the web front-end) is still quite a hard task for many people, especially
those coming freshly from another system. The front-end of GNATS and format
of send-pr does not make that job easier or fun at all.
Also, the PR will usually idle around for a couple of days and as a user you
do not get instant feedback about your PR being actually received by the
system (instead it takes a couple of hours).

Work on a better reporting system is still ongoing, so let's see, how we
could make life easier for users instead of babbling about leaving the list:

- The ports tree *knows* in most cases that something went wrong. It reports
this on the command line and leaves everything else up to the user.

Instead of leaving it up to the user, who might be completely lost, further
instructions and maybe automated hooks (send-pr'ish) can ease his daily life:

- a port build fails at a stage that the Mk infrastructure can deal with:

   1) Tell the user to reset certain environmental flags and where those might
      be found:

      "Port cat/portname failed to build or install. Please make sure that your
       build environment did not have an impact on this by checking

       - that your ports tree is up to date (ports from <DATE>, today: <DATE>)
       - /etc/make.conf
       - make -V<STAGE_ENV>
       - the output of `env` and checking relevant flags"

   2) let the user create a report with just a simple key press afterwards:

      "If you verified that your environment is in a sane state, you might
       want to tell the maintainer (<maintainermail>) about it.

       Do not forget to copy the failure output from above!

       Do you want to create a report now? [y/N]"

   3) pressing 'y' above will create a PR with all relevant information, fire
      up an editor for the output to be pasted, hiding the most other, possibly
      confusing stuff.

   4) Once the user pasted the content, saved and closed, the system will try
      to send the PR:

      "The report has been created. Do you want to send it now? [Y/n/r]".

      where 'r' will allow the user to revise the whole send-pr content.

Two key strokes, one copy operation and less confusing stuff to be set
in the PR.

> One user even proudly boasted that sending email to ports@ is faster than
> writing a PR so of course he was going to do that instead.

Which sums up to: the workflow for crating/handling PRs is not good enough,
maintainers do not react fast enough on PRs, etc.

> If this kind of post is acceptable to the rest of the people here, and
> I'm alone in not only finding it very rude, but also making the volume
> of ports@ too high, then please tell me that the problem is with me.
> If nothing is going to change, I am going to unsubscribe from ports@
> list.  The gcc developers on gcc at gcc.gnu.org always tell a poster when a
> post in appropriate for that list and as a result and as a result the

I think, we forgot about ports-bugs@ to be the appropriate place and see it
only as a list for GNATS reports. I agree with you insofar as that people
should send specific things to the designated list.


More information about the freebsd-ports mailing list