Advice about /usr/ports/math/gmp

Matthew Rezny mrezny at
Tue Jan 7 03:25:35 UTC 2014

On Tue, 07 Jan 2014 03:11:28 +0100
John Marino < at> wrote:

> On 1/7/2014 01:02, Matthew Rezny wrote:
> >> We are about to release GMP 5.2.
> >>
> >> We have been forced to add three FreeBSD-related items to the
> >> releases notes:
> >>
> >>   * This release will not work on FreeBSD/amd64 7.x, 8.x or 9
> >> series before 9.3 with a Haswell CPU or any other CPU which
> >> supports the BMI2 instructions.  The reason is that the FreeBSD m4
> >> command is not correctly implemented.  (Workaround: Use an older
> >> GMP release, or install GNU m4 from /usr/ports and tell GMP to use
> >> it.)
> >>
> >>   * This release will not work on FreeBSD/amd64 before version 10
> >> using the 32-bit ABI.  The reason is broken limits.h and broken
> >> dynamic linking.  (Workaround: Use an older GMP release if using
> >> the 32-bit ABI on these FreeBSD releases is important.)
> >>
> >>   * This release will not work on FreeBSD/amd64 10.0 using the
> >> 32-bit ABI.  The reason is bugs in the compiler 'clang'.
> >> (Workaround: Compiling gcc from /usr/ports might work, except that
> >> gcc depends on GMP; we have not been able to test that workaround
> >> since FreeBSD/i386 10.0 does not work for us under KVM or Xen.)
> >>
> >> The first item is a show-stopper.  It would be possible to
> >> implement a workaround in GMP.  We choose not to do that since (1)
> >> we adviced the FreeBSD project two years ago the m4 bug, and
> >> FreeBSD chose to make 4 releases without fixing m4, and (2) the
> >> fix is ugly, and (3) our use of m4 which triggers the bug is
> >> actually part of a workaround for a broken assembler (to much
> >> complexity to maintain workarounds for workarounds).
> >>
> >> The second item should not affect /usr/ports builds since they
> >> would use the default 64-bit ABI on amd64 machines.
> >>
> >> The third item is a show-stopper until clang is fixed.  We have not
> >> been able to isolate this problem due to lack of time and due to a
> >> deeply malfunctioning filesystem of FreeBSD/i386 under KVM and
> >> Xen+NetBSD.  We don't have any more information about these bugs.
> >>
> >>
> >> We do not plan to implement workarounds for the above bugs for GMP
> >> 5.2.x for any x.  I would advice that you stick with GMP 5.1.3.
> >>
> >>
> >> Torbjörn
> >> Please encrypt, key id 0xC8601622
> > 
> > So, being that you have provided essentially zero information on the
> > alleged bugs, what is the advice you are purporting to provide? The
> > subject is "advice about gmp" but the only thing I see that would
> > qualify as advice is "don't upgrade".
> > 
> > I do have a bit of advice for you: learn the difference between the
> > words advise (verb) and advice (noun). Twice in the body you use
> > advice where only advise makes sense. Advice is what you give,
> > advise is the process of giving it. Being that advice is a noun,
> > adviced isn't even a valid word. Yet another related word is
> > advisory, which means to provide notification but not necessary
> > advice. The subject line would be congruent with the content if it
> > were "advisory about gmp".
> > 
> > Yes this reply is a total waste of time as was the original.
> > Just replying in kind dear troll.
> whoa - this is pretty harsh if you assume Torbjorn was sincere to
> begin with, and I haven't seen anything that indicates he wasn't.
> It's pretty much the definition of "no good deed goes unpunished".
> Yes, the criticism of "well, what exactly is wrong?" is valid, but the
> guy did write a couple of PRs, so calling him a troll is way out of
> line.  If it was planning on providing more information, I don't
> expect he will now.
> John

I'm aware of the applicable PR only because Tijl mentioned it later in
the thread. It is actually the PR that earned Torbjörn the troll label
in my mind. Specifically this:
"I was about to fix it, but found that the license of the code in
question was unacceptable to me. I only contribute to Free Software,
not to Open Source code bearing a license analogous to a law system
that permits people to sell themselves as slaves."

From his email, he is simply unhelpful. Essentially just "you're
different from GNU/Linux so you're broken but I won't bother to say
how". Great, so helpful. It's when I get to the PR and see the bit of
"I could fix it but I won't because you use the wrong license" that my
troll alarm goes off. I could go on about how hypocritical it is to
claim our m4 isn't Free Software when his project uses a far more
onerous and vastly less-free license, but I'd just be preaching to the
choir. Rather than call him out on the license crap, I opted to take a
shortcut and simply troll him back with a bit of the ol' Learn2English.

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