What is the problem with ports PR reaction delays?

Montgomery-Smith, Stephen stephen at missouri.edu
Sat Jan 25 20:14:49 UTC 2014

On 01/24/2014 05:30 PM, Big Lebowski wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I wanted to ask about the growing time of reaction to ports PR's - what is
> the problem? It seems to me, as a ports contributor, that this time is only
> growing, not shrinking, and there's no formal/automated procedures that
> would help in managing the issue.
> Today I found myself fighting with ezjail only to discover it has issues
> working on FreeBSD 10.0-R. Great, I thought, there must be something else,
> so I went to make the research. It appears there isnt much more, and the
> alternatives are qjail that seems to be quite dated and zjails, that's not
> in ports. Not long after looking into zjails, what seems to be a great
> tool, I found its port submission sits there since... September 2013. Now,
> given the fact the Docker is on mouth of everyone, and containers are
> getting a lot of attention, FreeBSD looks really bad with no tools to
> manage such great technology like Jails, especially when ezjail, unofficial
> industry standard to manage jails, is now broken and zjails waits to be
> accepted (or even rejected) for so much time.
> What is the problem? Isnt there enought commiters? Isnt there a automated
> PR handling procedure reminding commiters with relevant access about such
> submissions? Can we help? I hope to spark some discussion.
> Kind regards,
> B.

When I became a committer (about 2.5 years ago), I spent my first summer
going through PRs and committing them.  Prior to that I had submitted
many ports, and I had felt the same frustration as you.  And when I saw
that some PRs were rather old, I could feel their frustration.

However, since that summer of activity on my part, my work
responsibilities overtook me, and I simply didn't have the time to keep
committing other people's PRs.  I think I have done a pretty good job at
maintaining my ports, but I have been terrible at committing other
people's PRs.

So I have seen it from both sides, and I think both sides have an equal
right to feel frustrated.

I had noticed quite an influx of new committers at some point, and that
seemed like a great solution to me.  But each new committer also
requires mentoring for a while, and that is also an effort for someone.

I really don't know what to say.  Next summer, if I have time, I'll try
to get into doing another group of PRs.  When I did do PRs, I did try to
concentrate on the older ones, rather than picking up the newer ones.

The older ones probably require more effort.  Sometimes the PR has a
mistake in it, and that is why it was left alone.  Other times, it
requires a level of expertize that many committers simply don't have.
(For example, in my case, I have zero experience with jails, and it
would be a huge learning curve on my part to learn enough to responsibly
commit your port.)  Sometimes the port no longer works because of
changes to the system (e.g. staging or changes to the base system).

Anyway, I feel your pain, and I wish I had good answers.


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