Reducing the size of the ports tree (brainstorm v2)

Roger Marquis marquis at
Wed Nov 5 23:16:23 UTC 2014

Mark Felder wrote:

>Here's the lifecycle of a typical pre-pkgng server:
>1) Install FreeBSD
>2) Install your ports/packages
>3) Server is in production
>4) Attempt to update ports/packages
>5) Disaster is now waiting to happen

Perhaps typical for you but everywhere I've worked has had a much easier
time managing FreeBSD ports than debs or rpms (or pkgng ports so far)
thanks mainly to the control they give you over dependencies.  That said,
if you're going to make changes at least have a good business case AND
limit the scope to a major release change (i.e., between 10 and 11, NOT
8.3 and 8.4 much less in the middle of 8.4).

>Every time you need to update you might as well rm -rf /usr/local and
>start over. Some ports even barfed all over the base system, so
>reinstalling wouldn't be a bad idea either.

Hyperbole does not a good business case make though I'm sure the folks in
Redmond and Raleigh are of a different opinion in this case.  I still
wonder though, how many real problems people have with ports vs other OS'
packages and what specific ports have caused those issues.  Of course
I've had a few as well, primarily with autoconf, but in the ~18 years
since 2.0.5 nothing even close to the hassle of this year's make and
pkgng changes.  Partly this is due to a shortage of good FreeBSD devs
able to contribute backwards-compatible components but there's more to it
than that.

Roger Marquis

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