Reducing the size of the ports tree (brainstorm v2)

Bartek Rutkowski robak at
Fri Nov 7 09:08:29 UTC 2014

On Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 6:56 PM, Baptiste Daroussin <bapt at> wrote:
> Hi all,
> tijl@ spotted an interesting point, distinfo and pkg-descr files files
> convenient are taking a lot of space for "free", we can reduce the size of the
> while ports tree by a factor 2 by simply merging them into one of the other
> files (Makefile and/or pkg-plist) from my testing it really devides
> significantly the size of the tree.
> Problem is how to merge them if we want to.
> What we do not want to loose:
> - Easyness of parsing distinfo
> - Easyness to get informations about the description
> so far I have not been able to figure out a user friendly way
> Ideas I got so far only concerns pkg-descr:
> Adding an entry in the Makefile for the WWW:
> WWW= bla
> or an entry in the plist: @www http...
> for the description the Makefile is not suitable as multi line entry in
> Makefiles are painful
> Maybe a new keyword:
> @descr <<EOD
> mydesc
> in
> multiline
> which could easily be added to the plist parser in pkg. But I'm do not find that
> very friendly in particular for make(1) to extract the data.
> Concerning the distinfo I have no idea.
> so this mail is a call of ideas :), if nothing nice ideas is found we will just
> do nothing here :)
> regards,
> Bapt

At first I liked the idea, since I was wondering on my own if
pkg-descr and distinfo couldnt be simply part of the Makefile. In vast
majority of cases that would look good and wouldnt introduce too much
content into existing Makefiles. There are ports like www/nginx or
www/tengine that have enourmous distinfo files with number of entries
that would ruin readability of their Makefiles, but so far I havent
seen too many of these so I suppose they'd be the liveable drawbacks
of new approach.

However, after reading this discussion and some more tinkering about
the idea I changed my mind - if the goal of current pkg&ports
activities is to make the pkg the default way of installing packages
and 'deprecate' ports when that happens, then the amount of work and
the risk of breaking things by doing this ports improvement outweights
its benefits. At this point I'd much rather like us to concentrate on
making pkg a perfect replacement (I am mostly thinking about being
able to package base for stripped down FreeBSD builds and pkg
'flavours' that would allow me install packages with custom options,
like ports) and hold off making any changes to ports until we can
safely state that 'pkg is the way to go for 99% of FreeBSD users and
ports are for that 1% of package builders, nerds, tinkerers' etc.,
unless we simply cant move forward without some change. And just to be
sure, I am not against improving ports, but rather about making better
choice of where to put our limited resources - I am supper happy to
get back to this discussion once we can replace ports with pkg :)

Kind regards,
Bartek Rutkowski

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