Reducing the size of the ports tree (brainstorm v2)

Bartek Rutkowski robak at
Fri Nov 7 18:32:26 UTC 2014

On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 6:47 PM, Chris H <bsd-lists at> wrote:
> On Fri, 7 Nov 2014 09:08:28 +0000 Bartek Rutkowski <robak at> wrote
>> 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
>> > EOD
>> >
>> > 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,
> Aak! Seriously?! Eliminate ports? I _sincerely_ hope that isn't the
> intended result of the introduction of pkg(8). That would be a
> _horrible_ decision. For more reasons than I can list in a mailing
> list reply. Honestly. If this is true, has any real thought gone into
> the potential consequences resulting from this? We're not just talking
> about the affects on "geeks", and "hobbyists" here. We're talking about
> Shops, and Businesses that create specific products, for specific needs,
> and chose *BSD for what at least _was_ the freedom, and amount of
> _choices_ it offered. Making it, by comparison, more _flexible_ than
> it's alternatives. You'll effectively eliminate that market, traveling
> in the direction you appear to be going.
> If what I understand you to be saying is true. It appears FreeBSD is
> simply looking to parrot Linux, and relinquish "The power to serve".
> In exchange for competing for a strictly Desktop market. If true.
> This will mark a very dark year in history, for FreeBSD.
> Sincerely,
>  Disappointed.

I think we've a little  misunderstanding here. At no point I've said
nor heard that ports are about to be eliminated. I did hovewer heard
that the goal is to deprecate them, as in, encourage users to move to
pkg entirely, once pkg is a viable ports replacement, and to make that
a default way to install/maintain software on FreeBSD. At the end, it
would be very hard to 'eliminate' ports, since we still have to
generate the packages with something, dont we? ;) Even said that, I
could be completely wrong here, misunderstood someone else and so on,
and by no means this discussion is a statement of what is going on to
happen with ports/pkg oficially, so, to quote D. Adams: DON'T PANIC.

Kind regards,
Bartek Rutkowski

>> 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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