Roger Marquis marquis at
Mon Jan 12 06:22:38 UTC 2015

Mark Linimon wrote:
> It was believed to be a bad design pattern to let ports modify anything
> in base.

Believed by who?  Surely not those of us advocating FreeBSD in mixed
environments where the Linux and Windows admins are pushing for something
closer to a monoculture.

> Apparently 10.0 seemed like the appropriate time to get rid of the
> bad pattern.

"seemed like the appropriate time" isn't a business case and "bad
pattern" it likely wasn't considering A) someone requested it, B) someone
spent money and/or time writing it and C) many people were using it.

> We've been essentially rewriting the entire ports infrastructure in-place
> for the past 6 or 7 years.  IMVHO this was entirely necessary: the old
> pkg_* tools were buggy, underdocumented, and no longer suited to the task

Not sure what this has to do with a small number of mission-critical
ports that need to write to base to accommodate large, cross-platform,
installed bases.  Could you elaborate?

> They are mostly due to the idea of not shipping things that do not work
> consistently, and in the way one "might expect".  On rare occasion, yes,
> that will mean breaking POLA.

Are you saying, then, that bind, postfix and other ports that have
overwritten base for years "do not work consistently"?  That hasn't been
my experience nor that of those who I work with.

> AFAIK the companies that embed FreeBSD into their products are primarily
> interested in the kernel, the networking stack, the file systems, and so
> on. I do not know of any such company that even _uses_ FreeBSD ports.

I see your point but it indicates your experience is missing a large
portion of FreeBSD users.  The financial institution where I work for
example, runs hundreds of FreeBSD boxes and uses ports and port options
on all of them.

> Thus, they could have no influence on the outcome.

If large numbers of BSD servers and engineers with decades of BSD
advocacy really have no influence, and it appears we don't, at least
the reason for our favorite OS' shrinking user-base is clear.

Statements like "buggy, underdocumented, and no longer suited to the
task" and "could have no influence on the outcome" are perhaps a downside
of exclusively developer-driven ecosystems.  Redhat's understands this,
which is why they involve sales, sysadmins and management in similar
decisions, not just devs who are looking to spend less time maintaining
"old" code.  (They're also paying people to maintain code, something I
wish we could find a way to do.)

> tl;dr: the FreeBSD ports community is pretty well self-contained.

Do you mean in contrast with, for example, the Debian community?


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