The ports collection has some serious issues

John Marino at
Thu Dec 15 16:00:47 UTC 2016

On 12/15/2016 09:49, Torsten Zuehlsdorff wrote:
> On 15.12.2016 16:29, John Marino wrote:
>>>>> Although portmaster is not releated to the FreeBSD project and is an
>>>>> outside tool, there aren't any alternatives from the project
>>>>> itself. So
>>>>> use it or die. Not a nice situation.
>>>> People have been trying to get portmaster deprecated and removed from
>>>> the
>>>> handbook but have met with resistance.
>>> Well, yes.  Because it works, has no dependencies, and there is no
>>> equivalent replacement.  Except maybe portupgrade, which has legacy
>>> problems like poor default options.
>> Every single week, somebody falsely accuses the ports tree of being
>> broken but the accuser is the only one with the problem.  What do they
>> all have in common?  They are portmaster users.  I'll iterate, saying
>> "portmaster works" means applying a very generous definition of "works".
> Not really, no. Its not every week and often there is a misuse or
> miss-understanding of portmaster.

It is every week.  Consider the FreeBSD forums as well.
"misuse" and "misunderstanding" failures are attributed to the tool. 
Let's stop making excuses for portmaster.  It is what it is and we've 
had years to evaluate it.

> With an argument like this you can also state there is every week a
> falsely accuse, because of poudriere. This would also be true (and is).

I couldn't state that accurately.  I can't recall any misuse reports 
(and I can't come up with a feasible case in my head right now)

>>>> The recommended replacements are ports-mgmt/synth and
>>>> ports-mgmt/poudriere.
>>>> These build an entire package repository that the pkg tool can use
>>>> but they
>>>> do so in clean chrooted environments, and rebuild everything that's
>>>> required
>>>> to keep a consistent ABI. Synth is more designed for a single live
>>>> system
>>>> like a desktop or a single server, whereas poudriere is what the
>>>> freebsd
>>>> package build clusters use and is more designed for that type of
>>>> usage. Worth
>>>> taking a look.
>>> These are package builders.  Technically preferable, given adequate disk
>>> space and memory, but not equivalent to portmaster.
>> It's like saying git and svn are not equivalent to cvs.
> I have a hard time to see git in this line. Its the way you use it. Yes,
> of course all three are code repositories. But one of them is a
> distributed repository and the other two are not. The differences are huge.
> Of course it also depends on your usage. I personally (means "heavily
> subjective) find git more than annoying. It lacks very important
> features (user management), is hard to use in automatic environments and
> make easy things (rename/delete branches) very hard. Other people really
> like all of this. It depends.
> So maybe the accusers just use the wrong tool?

The point is that you wouldn't start a new project with cvs.  You may or 
may not transfer an existing project from cvs, but you're letting cvs 
die by attribution.

The same should be for portmaster.  Some users will never see the light. 
  Let them suffer by their own hand.  But for Pete's sake, don't 
recommend it to new users.  That's not doing them any kind of service.

Portmaster is not maintained.  Since you put your name on it, you've 
made not a single commit to the repository, much less a new release. 
Yet there are PRs on it.

Please, can we somehow discourage new people from starting on it? 
Anybody with a machine that doesn't have a resources to run poudriere or 
synth should not be building packages on that machine.  Veterans have 
the option to use portmaster in a case like that, but it's not something 
that should be suggested to newbies.  Now the discussion is sidetracked, 
but really nothing has improved since I tried to get a warning added to 
portmaster months ago.


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