old ports/packages

Vincent Hoffman-Kazlauskas vince at unsane.co.uk
Tue May 31 13:59:31 UTC 2016

On 31/05/2016 14:17, Torsten Zuehlsdorff wrote:
> On 04.05.2016 19:17, Grzegorz Junka wrote:
> Please excuse my late answer. I was right into vacation and need to
> handle some work right afterwards.
>>>> What you cannot do is create old-style packages from a new ports
>>>> tree. This is because the ports infrastructure has been changing
>>>> since pkg_install was deprecated, and pkg_install simply will not
>>>> work with the current ports tree (and, as I understand it, cannot
>>>> practically be modified in order to work with it).
>>> You are mostly correct. It is possible to modify and old ports-tree to
>>> get the new software in. I have at least two customer paying me for
>>> exact this work. But to be fair: it is no fun and harder with every
>>> new release :D
>>> I suppose what some customer need is an LTS version. Missing one is a
>>> show stopper for FreeBSD usage in many firms i talked to. I do not
>>> think this is a good idea from a technical point - but firms are slow
>>> and want stability.
>> LTS of the base system or ports? The base system is already quite well
>> supported long-term.
> This is a very good question, because it is not that clear. But let me
> state right here: No, the base system has not a good long-term support!
> Yes, we have 2 years for the latest release, but 2 years seems to be
> very short for firms. Often they want 5 years.
> And you are forced to update. You can't stay on say 10.1 or 10.2 because
> the support will end 2016. Which is short, because 10.2 was released in
> august 2015. This is only one and a half year.

To be fair the support is last release + 2 years, supporting a minor
version for more than 2 years seems unreasonable, compare to say redhat
a major commercial vendor. They provide up to 10 years sure but for a
major version ie 6 not a minor version ie 6.1. In fact their policy
page(1*) says "Under a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, all
available RHSAs and RHBAs are provided for the current active minor
release until the availability of the next minor release" and that if
you want a minor release supported for longer you pay more and even then
its only approx 2 years, (example 6.7 (released 2015-07-22) ends July
31, 2017)
So far for me updating freebsd minor releases has been much the same
experience as upgrading Centos/RHEL minor releases.



> Also on same points base system and ports are tied together. There were
> already changes in ports-tree which renders him unavailable for a older
> release just a couple of days after the version becomes unsupported.
>> In this particular case it's probably not ports per
>> se but more the package manager? Because ports are not really FreeBSD's,
>> they are separate applications, each one of which is supported as long
>> as its author is willing to do so.
> Yes - but the infrastructure changes. The ports are not really FreeBSD,
> the ports-tree is.
>> Unless you mean the model adopted by some Linux companies, namely taking
>> the ports tree, freezing applications at some specific versions, and
>> only apply security and critical bug fixes to those applications? That
>> would mean creating and maintaining sources for all applications listed
>> in ports, rather than the ports tree itself! And that would be quite a
>> task considering that many applications have multiple configurable
>> compilation options. Not sure if it would be worth the effort if most
>> companies only need a limited set of applications from the whole tree.
>> On the other hand, if that was done then you would be left with no
>> work :)
> Like i said: LTS is not a good idea from a technical point. But a
> missing LTS version is a main problem when trying to convince firms to
> change to FreeBSD.
> Greetings,
> Torsten
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