[RFC] Why FreeBSD ports should have branches by OS version

Matt Smith matt.xtaz at gmail.com
Fri Jun 23 12:54:30 UTC 2017

On Jun 23 08:02, scratch65535 at att.net wrote:
>On Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:36:19 +0200, Miroslav Lachman
><000.fbsd at quip.cz> wrote:
>>scratch65535 at att.net wrote on 2017/06/23 00:15:
>>> [Default] On Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:11:26 -0500, Mark Linimon
>>> <linimon at lonesome.com> wrote:
>>>> On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:32:45PM -0400, scratch65535 at att.net wrote:
>>>>> My problem is that my industry experience tells me that reducing
>>>>> the frequency of port releases is practically *guaranteed* to be
>>>>> a Really Good Thing for everyone.
>>>> I remember before we had the quarterly releases, and people on the
>>>> mailing lists complained constantly about the ports bits only being
>>>> available once per release, or rolling with -head.
>>> Mark, I can only suppose that those complainers are dilettantes
>>> of some sort who believe that having The Latest-And-Greatest Bits
>>> is a social-status enhancer.  **Nobody** with real work to do
>>> ever willingly fools away time "fixing" what isn't broken.
>>And this is where you are so wrong. Ports tree is never in the state
>>where everything works and has no bugs. (and cannot be, because
>>upstreams have bugs) Even if it compiles and installs it does not mean
>>that it is not broken and nobody needs newer version.
>>Just because your needs are different than others doesn't mean others
>>are dilettantes.
>How often have you bought all new versions of the software you
>use, Miroslav, even though the versions you replaced still worked
>fine?  I'd bet that you've never done that, and never will:
>you're an adult, and have more important uses for your time and
>How often do you look around your flat or house for something to
>"fix" even though everthing works well enough?  I'd bet not
>often, if ever -- you probably always have so much real work to
>do that you worry you'll never get it all done if you live to be
>There are individuals who claim to "need" the latest Mercedes or
>Ferrari, or a bigger yacht, or a chalet in Switzerland.  But that
>kind of "need" isn't on the same level as someone's need for a
>place to live, or a way to get to work, or medical care for their
>Similarly, few people constantly "need" the latest software. Even
>if the new release has a feature that will make their work
>easier, the release after that one is not likely to have
>*another* such feature.   Nearly all adults can do their
>computer-based work just fine without ever having the
>Latest-And-Greatest hardware and software.  Those who claim they
>simply *must* always have bleeding-edge kit are kidding someone.
>Or delusional.

Can we stop suggesting that everybody in the world wants a stable 
release that doesn't frequently change, or that people who want to use 
the latest versions of software are delusional please?

I use FreeBSD *precisely* because it mostly keeps up with the latest 
stable versions of things. I have postfix 3.2, pgsql 9.6, nginx 1.13, 
libressl 2.5 etc. It's usually impossible to do this with linux unless 
you install things directly from source.

I upgrade my ports/packages via poudriere every single day which mostly 
just takes 2 minutes of my time as usually that results in maybe one or 
two packages being updated at a time. I see this as a positive thing 
rather than doing one massive huge upgrade every 3 months.

If I see that a package is going to have a major version upgrade then I 
say no and cancel the update until I have a spare half hour or so later 
in the day. Then I will spend the time seeing what the differences are 
and changing my config etc as appropriate.

I actually like this way of working and it suits me fine. I enjoy 
learning the ins and outs of new software. If everybody had the attitude 
of never spending time doing major version updates then we would all be 
in the python3 verses python 2 situation where virtually nobody is 
writing python3 code.

I'm not going to argue against what you guys are asking for, each to 
their own, you have your own requirements and that's fair enough. But I 
just wanted to make a point that the way that FreeBSD currently does it 
is not "nobody wants it done this way". At least one person does thanks.


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