pkg and packages

scratch65535 at scratch65535 at
Thu May 4 12:12:02 UTC 2017

On Wed, 3 May 2017 16:53:41 +0100, Matthew Seaman
<m.seaman at> wrote:

>>> Trying to install the desktop package, I discovered that it's
>>> bundled with at least 2 unrelated pieces of software:  Thunar,
>>> and samba44.  That bothered me, but I needed the desktop.
>'Bundling' isn't the right term -- Thunar and samba44 are /dependencies/
>of the xfce4-desktop.  That is: other packages that need to be installed
>before the package in question will work.  Sorting out dependency trees
>like this is much of what pkg(8) exists for.

I can't imagine what code could possibly be in thunar and samba
that the xfce desktop would need, particularly since the desktop
is very simple, and also because I've never got samba
functionality for free after installing xfce which if you're
right I should have done.  But I'll check on that, and report

That kind of tight coupling at the macro level *is* a very
serious problem for the ports system, though.  It's strangling

How many ports just build, first go?  Are there *any*?  I suspect
not.  And yet the maintainers presumably thought they would.

I stopped trying to build ports because I could never get a make
to run to completion.  There was always at least one dependency
that (a) couldn't be found at all, (b) was the wrong version, or
(c) failed compilation.  That didn't happen when I was writing
stuff under sco or sys v.

It shouldn't happen with our ports system, either, because it
completely prevents code freeze and stability, a basic
requirement for high-quality software.   The stuff being fetched
from Timbuktu or somebody's cat's litter box should be cleaned
up, built into a library, and be fetched from there subsequently.
There should never be a dependency on code that the ports project
doesn't control.  

>The thing that seems to trip most people up is thinking they can
>substitute some other package instead of the exact dependency listed in
>the package metadata.  This is not an unreasonable request, especially
>when you know your alternate package does exactly the same thing as the
>one you want to replace.  Unfortunately it just doesn't work right now,
>and it would take quite a lot of disruptive change in the ports tree and
>to pkg(8) itself to make that happen.

You call it "disruptive" change, but from  here it looks exactly
like *healthy*, *professional* change.  Really.

Slàinte mhath!

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