The future of portmaster [and of ports-mgmt/synth]

Gerard Seibert carmel_ny at
Wed May 31 16:43:25 UTC 2017

On Wed, 31 May 2017 09:11:23 -0700, Roger Marquis stated:

>Mark Linimon wrote:
>> * some extensive changes to the ports framework are coming;  
>Is there a URL (other than svnweb) where we can see a project plan for
>these changes?  As in the recent past (i.e., since 8-REL) the FreeBSD
>end-user community has reason to be worried that:
>  * popular tools that were broken in the last major ports update (to
>  pkgng) will again not be considered part of the update,
>  * developers and users of those tools will suffer the pain of
>  significant refactoring (again) and their Linux-advocating
> co-engineers will be even more effective in reducing or eliminating
> FreeBSD in their environments,
>  * little discussion and few details will (again) be available before
>  the transition, and
>  * it will (again) not occur exclusively on a major revision boundary.
>  ** These concerns are not so much workload-related as much as they
> are planning-related.
>The lack of planning in previous ports/pkg updates was destructive and
>unnecessary.  Has anything changed?
>Considering the delays in implementing base packages, pkg_audit that
>ignores base or recently deprecated ports and yet another major upgrade
>to the ports framework it should not need to be pointed out that our
>favorite OS has become far more difficult to update and maintain than
>any version of Linux.
>> * these will require large changes to all the port upgrade tools;
>> * no one has stepped forwards to offer to do the work for anything
>>   other than poudriere AFAIK.  
>Perhaps this is because many of us have not heard of the extensive
>changes coming to the ports framework until now much less had the
>opportunity to contribute to discussion much less policies that should
>guide it.
>> If no one does the work, at the time the large changes come, the
>> other tools will break.  
>Bottom line, these are not just tools breaking, this is FreeBSD

I would like to add that I agree with Roger, especially the “major
revision boundary” statement. Many times in the past, I have done fresh
installs of new versions of FreeBSD only to have a significant change
in that version made, forcing me to recompile ports, etcetera. I now
see that “synth” is broken on FreeBSD-12. If history repeats itself, 12
will be released, then a significant change to the ports system
initiated forcing a recompilation of the ports, etcetera to get “synth”
working again. I am sure that there are lots of other programs in the
same predicament. This is just not acceptable. Before the next release
of FreeBSD, all the base programs should be updated to their newest
versions, the “default” versions of “perl,” “python,” etcetera should
be updated as required.


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