portmaster, portupgrade, etc

Grzegorz Junka list1 at gjunka.com
Wed Oct 4 20:25:51 UTC 2017

On 04/10/2017 16:16, Michael W. Lucas wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm doing tech edits on the new edition of "Absolute FreeBSD," and
> stumbled into what's apparently a delicate topic.
> Some of my reviewers are happy I included portmaster in the book.
> Some reviewers beg me not to include it.
> Unfortunately, people will be reading af3e and considering it
> definitive for the next several years. So I have to get a feel for
> where things are going. :-/
> I've read a couple threads on portmaster's current problems/growing
> pains and its looming difficulty with forthcoming flavors.
> I've been a happy portmaster user for many years now. All things being
> equal, if its future is still being debated I'm inclined to keep it in
> the book.
> Poudriere really needs its own small book. Yes, you can do simple
> poudriere installs, but once you start covering it properly the docs
> quickly expand. My notes alone are longer than my af3e chapter
> limits. (I'll probably publish "FreeBSD Packaging Misery^WMastery" in
> 2018).
> Truly, I'm not looking to start a flame war here. I only want a bit of
> guidance on The Future...

If describing the basic usage of poudriere takes more than 2-3 pages 
then something is wrong. The handbook has it covered in just a few 

When I moved to FreeBSD I tried for months to use portmaster and 
portupgrade because that was the official way described in the handbook. 
But there were always problems. I was happy when my system was still 
usable after an upgrade, not mentioning the upgraded ports to work as 

I remember often thinking, what kind of system this FeeBSD is if even a 
simple update from sources can screw up so many things! Is anyone really 
using it, or is it some kind of niche OS, the sort of MorphOS or AROS?

I started looking on the internet how others compile it, and I 
discovered that I was doing it all wrong!!! I read that handbook chapter 
and it all made sense. I was trying to compile with the system that was 
being updated at the same time - this can't possibly work (or can it?). 
I spent one afternoon setting up poudriere and I haven't looked back 
since then.

If you wish please mention portmaster and/or portupgrade, but IN 
ADDITION to poudriere. I can't imagine a serious book on FreeBSD not 
giving at least as much space to poudriere as to the other tools.

It's great that Absolute FreeBSD is getting an update. That was an 
indispensable source of information when I was learning the FreeBSD way. 
But it became outdated quite quickly. Please make an effort to discuss 
things that are not getting outdated as quickly this time.


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