Ports -- download change options

Ryan Thompson ryan at sasknow.com
Sat Jun 28 22:15:39 PDT 2003

Bill Campbell wrote to freebsd-questions at freebsd.org:

> When I tried installing cups on FreeBSD 4.8 today, the install balked part
> way through saying that a file couldn't be downloaded, a Samsung file from
> www.linuxprinting.org.  It turns out that that file was just updated today
> so the time and checksum don't match what's in the ports database.
> I manually downloaded the file from ftp.freebsd.org which still had the
> older version, and the build is now going.
> My main question, being a freebsd newbie, is what's the accepted procedure
> for dealing with things like this?

Here's what I'd suggest for ports bugs on ports you don't maintain. This
checklist grew out of years of port use, port maintainership, and
reading the documentation others have written. So, it's my own, and not
my own at all. IMHO, YMMV, IANAL, FWIW, AFAIC, TIOLI. It seems to work,
though. :-)

1. Ensure your ports collection is up to date. The distinfo may already
   be up to date.
2. Let the fetch process fetch the updated version, and ignore the
   checksum with "make NO_CHECKSUM=yes". Beware the risk to integrity
   and security when using this option; verify the contents of the
   distfile yourself if you're paranoid. This will get you up and
3. Check for an recently opened PR for the port you're building, to see
   if a fix might be in progress.
4. Verify that the distfile version you have downloaded is indeed
   updated, builds correctly, and is really the correct version of the
   distfile, and not some transient mishap from the master sites.
   Consider sending an email to ports at FreeBSD.org if you're unsure of
   how to proceed, based on what you've observed. CC the MAINTAINER of
   the port if you do this.
5. Email the MAINTAINER of the port to point out your findings, and
   possibly include a patch. If the maintainer is ports at FreeBSD.org,
   consider assuming maintainership of the port if you are up to the
   task. Otherwise, submit your own PR.
6. Give the maintainer time to update the port. If you don't receive a
   response after a while (at *least* a week, longer in the summer
   months), you might try another polite reminder, wait another week,
   and then submit your own PR, indicating that the maintainer seems to
   be unresponsive.
7. Give the ports committers time to commit the change. Urgent fixes are
   usually committed within a couple of days. Less urgent fixes,
   sometimes longer. If it remains uncommitted for a while, you might
   consider sending a message to ports at FreeBSD.org and request that a
   committer look at your PR.
8. Once committed, give yourself a pat on the back for helping the
   project in one small but important way.

If you end up submitting a PR, sending a patch will drastically improve
the response time of the committers/maintainer. If you're not sure how
to do this, ask ports at FreeBSD.org. Someone will help you with your
particular problem. The general idea is to reduce the load on the

I think the above is a rather methodical approach... you might skip a
step or two, depending on the circumstances. Namely, if you don't have
time/expertise to track down the bug yourself, at least email someone.

Hope this helps,
- Ryan

  Ryan Thompson <ryan at sasknow.com>

  SaskNow Technologies - http://www.sasknow.com
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