[RFC/P] Port System Re-Engineering (Repost from -ports@)

Andrew Reilly andrew-freebsd at areilly.bpc-users.org
Mon Dec 3 14:56:40 PST 2007

On Mon, Dec 03, 2007 at 09:19:15AM -0500, Aryeh M. Friedman wrote:
> 1. What is more important to your personal use of FreeBSD (the ports
> system, the underlaying OS, some other aspect)?

Yes.  (i.e., mu)

> 2. How frequently do you interact with the ports systems and what is
> the most common interaction you have with it?

Slightly more than weekly.  Updating.

> 3. What is the single best aspect of the current system?

Most of what I want to use is in there, and builds and installs without
fault or clashes.

> 4. What is the single worst aspect of the current system?

A toss-up between
- inability to cross-build (not entirely fixable by ports, I
  know, but I'm sure that *some* ports would be buildable with
  appropriate cross-tools, and there's some chance that that set
  would include the pieces I'm interested in...) and
- library dependencies don't extend to the base system.  I've just spent a
  week un-breaking my GNOME environment after upgrading to 7-STABLE from
  6-STABLE (which worked, as did all my existing ports) and then
  portupgrading (which broke nearly everything, because of the upgraded
  system libc.so, libz.so and libpthread.so->libthr.so, resulting in
  applications that depended on both old and new base libraries).  A
  corollary of this is that portupgrade -af is not restartable if
  something breaks or requires manual intervention, which results in
  quadratic rebuild time, unless the whole process is managed manually.

> 5. If you where a new FreeBSD user how would your answers above
> change?   If you where brand new to UNIX how whould they change?

No idea.  I haven't been a new FreeBSD user for a long time.  If I were a
new UNIX user, I might hope that things would work as they do in MacOS-X,
and probably would prefer to use a GUI interface to pre-built packages,
rather than the ports system at all.  [That being the case, it's *most*
important that the ports system be useful for the package-building farm.]

> 6. Assuming that there was no additional work on your behalf would you
> use a new system if it corrected your answer to number 4?

Probably, but there are other aspects of ports that I like.  I *like* that
it's made out of make, and can be coerced into doing things *my* way, with
little effort.  At least I have the fall-back of using the NetBSD pkgsrc
system.  It is mostly Ports with some additional sophistication for

> 7. Same as question 6 but for your answer on question 3?

No.  If you break 3, you lose me to pkgsrc.

> 8. How long have you used FreeBSD and/or UNIX in general?

FreeBSD since '94, BSD since '85 or '86.

> 9.  That is your primary use(s) for your FreeBSD machine(s) (name upto 3)?

Workstation (software dev.), production CVS/Perforce/Web server,
experimental audio server.

> 10. Assuming there is no functional difference what is your preferred
> installation method for 3rd party software?


> 11. On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) please rate the
> importance of the following aspects of the ports system?
>        a. User Interface

1 (it has a user interface?)

>        b. Consistency of behaviors and interactions

>        c. Accuracy in dependant port installations


>        d. Internal record keeping

4 (this is only a performance issue)

>        e. Granularity's of the port management system

mu (without having seen the discussion, I don't understand the question.)

> 12. Please rate your personal technical skill level?




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