results of ports re-engineering survey

Aryeh M. Friedman aryeh.friedman at
Tue Dec 11 21:37:23 PST 2007

Hash: SHA1


A few disclaimers:

    Neither I or anyone else is asking for FreeBSD to incorparate any
modifications to the current base system and/or ports collection.   If
and when any code is developed from this process it will be committed
using normal commit and review processes.

    The following summary of results is based on my eyeballing of
answers and should not be interpreted as being any sort of
mathematically and/or scientifically valid in any manner.

Number of responses: roughly 30

Summary of results:

1. Most respondents stated that both the underlaying OS and the ports
collection are equally important.   When a preference was shown it was
for the underlaying OS in most cases.

2. On average people tend to interact with the port system once or
twice a week

3. The single best aspect of the ports system according to respondents
is dependency tracking when installing new ports

4. The single worst aspect of the ports system according to
respondents is dependency tracking when updating or deleting existing

5. Most respondents would not change there answers tothe survey if
they where new to FreeBSD

6. Almost all respondents would use a new system if it fixed their
personal worst aspect of the current system

7. About 50% of respondents would use a new system if it broke the
best aspect of the ports system but fixed the worst aspect

8. Length of FreeBSD usage: rough avr. of 8 years with roughly 3 year
std. dev.

9. Prefered install method: ports

10. Usage roughly evenly spread among desktop, development and servers

11. Subsystem ratings (rough avr's):

    UI: 6
    Constancy: 9
    Dependancy tracking: 7
    Record keeping: 9
    Granularity: 9

12. Most users are either sysadmins and/or developers

Orginial Survey:

As has been hashed out in -ports@ over the last few days there is at
least a need to examine weither or not the current ports system should
remain as is or potentially be re-engineered in the future (estimates
if and when needed vary from ASAP to 10-15 years).   I have
volunteered to undertake a feasibility/pilot project to examine what
changes (if any) are needed in the system (for the purposes of this
thread I will not venture any of my own suggestions).   I have the
following broad questions for people:

1. What is more important to your personal use of FreeBSD (the ports
system, the underlaying OS, some other aspect)?

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

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

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

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?

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?

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

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

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

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
      b. Consistency of behaviors and interactions
      c. Accuracy in dependant port installations
      d. Internal record keeping
      e. Granularity's of the port management system

12. Please rate your personal technical skill level?
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