Ports with GUI configs

Jonathan McKeown jonathan+freebsd-questions at hst.org.za
Sun Nov 18 11:53:58 PST 2007

On Saturday 17 November 2007 02:06, Chad Perrin wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 16, 2007 at 02:11:57PM -0500, Chuck Robey wrote:
> > prominently display the actual meaning of the word being set.  The only
> > reason to make the list binary is to force everyone to use the
> > (basically database technology) tool to manipulate the keywords, thus
> > stopping folks from misconstruing the meanings.  That's my only reason
> > for that, and there are certainly other ways to go about it, so as long
> > as whatever is suggested requires folks to see the commonly accepted
> > definition when they set the list, I don't care how it's done.  The list
> > could as easily be encrypted, I guess, that would also cause the same
> > work flow, in somewhat the same reasoning as we use for forcing folks to
> > use "vipw" to change the pasword list.

I haven't read the discussion on -ports, but I hope the rest of your (Chuck 
Robey's) arguments are better founded than this one.

No-one forces anyone to use vipw(8). You can, for example, edit
/etc/master.passwd or a copy of it with any editor you like, and then run 
pwd_mkdb(8) to install your changes. vipw just gives you file locking (plus 
sanity checks and an automatic call to pwd_mkdb).

> I think "forcing" anyone to anything is a *bad idea*.  Period.  You're
> talking about placing arbitrary limits on what the user can see if he or
> she wants to understand what's going on "under the hood".  With that kind
> of treatment, I would never have learned as much about FreeBSD as I know
> as quickly as I did.

I agree.

> I, for one, would probably refuse to use such a system once I learned
> enough about the basics to want to know what it's doing.  The moment I
> figured out it was designed specifically to obscure some aspect of its
> operation from the user, I'd look for something else to use instead.
> There are very good reasons for this -- reasons like security, curiosity,
> and just plain good manners.
> > Please consider that we'll get another chance to argue this out when I
> > have the software ready, so we don't need to settle it now.  I don't
> > want this to continue to pollute the -questions list.

I'm not at all sure what problem you're trying to solve here. If I know I need 
to change the defaults on a port, I generally know why and what the 
implications are; if I don't, the defaults are generally what I need anyway.

As far as I can see, you want to remove a deal of flexibility from the ports 
system, in favour of introducing a compulsory scheme of configuration hints. 
You say you want to move ports configuration from port install time to system 
compile time - which in itself is, in my view, an unrealistic objective: it 
will break the first time a new port has an option which can't be determined 
on the basis of an existing keyword. Not only that, but it means that as soon 
as I install a single port (Perl, for example), I would have to run the 
complete ports-tree configuration routine.

I'm sorry to leap on board and prolong the agony at this late stage, but I 
wanted to add another datum point, particularly given the rather dismissive

> > I personally felt we'd sufficiently discussed this to death, but
> > now there's 2 different folks who want to tear it apart some more.
> > If you're bored of this, tell me, and I will drag these folks
> > either into private discussions, or maybe onto the ports list.
> > Tell me if you've heard enough of this .....


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