Free BSD 8.1

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sun Sep 26 12:25:42 UTC 2010

On 26/09/2010 13:30:19, Michel Talon wrote:
> Matthew Seaman said
>> Be aware that installing the ports tree from the DVD images is not the
>> ideal way to do it.  If you have the connectivity on your newly
>> installed system, it is better to use either csup(1) or portsnap(1) to
>> grab an up-to-date copy of the ports directly from the net.
> I disagree with that. You are supposing that newer is better, which is
> far from proven (in fact blatantly false in many cases). Another option
> is to install the ports tree from the  DVD,and install corresponding
> precompiled packages from the DVD or otherwise the web, and
> *not* updating the ports tree. There is a lot to be said for this
> option, and many users will be happier doing that, at least people who
> want to use their machine and not spend their time upgrading, compiling
> and fighting bugs.

No.  I made no comment on the relative advantages and disadvantages of
various updating strategies.  Please do not put words into my mouth.
Given that the OP asked about the ports I think it fairly safe to assume
that his intention was to use them.

And, yes, being up-to-date with the ports tree generally *does* give you
better results than not.  Ports are a moving target, dependent entirely
on upstream changes.  Expecting that a snapshot taken months or weeks
ago will work just as well as one updated in the last hour is plain
daft.  Even without any functional changes to the ported software,
projects still move to different hosting, URLs change as archive sites
are internally reorganised, ftp servers come and go, dist files get
re-rolled with new checksums.

Aside from those neutral changes, ported software generally does improve
over time.  Updates that fix problems are way more common that updates
that introduce them.  Despite a few high-profile occasions when things
have gone horribly wrong -- not just with the ports, but with any OSS
project --- this is overwhelmingly the case.  The quality control in the
majority of large OSS projects is very good nowadays -- probably better
than their closed source equivalents.  End users can quite reasonably
expect not to have to spend their time "fighting bugs."
Newer generally /is/ better.

Besides that, the assumption you are making, that change is undesirable,
is just plain wrong.  People will always want new stuff.  It may not be
wise for them to get it, but that's another story.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP:     Ramsgate
JID: matthew at               Kent, CT11 9PW

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