To all question list readers;

Now with 14576 ports in the collection where do you
draw the line that its too large to be downloading
the whole collection when you just use 10 or 20 of them?
The port collection is growing at a ever increasing rate per month.
The mass majority of the ports are so special purpose that only a
very few people have need of them. Sure there are ways to limit
the categories you select to download, but still the size of
the most used categories is too large and loaded with ports not
commonly used by the general user.

So people them use the packages. But the problem with the
packages is they are not updated every time changes are
made to the port they were created from. Also packages that
have dependants like php4/php5 or mysql4/mysql5 are not being
updated to use the newer versions of those dependants as they come

I for one think the port/package collection has already grown to
large to handle in it's present state.
Users are consuming massive bandwidth to download and it
consumes a very large chunk of disk space. Saying nothing about
the wasted resources consumed to back it up repeatedly.

I have gone to using the package version for everything and
only downloading the ports config files for packages that
I need to compile from scratch to change some add on function.
This methodology has worked fine since FreeBSD version 3.0 as
I used each new release of FreeBSD up to 6.1.

Now in 6.1 there is problems with packages that have not been
recreated using the new system make file.
This problem is caused by there being no mandatory requirement on
the ports maintainers to recreate the packages any time one of the
dependants change or when changes are made to the canned make
or when dependants show up as broken. Yes I know what a large task
this is and that it requires a lot of run time to accomplish.

So my question is how do we users make our needs known
to the ports maintainer group so that will seriously address
the problem of the packages being outdated?

Are there other people on this list who are dissatisfied with the
packages and the problems associated with using packages and ports
mixed together?

What are your thoughts about requesting the ports group to create
a new category containing just the ports most commonly used
their dependents and making this general category the default
used to download. This would be a much smaller sized download
containing everything necessary to build the most used ports.
Many of the dependents are used over and over by many
different port applications.

This new category would them be given priority in keeping
their packages up to date. Could even take this idea one step
and say that only ports in this category will have packages
built and keep up to date. All ports not in this special
category will not have packages built at all. I think this
would help the port group to better manager their people resources
and serve the needs of the user community better.

Another idea I would like to throw out to the list is how about
requesting the ports group to add a function to packages so the
installer of the package can select what version of the dependent
components should be included in the install.
Much like "make config" does in the ports system?
The packages system already automatically launches the download
of dependent packages so why not give the installer the option to
select which version of the dependent to fetch.
Like in php4/5 or mysql4/5 or apache 13/20. This way the package
is more flexible and the port maintainer does not have to build
a different version of the parent package for each version of
the dependant which is available.

The whole idea behind this post is to give the general users who
reads this questions list an opportunity to brainstorm about ways to
make the ports/package collection better and easier to use.
This may help the ports group in understanding the needs and
direction we the users would like to see the management of
the collection to take.
If we don't speak up they will just think things are ok as they are
FreeBSD is a public project. The ports group are not the only
users who can give input about the direction and policies
concerning the future of the ports/package collection.

All feedback welcome.

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