Chris Whitehouse wrote:

You've suggested solutions to a couple of Polytropon's objections, thank you. Do you think there is anough mileage in my suggestion to make it worth putting in front of some ports people? What would have
to happen to take it forward? I could rewrite the proposal more clearly.

Any well-considered proposal is interesting, and suitable fodder for the
freebsd-po...@... mailing list. However you must be prepared for your ideas to undergo some fairly rigourous critique by people who have spent
a great deal of time in doing exactly the sort of operations you are talking
about.  It can be pretty daunting -- remember though that it is your /ideas/
that are being dissected: it's not a personal attack against you for having
the temerity to try and suggest something.

Also, as ever in the FreeBSD world, code speaks louder than words. It's easy for anyone to come up with a proposal, hard to turn that into a prototype
that demonstrates the validity of your ideas.  Expect skepticism until you
have done that.
I suspect it would be easier to implement than freebsd-update, as a good deal of the infrastructure already exists, and would have similar benefits. To start developing it would require a ports tree and a selection of packages compiled from that ports tree. 7.2 Release is coming up. Maybe the ports tree plus packages from that would be a good place to start.

freebsd-update and portsnap existed only on Colin Percival's own machines
for quite some time, and then they were made available through ports before being accepted into the core system. That is the usual sort of progression
for any major new system modifications.

The infrastructure may well exist, but don't assume that there is any spare
capacity on it.  Getting time on the ports build cluster for running experiments
is not impossible, but it's somewhere way down the queue after the daily
work of building packages for the FTP sites and testing the effects of bug
fixes in the infrastructure or important and highly interconnected
groups of ports like xorg or gnome.  Also, right before 7.2-RELEASE is probably
not the best time as that's when things are most hectic.  Right /after/
7.2-RELEASE would be better

I think your basic idea of snapshotting the ports tree at regular intervals
and building a self-consistent group of desktop related applications is a
pretty good one actually.  You need to work a bit on the details -- for
instance, is it worthwhile rebuilding (say) the X libraries if there have
been no changes to them since the previous snapshot?  Also, I'd take a good
look at exactly how the PC-BSD and Desktop-BSD groups deal with this problem.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
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