On 4/4/09, Chris Whitehouse <cwhi...@onetel.com> wrote:
> Hi all
> My suggestion is to start with a ports tree that is fixed in time. Make
> that ports tree available as part of this package system and compile a
> typical desktop set of ports, particularly choosing ones which are large
> or have many dependencies. When it is all complete release it and start
> again. Surely quite a wide selection of desktops, wm's and apps could be
> compiled in a couple of weeks?

A lot of ports are already available as packages. Do you simply want
more ports available as packages, or a more fundamental change?

> Modify pkg_add so that it can be told to use this 'snapshot' including
> downloading the fixed ports tree that was used.

What is the benefit of this?

> Some benefits to this system are
> - much easier for lower power or laptop users to keep their desktop
> machine up to date

A large subset of ports are already available as packages. Would
making more of them available solve the problem you perceive? Who
would decide what the appropriate default configuration should be for
each port?

> - problems with particular ports can be centrally fixed by knowledgeable
> people, possibly reducing time on lists.

Huh? Aren't they already?

> - reduced energy use for everyone.

I think the difference in energy use would be so small as to be
pointless. If I have a system that consumes 75 kilowatt hours per
month, and I spend an extra 0.05 kilowatt hour per month updating
ports, is the difference (less than 1/10 of 1 percent) really
meaningful? I can't even measure my power usage accurately enough to
detect the difference. Convince me to use three liters less hot water
per month, and you will save more energy.

> - the ports system is still available for those who do want to change
> the config options
> - ports which are not included in the snapshot are still available -
> since this system has already provided the larger ports as packages, the
>   remaining ones would be less onerous to install

That's already done.

> - ports that are installed with make install would maintain
> compatibility with the other installed packages.

In what way are they now not compatible?

> - don't need to mess with portupgrade etc.

What's the significant difference between messing with pkg_add and
messing with portupgrade?

A large subset of ports are already available as packages, so it isn't
clear to me how this proposal is significantly improved over using
"portupgrade -PR _portname_" when a port needs updating. Or
"portupgrade -PRa" when you feel the urge to bring everything up to

Installing and using portaudit is another useful step in the process.
It will send you email to tell you WHEN you should use portupgrade. Of
course, it uses energy to do so.

> - it could (I think) be fitted fairly well into the existing package
> building process.
> - it generally increases the useability of FreeBSD as a desktop system.
> [...]

How is it an improvement over the existing tools? I must be missing
something, because it sounds to me like you are merely asking that
there be more ports made available as packages than are now offered.

To me, the best way to improve FreeBSD as a desktop system would be to
get Flash 9, 10, etc. working properly (this seems to have recently
been accomplished for Flash 9), and to figure out how to get the
Gnome-related stuff to update smoothly without the constant need for
manual interference (I get tired of running gnomeloganalyzer). But
that's a discussion for a different thread.

-- Bob Johnson
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