Discussion: Moving WPA_SUPPLICANT out of base and into dports

Robin Hahling robin.hahling at gw-computing.net
Sun Oct 12 04:32:34 PDT 2014

On Sunday 12 October 2014 11.47:09 John Marino wrote:
> The HOSTAPD and WPA_SUPPLICANT vendor branches weren't updated for over
> 4 years until Alex Perrin helped us bump to version 2.1.  Since then
> versions 2.2 and 2.3 have been released.
> I've spent a few hours already trying to update it again, but it's quite
> complex.  The code changes rapidly and the DragonFly makefiles,
> inherited from FreeBSD, support a bunch of custom build options with
> variables set in the Make.conf file.
> I suspect nobody knew about these variables and thus don't use them, so
> removing support for them would definitely make future maintenance
> either.  So it would be interesting to hear if anyone customizes
> WPA_SUPPLICANT through make.conf.

I use WPA_SUPPLICANT on my laptop but didn't know about these variables.
If removing the possibility to customize but keeping a default configuration 
that can cover most use cases simplifies the maintenance of WPA_SUPPLICANT in 
base, then I'm all in favor of it.

> While pondering this, I began asking myself why WPA_SUPPLICANT and
> HOSTAPD were in base at all.  We could easily move this to dports and
> add the packages as mandatory for nrelease.  That would have the
> following benefits:
>   * Easier to maintain
>   * More likely to have current version available
>   * Custom options would be available via normal ports dialog
>   * Base would contract

On a laptop, I think wireless connection should be considered part of a base 
system since people mostly connect to networks this way. On the other hand, if 
we can have a guarantee that WPA_SUPPLICANT and HOSTAPD can be installed from 
the release ISO, I have nothing against removing these from base. The only 
thing I would be worried about is if an upgrade breaks it for a reason or 

> We could probably ease WPA_SUPPLICANT and HOSTAPD out gently.  For
> example, version 2.1 wouldn't build by default but it would still be in
> base so Make.conf switch could activate it.  After a release or two when
> it's clear having in dports works well, we can remove it from base
> completely.

This seems like a reasonable plan.

> What do people think?  Is there some crucial reason why WPA_SUPPLICANT
> and HOSTAPD have to remain in base?  Feedback on this topic would be great!

I won't say crucial but I think it's nice to have it in base. If, on the other 
hand it's very hard to maintain in base which means having really outdated 
WPA_SUPPLICANT in base from time to time, then I'm all in favor of moving it 
out of base.
> Thanks,
> John


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