Ravenports, what's missing for you?

John Marino dragonflybsd at marino.st
Tue Jul 31 12:06:01 PDT 2018

On 7/20/2018 16:06, Predrag Punosevac wrote:
> Hi John,
> First off I would like to thank you on your work on DPorts, FreeBSD
> ports tree, and synth in particular. It seems like it was yesterday when
> Matt announced that DF will be switching from pkgsrc to Dports
> https://marc.info/?l=dragonfly-users&m=138135161602547&w=2
> but I am sure it feels like an eternity to you. You managed more or less
> on your 100% on your own to keep Dports in sync with FreeBSD ports three
> and make DF usable to common folks like myself.

I had some help, but yeah, I did the lion's share of the work.

> This should come as a no surprise to anyone as you were the single point
> of failure and even if you did not get sidetracked by synth and
> ravenports sooner or later somebody (preferably community) would have to
> step in.

It's been a problem as long as DF has existed.  Back in the pkgsrc days, 
it always seemed it was one or two people fixing all the breakage. 
We've always needed a real team to do packaging but have never truly had 

> I am not sure how to read lack of response to your candid e-mail you
> sent almost 2 months ago.

Here's how to read it:
Deadlines spur action.  As long as DPorts is working, there's nothing 
spurring change.  There's no immediate need to do anything.  It's basic 
human nature.

> Personally my main concern is that Ravenports
> is an infrastructure. Even the best infrastructure without community is
> worthless. So instead of answering your question I will ask you a
> question. Do you feel that there is momentum behind Ravenports and build
> up of the community?

The goal is to build up a community.  The flash doesn't even need to 
come from DF.  Any sizable project with packaging needs could 
contribute.  I'd be hard-pressed to say there is currently "momentum" 
but the word is getting out and things can change quickly.

> Minix and SmartOS use pkgsrc while OmniOS
> practically has no package system and uses SmartOS pkgsrc repos.

I actually think Solaris/Illumos users could be some of the first real 
adopters, including OmniOS.  The solaris repository is still missing 
300+ packages.  Since I'm basing on Solaris 10, a bunch of functions are 
missing from libc that recent software assumes is available everywhere, 
which complicates package building.  Once its on par with the rest of 
RP, the solaris offerings will be quite attractive.

> I see
> some discussions in Gentoo's and Funtoo's communities. What I am trying
> to say is that you can fix here and there few ports to Ravenports
> infrastructure but you can't you fix 25000+ ports from FreeBSD ports
> tree.

That number is misleading.
1) inflation from flavors.  2) tons of old packages that never had many 
users and aren't updated and 3) count is inflated due to lack of 
subpackages and inferior flavors vs RP variants.

What I'm trying to say is that the "core" number of packages that most 
users would need is much smaller.  For example, isn't OpenBSD packages 
on the order of 6,000 - 7,000 ?

> I see your job is to bootstrap ravenports to different
> architectures aarch64, sparc64, and possibly different OSs. However your
> job is not to maintain ravenports tree.

well, I've been doing it.  Ravenports is the most "fresh" ports 
repository of all of them.  Ref: https://repology.org/

> In particular I am concern about
> regression testing for such massive tree structure. As you know better
> tools often lose to bad solutions (your synth is an example) if they
> don't have the community and political support.

I'm not really getting what the concern is here.
I test the tree in its entirety before publishing, something else no 
other repository does.  That's proven to be more effective than other 
systems I've worked on, especially pkgsrc.  (FreeBSD has exp-runs that 
help in that area).

> Even decent tools like
> pkgsrc get into the trouble if they over advertise and over sell (pkgsrc
> is major pain on anything besides NetBSD as DF community is all to well
> aware).

In my opinion, pkgsrc definitely oversells which is why I created my own 
system.  Also in my opinion, Ravenports achieves what it promises, so 
that's the difference.  It's a better approach to solving the same 
problem.  Although to be fair, it's not really the same problem.  pkgsrc 
really wants to work on tons of different, low resource systems where RP 
is aimed at common, modern systems.  It's hardware support will depend 
on that future community.

> What is the plan of DF community for the time after Dports and John
> Marino putting 80+ hours a week of free work?

Well, I'm not doing that much work, but each iteration of DPorts does 
take an increasingly unacceptable amount of my time.  At some point I'm 
probably going to just stop doing dports and let that decision spur 
action.  Not sure when but probably not that far off.


More information about the Users mailing list