[TUHS] Why BSD didn't catch on more, and Linux did

Pete Wright pete at nomadlogic.org
Wed Feb 7 08:59:07 AEST 2018

On 02/06/2018 14:44, Warner Losh wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 3:13 PM, Dan Stromberg <drsalists at gmail.com 
> <mailto:drsalists at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     5) I think FreeBSD's ports and similar huge-source-tree approaches
>     didn't work out as well Linux developers contributing their changes
>     upstream.
> I think you confuse what ports was supposed to do. It was supposed to 
> be "make these patches NOW to make the software available to users" 
> paired with "submit the patches upstream to ease future support 
> burdens". But the latter didn't happen often enough at times, 
> especially as people moved on from the FreeBSD project and complex 
> software became unsupported. It's really no different than what all 
> the distributions have to do on Linux, but had a different bias for 
> forcing the question than FreeBSD did in the early days. That's 
> largely changed, and has mostly worked out....
> The bigger issue with 'large trees' is that there was no convenient, 
> binary packaged way to subset. Having everything in one tree avoids 
> much of the version chasing that you have with Linux packages that the 
> package set maintainers have to grapple with...
I can give a hardy "second" to this statement.  Having to maintain some 
non-trivial in-house packages on Linux distro's as well as on FreeBSD 
really drove this point home for me.  For example, the LOE was 
tremendous to support a Python version which was not supported by RedHat 
for example, not to mention the ongoing effort to keep the primary 
packages and their dependencies up to date was a major challenge as 
well.  Working on the ports tree was much nicer in this regard as it 
allowed me to reuse work done by others.

Having said that it certainly feel that since FreeBSD did not have a 
good story precompiled package management (as opposed to yum, apt, etc.) 
was a real detriment to wider adoption to aspiring hackers. Between 
pkgin/pkgsrc and the new pkg too in FreeBSD I feel they are much better 
positioned for people who just want to install software and get to the 
job at hand.


Pete Wright
pete at nomadlogic.org

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