Subject: Re: pkgsrc progress bar?
To: <>
From: Dmitri Nikulin <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 01/22/2005 02:44:31
Sorry, I must have misunderstood. It's when you inquired about a 'time' 
estimator that I figured you were after an absolute scale.

But in the sense of package/packages, yeah, that's another area where 
Portage shines. pkgsrc is still, if you look at it, an admittedly 
elegant hack of package management, but writing a new package manager 
based on a tool chain (like Portage is) and with more advanced design 
would be really useful. I hope the DragonFly system develops this way. 
USE flags, pretend mode with an exact list of packages to be merged and 
how much will be downloaded, tested/untested separation, transparent 
integration of distcc, ccache, etc. are all really handy, and the only 
reason I run Gentoo on workstations instead of the technically superior 
NetBSD. Package management makes or breaks a distribution these days 
where most people expect convenient user lands.

package/packages is possible to implement as a hack to pkgsrc, but 
whether or not it's worth complicating things for this is questionable. 
The simple "I don't care about what happened before or will happen 
later" tree design of pkgsrc/ports/etc is admirable from a development 
perspective but it becomes a pain when you want to predict behavior and 
reduce redundancy.

My view on it probably will offend some more experienced developers, 
which is fair enough: but as a user of FreeBSD, NetBSD and Linux (with 
Gentoo being the only distribution I'll even look at) I know what a good 
package manager is from an end-user and administrator perspective. It's 
one area that could bring NetBSD from being an OS for power users to 
being an OS more for everybody; and while most won't ever contribute 
back, eventually the spread of "hey, it's convenient too" rumors will 
attract developers looking for a marketable platform. Linux is a toy 
that shouldn't be used outside of a play pen, but entirely because of 
good marketting and efforts towards meeting the needs of every Joe User 
and Joe Loser, it's become a majorly supported and distributed toy. 
There is no reason that NetBSD shouldn't have as much if not more 
attention. And, yes, a simple a thing as a package manager would be a 
huge leap. I could develop the tools myself; that's not the hard part. 
The hard part is getting a large scope of enthusiasts to contribute and 
maintain the 'ports' of software. And the easier you make that task, the 
more the system succeeds. So a better system helps users and developers, 
and the host operating system (but an ideal package manager would be 
portable like pkgsrc is already).

(and sorry for cross-posting this, but I want to ensure those reading 
the old thread in current-users@ know where to track it)