[nycbug-talk] Request for Review, Summary of FreeBSD src fetching problems

Brett Wynkoop nycbug at wynn.com
Thu Feb 14 10:40:53 EST 2013


As a VERY LONG TIME Systems Admin, as in I have been doing it longer
than many developers have been alive my issues with the
move to svn from cvs are totally related to SIZE & LICENSE.
1.  SIZE
    It is obscene to require a source fetching tool that is so huge
    compared to the size of the base OS.  This is especially true for
    those of us that deal with small systems.

2.  There are times when one wants to keep NON-BSD-Licensed code off
    of a system. I do not at this time have any need to do such a thing,
    but in the past I had that need sometimes.

When I started working with Unix full time in the early 1980s I used
EMACS as my editor of choice.  At some point Richard got EMACS up to
about 50Mb, which considering at the time I was running sun 4-110s with
120Mb disks was HUGE.  I dropped EMACS.  

The idea that systems administrators should be forced to
install/maintain a huge tool to keep their systems up to date with
source is silly at best.

I believe that several years ago when portsnap was brought to life that
a similar tool for grabbing /usr/src should have been introduced.  I
know I would have jumped all over that.  At the time of the
introduction of portsnap I was working at a government agency where I
did not have control over the firewall and the network crew would not
open up the needed ports for CVS.  I was forced to tunnel all cvsup
traffic via an outside FreeBSD Box that was running ssh on a port
assigned to something the firewall folks did allow.  What a pain.  Then
came portsnap running via http and life was easier!

So this begs the question why not something like "basesnap fetch"?

In any case I feel that long before now the discussion of how to fetch
base should have been started and a suitable tool should have been
proposed and coded.  This "how to fetch base" issue shows the same lack
of forethought exhibited by changing the system installer and breaking
sysinstall by changing the layout of the FTP servers before the new
installer actually worked. AFIK the new installer is still broken, but
I have not tried to install using it since I discovered the MFSBSD iso
images, which are small and give a simple fool proof install method.

I do not know the ins and outs of svn or how hard it is to build a
fetch tool.  I am probably not a good enough programmer to do the job
either, but I would urge someone who is a good programmer to take on
the problem and provide a solution before /usr/src can no longer be
fetched with csup.



wynkoop at wynn.com               http://prd4.wynn.com/wynkoop/pgp-keys.txt

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep 
and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against 
tyranny in government" - Thomas Jefferson. 

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