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

George Rosamond george at ceetonetechnology.com
Fri Feb 15 12:24:10 EST 2013

On 02/15/13 11:15, Marc Spitzer wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 1:35 AM, Brett Wynkoop <nycbug at wynn.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, 14 Feb 2013 18:28:20 -0500
>> Marc Spitzer <mspitzer at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 3:26 PM, Brian Callahan <bcallah at devio.us>
>>> wrote:

<large snip>

So I had a long response sitting in drafts yesterday when this 
discussion came up, but as I was a bit tied up, it became less and less 
relevant as the thread developed.

First thing, there's no reason to have a nasty tone about this.  This 
applies to everyone in the discussion.  Don't be condescending.  We 
don't normally have that tone on our list, and I was tempted to just 
start booting a few people off the list last night to make a point.

I have a hard time believing most of you would be so nasty face-to-face. 
  If you can't discuss in a public forum like this, then keep your mouth 

Now, to the issue, without directly addressing any particular comment.

I am very much on the frustrated side with the changes to FreeBSD with 
dropping a little base utility called csup and replacing with 
subversion.  Yes, the benefits of subversion, blah blah blah, yes, 
freebsd-update, blah blah blah, but FreeBSD is going through massive 
changes, and it gets a bit uneasy for those of us set in their ways.

I remember building my first Linux box way way back, and was horrified 
that somehow I had Sendmail and Apache running.  Was I running an open 
relay?  This was how Linux "intimidated" me into BSD-land, after getting 
my feet wet with Sun.

I installed OpenBSD and top was so empty, that it was cleanly viewable 
on a 12" CRT.  I was overjoyed, to say the least.

Now FreeBSD is in a situation where three branches are officially 
supported (7.x, 8.x, 9.x) and I'd imagine most devs are focused on 
-CURRENT, aka, 10.x.

Now read the FBSD Handbook.  gmirror, for instance, went from six or so 
steps through 8.x, now it's a mess of steps in 9.x  But the Handbook, 
AFAIK, only shows the 9.x directions.  What used to take a few moments 
has become convoluted, and the documentation doesn't even apply to 2 of 
the supported branches.  Enter gpart land.  WTF.

So lots of devs have replied to this calmly, and it's been a regular 
topic of discussion in various forms.  People are upset, since I think 
we're all a bit 'conservative' in terms of technology.  I've yet to meet 
anyone in NYC*BUG who's enthralled by 'the cloud' marketing crap.  We 
know open source didn't spawn from someone's brain in the 1980s.  That 
Unix time might have started in 1970, but the decades before were part 
of the overall continuum.  BSD Unix is not about flash and splash.

If all these changes were happening with two supported branches, and it 
was all well-documented, then I think there would be a lot less stress 
all around.

Think about the massive changes:  pkgng, gpart/gpt, cvs dying for ports 
and source, the installer overhauled, the first real involvement in 
other architectures for many people (eg, ARM).  That's a lot, and we are 
all not only facing a learning curve, but also have to rework our tried 
and trusted methods.

Now Ike asked Kirk about this at that Axial meeting in a general way, 
and Kirk made it clear that a bunch of businesses were pumping more code 
upstream than in the past.  That's understandable, and probably a good 
thing.  Right?  It was the best explanation I'd heard so far.

So to wrap up this ramble, those 'defending' or 'explaining' the changes 
need to understand the real frustration many people are experiencing. 
We all have our ways to do things.  All sides should understand that. 
But I also think the FreeBSD project needs to slow the process down a 
bit, clear up the documentation and understand enormous "revolutionary" 
changes are not the norm 'culturally' for us.

For us 'end-users' we should probably spend more time in watching the 
changes, documenting them including by posting on this list, subscribe 
to freebsd-announce, and go from there.

The changes are inevitable, but there does need to better interaction 
between the user base (esp in groups like NYC*BUG) and the project.  And 
both 'sides' have responsibility in resolving it.


PS.  I didn't mean to sound like a diplomat.  I must be aging quicker 
than I thought.

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