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Date:      Wed, 7 Mar 2012 17:58:52 +0100
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        David Jackson <>
Subject:   Re: Still having trouble with package upgrades
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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David, allow me to add a few thoughts:

On Wed, 7 Mar 2012 11:28:47 -0500, David Jackson wrote:
> As for compile options, the solution is simple, compile in all feature
> options and the most commonly used settings into the binary packages, for
> the standard i386 CPU.

I think this can develop into a major problem in certain
countries where listening to MP3 is illegal. :-)

However, when considerations of law enter the field, the
problem becomes obvious: There are situations, depending
on local national law or software licnsing, when it is
not possible to include certain functionality by default.

You know, I'd _love_ to "pkg_add -r mplayer" to get mplayer
and mencoder with _all_ the codecs so it can play everything.
Sadly, that is not the default situation. You can also
encounter similar "barriers" with Linux when you install
a distribution, and many things work out of the box, but
as soon as you "cross a certain line" (i. e. you want to
access specific media formats), you need to add something
to your installation. That shouldn't be neccessary, and
it is not neccessary from a technical point of view, but
legal objections seem to demand it it's artificially made

> If people want customisations then they can build
> the software for themselves.

That's what they'll do anyway. :-)

Especially on systems low on resources, compiling from
source is _the_ way to squeeze every required (!) bit
of performance out of code. Even if compiling may require
some time (due to optimization flags), the result can
be really usable.

> When a new kernel is released, there is no reason to reinstall all of the
> packages on the system at the same time. Since the kernel and userland
> packages have different development cycles, there is no reason why there
> has to be synchronization of the upgrading.

It sometimes is neccessary, for example if kernel interfaces
have changed. There is some means of compatibility provided by
the compat_ ports. But if you start upgrading things, libraries
can break, and the system may become unstable (in terms of not
being able of running certain programs anymore). Just see how
"kernel and world are out of sync" errors can even cause the
system to stop booting. Degrading the inner workings of the OS
to "just another package" can cause trouble. "Simple updates"
as they are often performed on Linux systems can render the
whole installation totally unusable because "something minor"
went wrong. :-)

> An OS that requires a user to reinstall
> everything just to upgrade the kernel is not user friendly.

Why do consider a user being supposed to mess with kernels?
This question can show that I'm already too old: Programs
are for users, kernels are for sysadmins. Sysadmins do stuff
properly, even if they shoot their foot in order to learn
an important lesson. :-)

As I said before: Updating the kernel _may_ cause many "dependency
programs" (the userland and often the installed 3rd party
applications) to become target of updating in order to keep
their functionality. New kernel interfaces, changes in ABI
or API, new libraries, as well as obsoleted things may be
a valid (!) reason.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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