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Re: No more ports of unfree software

On Tue, May 27, 2003 at 10:26:49AM -0700, Ben Goren wrote:
> On Tue, May 27, 2003 at 11:13:09AM -0500, Rick Pettit wrote:
> > Sheesh,  learn to  build software  yourself. It's just  not that
> > hard...
> It's not quite that simple. The  ports system provides a clean way
> of dealing with  software. Sure, building third-party applications
> usually isn't too  hard. But first you have to  check the makefile
> to be  sure that they're not  going to pollute /usr/bin  or create
> /opt or  do other silly  things. Then you've got to  remember what
> you  did a  year ago  when it  comes time  to upgrade. And  heaven
> forbit you have to do all this to dozens or hundreds of computers.

Software distributions built using the auto* tools are easy to
install in a separate subtree such as "/opt".  Coupled with e.g.
GNU "stow", this provides a package system which is extremly
easy to maintain.

I know one or two commercial products (I don't use many of those
at all), and a few open source ones as well, that don't use
the auto* tools (that is, they don't come with a "configure"
script), and I agree that those few products are a pain to

Once the installation is done on one machine though, it's not
hard to distribute the changes onto a set of other machines
(either using "rsync" or by means of NFS).

Just my personal opinion,

Andreas Kähäri
Essex, England