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OpenBSD Packages and Ports Installation and upgrading of packages and ports on OpenBSD.

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Old 5 Days Ago
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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Default Help keep OpenBSD packages up-to-date

All contributed third party packages for OpenBSD are built from OpenBSD's ports(7) tree, which contains all the instructions needed for building each package from source code. At the time I write this, that tree has 9356 ports which are built into packages for the various destination architectures.

Help by testing new or updated ports

Both brand new ports and port updates can be submitted by anyone, by sending mail to the ports@ mailing list. New ports are sent as tar(1) attachments, while updates are sent as unified diff(1) files either inline or in attachments. These are plain text files that are human-readable and can be applied automatically with patch(1). While anyone can send in an update or a new port they've developed, only Project members can commit these submissions to the ports tree. It takes volunteer testers who reply by email before any new port will be committed to the ports tree.

The only prerequisite for port testing is that the tester be running a recent -current. I'm like many users, I run -release (plus patches) on my servers, but I run -current on my laptop and upgrade from snapshot to snapshot fairly frequently. If you're like me, you have everything you need to get started. Programming skills are not required. You'll only report whether there were any problems building the package or using it once installed. And if you're testing upgrades with submitted diff(1) files, some familiarity with patch(1) can be helpful. It will pick an inline or attached diff(1) right out of the mail for you, so you don't even need to use an editor.

For help getting started, there are two key man pages: ports(7), which is an overview, and bsd.port.mk(5), which is a guide to the contents of a port's Makefile and the various make targets used during package building. But notably, in the FAQ, there is a complete Porters Handbook which has in introduction on using the tree in its opening chapter, plus it includes a more detailed Port Testing Guide if you want to report on any issues discovered during package building and installation.

Help by updating out-of-date ports

At the moment, almost 20% of the ports in the tree are out-of-date. Some are out-of-date because the newer versions have significant changes that are complex or difficult to port to OpenBSD, others are out-of-date because the maintainer lacks the time to develop and test a revision. Most ports -- nearly 5000 -- have no assigned maintainer at all, and many are out-of-date because no one has taken the time to update them.

If you have some technical comfort with application source code, and are aware of a package you use that's out-of-date on OpenBSD-current, and you'd like to update it yourself, the first step would be to learn who maintains the port. If the maintainer is the ports@ mailing list, then no individual maintainer is assigned and you can start your effort immediately. If there is an assigned maintainer, send mail to the maintainer and 1) ask if they have an update in-progress already, and 2) if not, would they mind if you send your attempted diff(1) to them for their consideration.

My very first exposure to a port update was an out-of-date application that I wanted to get modernized. A big, complex port. I sent mail to the maintainer, who had already been working on it, and he sent me his work-in-progress diff set. I had an architecture he didn't have, so even though I wasn't much direct help I could still report on build issues he didn't see, and then report success once the package could build and install.

You can do that too. And if there is no maintainer, you can try to update the port (following the handbook, linked above), and submit your work to the ports@ mailing list for review. And, even if you don't get things working perfectly, you can submit your work and request guidance.

Recently, I had some time so I went to the automated out-of-date port tracker, https://portroach.openbsd.org/. I found 4 or 5 out-of-date ports that I could start work on immediately. Some updates were above-my-head technically -- even if the applications were relatively simple the new versions had some complex technical changes -- but I found two of them were simple enough updates that I could make the changes and post diffs to the ports@ list.

One was graphics/gimp -- a complex application, but the port update wasn't complex, and the update was committed.

The other was sysutils/e2fsprogs, which while not as complex an application as GIMP, it has had 6 years of development since the last time the port was updated. One of the new features isn't working as intended. I've posted the diff(1) to the ports@ mailing list today, so that it the updated port be reviewed and a root cause determined by someone with more knowledge than me.
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Old 4 Days Ago
ibara ibara is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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If people tested ports and responded to the emails on ports@ saying what they tested and how things worked out, that would go a very long way.
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Old 3 Days Ago
albator albator is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 93

I didn't know so many ports were lacking affection, thanks jggimi for mentioning this.
(I updated Lyx once, with your help.)

I also made a MyPaint port a few years ago and never got any answer : ' (.
This made me give up on trying to build a new one.
So I can only back up what you say Ibara.
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Old 3 Days Ago
ibara ibara is offline
JavaScript game developer
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 744

Here's a list of ports without a maintainer than need an update:

MyPaint was recently imported: https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-ports-c...4424531136&w=2
But yes, it's not the same as doing the work, sending an email to ports@, and getting no response.

There will never be enough of us devs, so users helping out is extremely appreciated.
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