Gsoc-Announcements distributed over the ports tree

Rainer Müller raimue at
Wed Mar 21 00:58:51 UTC 2018

On 2018-03-21 00:44, Ryan Schmidt wrote:
> To be honest, I wasn't aware of this GSoC proposal until the emails started showing up on this list recently, so I don't really understand it yet. The entry on the wiki is vague. Could someone give some examples of the types of announcements we're envisioning publishing via this system? We already have the announce mailing list and the news section of the web site for publishing announcements of general interest to the entire MacPorts community. Is this new proposal supposed to be yet a third way to publish the same announcements, or rather different announcements related to specific ports, for which we currently don't offer a solution other than the "notes" variable? If the latter, then I don't see wanting to make it visible on the web site, at least not until we have a redesigned site with individual pages for each port.

As the idea is inspired by Gentoo Portage, the use cases and
requirements in their design document [1] for this feature would also
apply to us.

This would be meant for situations where we change defaults or remove
ports, for example old python/perl/etc. modules. For example it could
show such a news entry to everyone who still has a py35-* installed and
ask them to install the corresponding py36-* port, when the former are
going to be removed shortly afterwards.

It could have been used to warn about the switch to perl5.26, which
introduced incompatible changes that caused confusion for users. Gentoo
used it to release such a warning [2]. In our case we could have used it
if perl5.26 or p5.26-* is a requested port, which probably indicates the
person is using it for third-party scripts.

Another case would be ports where an update changes configuration file
formats or location. While this could also be announced in 'port notes',
it is unclear how long we want to keep it in there and it will be shown
to users on each upgrade. I am afraid that users will ignore the port
notes if they show information that is no longer relevant to them. For
example the apache2 port is still showing how to migrate from 2.2 to
2.4, but how much longer would we want to keep this around? A news entry
could have a conditional to check whether the user has already migrated
or not. News entries can be marked as read and would therefore not
unnecessarily nag the user with the same information over and over again.

We could also use it to remind users to install new Xcode versions, with
a conditional based on macOS and Xcode version.

Of course we could also distribute our normal announcements over the
same channel. Although most users are running 'port selfupdate' and thus
would already have the latest MacPorts version when the news arrives
with the ports tree.



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