Messed up Perl

Bradley Giesbrecht brad at
Mon Oct 4 21:17:17 PDT 2010

On Oct 4, 2010, at 8:40 PM, Hal Vaughan wrote:

> First: I don't write diplomatically, so don't take this as personal  
> or as me being angry.  I just tend to be abrupt.
> On Oct 4, 2010, at 3:30 PM, Daniel J. Luke wrote:
>> On Oct 4, 2010, at 3:21 PM, Hal Vaughan wrote:
>>>> It's entirely reasonable to assume that
>>>> someone who has installed MacPorts wants MacPorts programs to be  
>>>> available
>>>> in their $PATH.
>>> You've missed a major point: These programs are OVERRIDING what's  
>>> already there.  That's my objection.
>> no, they're not.
>> Those programs are still there.
> If I type "cpan" and get the MacPorts version over the OS X one,  
> then, yes, it's being overridden.  The programs may still be there,  
> but they're overridden.  If MacPorts changes my system so the  
> MacPorts version comes before the default for that system, it's  
> overriding it.
>>>> If you want to change *where* it is in your $PATH, then
>>>> edit the PATH= line in ~/.profile.
>>> Yes, I'll be doing that.  My issue there is that MacPorts PREPENDS  
>>> their paths to PATH, instead of APPENDING them, making one use  
>>> MacPorts programs by default, OVER OS X programs that were already  
>>> there and doing just what I wanted them to do.
>> ... your issue is that MacPorts didn't do what you want  
>> automatically.
> My issue is that MacPorts AUTOMATICALLY did something I didn't want  
> it to do.  Again, if it had put the system PATH first, then its own,  
> that would be different.  If there is a default on a system, then if  
> that default is changed, it should be made clear, "DEFAULTS ARE  
> CHANGED!"  If there's a warning that PATH is changed, if that change  
> alters the defaults, it's only appropriate to say so.
>> Historically, we have done three different things with PATH:
>> 1. Nothing (my preferred solution)
>> - This results in large numbers of "I installed this with MacPorts  
>> and I can't use it" emails to the mailing list
>> 2. Append to the PATH
>> - This results in large numbers of "Why isn't the MacPorts _foo_ I  
>> installed running instead of the system one" emails to the mailing  
>> list
>> 3. Prepend to PATH
>> - This results in a few very angry rants from people who are  
>> confused about what is happening (and usually it seems to be people  
>> running perl who don't realize that there's a difference between / 
>> usr/bin/perl and /opt/local/bin/perl and associated modules).
>> Prepend to PATH seems to enable behavior that most of our users  
>> expect - and it's easy enough for those who want other behavior to  
>> change their own path.
>> If you have a better solution, I'm sure we're happy to hear it.
> How about two extra scripts and during the install explain the  
> difference.  You don't have to use strongly technical jargon at  
> first.  You can say, "You have 3 choices: 1) Run this script  
> whenever you want to use MacPorts programs, or 2) Have this  
> automatically set up so MacPorts programs are run easily and have  
> preference over OS X programs, or 3) Have this automatically set so  
> OS X programs are given priority, but MacPorts programs will still  
> run, or 4) Read more technical information before making your  
> choices.  Which is your preference?"
> Considering that most users will have some degree of technical  
> experience, trusting them to make a choice on their own system seems  
> a reasonable choice.  I'm curious if that possibility has been  
> discussed.
>>> If I run cpan, without prefacing it with "/usr/bin/", I should be  
>>> able to count on it being the default executable, not one that has  
>>> been doctored.
>> It's not a 'doctored' one, it's just that your PATH isn't what you  
>> expect, and you didn't think to look at your PATH or do 'which  
>> cpan' or 'which perl' when things didn't work the way you expected.
> "your PATH isn't what you expect..."
> That sums it up.  Why SHOULD I look at PATH or run "which cpan"  
> UNTIL or UNLESS I have behavior from my system that isn't what one  
> could reasonably expect?  Here's an example: Tonight is Monday, so  
> I'll put the garbage on the curb along with my recycling because  
> they pick it up on Tuesday.  That's the default and the expected  
> behavior.  Why should I check the city's website on that every  
> Monday when they have stated that's how they work previously?   
> There's no reason I'd check every week to see if they're still  
> picking up trash in my area on Tuesday.
> Now, if they are changing, then they're going to announce it to the  
> news stations and sent out mail.  That's how they've done it in the  
> past.  So if there are no announcements made and I've received  
> nothing in the mail, or what I did receive looked like junk mail and  
> not like something from the city, and I have a full trash can  
> stuffed with smelly old food because I cleaned out my refrigerator  
> earlier today, and it sits there all day and I later find, at the  
> end of the day, I have to deal with that smelly stuff all week  
> because NOW they're picking up on Monday and I missed it and there  
> was no announcement telling me the defaults and expected behaviors  
> have changed, I'm going to be ticked off -- and I have a right to be  
> ticked off, since the rug was pulled out from under me.
> It's a parallel and not all details work, but changing the default  
> behavior without warning is a bit of an ambush to many people.
> And, on that note, I'll say that when I setup MacPorts this time  
> (after a few failed attempts because it never installed Python right  
> if I tried installing packages that depend on it), I installed  
> Python, which got me Python and dependencies.  Then I installed KDE,  
> then Amarok and a few other programs.  In each case, I got a fair  
> amount of warnings from packages about, "Do this or do that."  Well,  
> with all the packages that were installed, many of those warnings  
> scrolled off the screen into oblivion.  So I admit it's possible I  
> got a warning, but since I was not at my computer for the 12+ hours  
> it took to install all the packages, I can't be sure.  I know it  
> sounds like I'm being snarky (sorry, I don't do subtle or diplomatic  
> well and tend to be to the point), but it'd be great if port could  
> keep a list of warnings and actions the user needs to take and  
> report them all at the end of the install as well.  Just piping them  
> to a temp file as well as putting them on the console c
> ould do that.  Then it'd be much easier to be sure one gets all the  
> needed warnings.
>>> As best I can remember, at no place, when installing anything, did  
>>> MacPorts warn me, "Hey, guy, we're usurping your defaults by  
>>> putting our path BEFORE yours, so you'll always run our stuff over  
>>> the defaults now."
>> I haven't installed from the .dmg installer in a long time, but it  
>> should probably mention this. It would be super-awesome if you  
>> would contribute to the community of volunteers who make MacPorts  
>> happen if you could submit bug reports like this last sentence to  
>> our bug tracker (and even better if you feel motivated enough to  
>> figure out how to fix the problem and submit the fix as well).
> I don't mind submitting bug reports, but I do want to know, openly  
> and honestly, how they're handled.  I am essentially retired now  
> (but found a way to do very well if I spend a few months returning  
> to programming).  I ran my own business based on my own software and  
> did well with it.  (The first time I published a program for my  
> clients was the first time I had ever written a program for others  
> to use -- in 18 months there were less than 6 bug reports!)  I use  
> FOSS and support FOSS and have even written or contributed to some  
> FOSS programs (one was IzPack, an installer in Java, and one is for  
> LinuxICE, where I wrote a controller to control an HD radio through  
> a serial port in Linux).  While there are languages I'm clueless in  
> and I'm self taught, I can deal with programming.
> But I've had bad experiences with some FOSS projects when I filed  
> bug reports.  I've gotten things like, "It's a feature, not a  
> bug" (when I could demonstrate why it was NOT a feature) and had  
> some other bad experiences when reporting bugs on FOSS programs.   
> Because of that, I've been slow to file other bug reports.  I can  
> give technical descriptions and help with bug reports and feature  
> requests, but it helps to know if a project and the people in it  
> really do want those reports and don't want to just close them out  
> in a hurry or rationalize them away.

Hal, so many words for a small issue. Decisions were made with the  
intent of serving the most people the way they expected to be served.  
There are but a handful of people trying to serve you here. Either  
contribute or not, up to you, but please just fix your PATH the way  
you like and let us move on.


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