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June 12, 2009

The Top Five Categories of FreeBSD Unmaintained Ports

Filed under: Operating Systems — Tags: , , — Greg Larkin @ 7:13 pm

Greetings all,

I’m here with some more statistics about the FreeBSD ports tree and the unmaintained ports in it. Today, I calculated the top five categories with the largest number of unmaintained ports in each:

Category Unmaintained Ports Sample Ports
devel 461 ace
games 381 gnomesudoku
textproc 352 diffutils
graphics 298 Coin
audio 245 icecast

There is a huge variety of software to explore in the ports tree, and if you’re interested in maintaining one or more ports, I suggest looking for something you’ve already used in the past or a piece of software in your area of interest.  For instance, there are a number of astronomy and biology-related ports that could use some help!

Another great place to find ports that need some help, be it maintainership or submitting PRs to fix them, is the pointyhat build cluster status page:

If you’re just getting your feet wet and don’t know where to start, subscribe to the freebsd-ports mailing list or browse its archives. You’ll find a lot of questions and solutions to common problems as you learn more about the ports infrastructure.

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Keep in touch,
Greg, LLC


  1. Hi Greg,

    Now that the comment functionality is fixed, I can repeat what I wanted to write yesterday :-)

    I was wondering why you make so much effort to find out which ports are “orphaned”. I mean for some of them, there isn’t anything to maintain from a user’s perspective, because they are rock-solid and have been used as is for years. Take the diffutils. I wouldn’t want anyone to mess with the “diff” command. And I’m sure that all the developers and sysadmins out there, who use it, are happy to leave it untouched, because it just works. In fact, the GNU diffutils haven’t been touched by anyone for seven years!


    Comment by CarstenNo Gravatar — June 13, 2009 @ 4:59 am

  2. Hi Carsten,

    Thanks very much for the question. When I was putting this post together, my goal was to raise awareness of how many and how many different kinds of unmaintained ports there are. Admittedly, I could have chosen some other ports for the sample column above, but most of the ones I listed have pending upstream package updates according to the portscout page, e.g. Coin.

    The diffutils port is one of the exceptions in that, as you noted, the upstream package has not changed for years, so there’s not necessarily any reason to adopt the FreeBSD port. I included it because it’s well-known and might spark some interest in finding out what else is in the tree that does need updating.


    Comment by Greg LarkinNo Gravatar — June 15, 2009 @ 9:32 am

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