[Buildroot] [PATCH RFC/next 0/4] Unify configuration/makefiles for the GTK and WPE WebKit packages

Adrian Perez de Castro aperez at igalia.com
Fri Apr 26 10:04:59 UTC 2019

Hello Arnout (and everybody else),

On Sat, 13 Apr 2019 22:59:21 +0200, Arnout Vandecappelle <arnout at mind.be> wrote:
>  It took us a bit of time, but finally a few of us got together and discussed
> this series.

No problem at all :)

> On 18/02/2019 18:17, Adrian Perez de Castro wrote:
> > Hello!
> > 
> > Both the GTK and WPE WebKit ports share many dependencies (usage of GLib,
> > libsoup, GStreamer, Cairo, etc.), their supported platforms, and both
> > receive releases from the same stable branch following the same schedule:
> > major releases twice a year, around the release dates for GNOME.
> > 
> > Because of the above, it is possible to factor out commonalities from
> > the packaging for both the GTK and WPE WebKit ports. This patch set tries
> > to explore a possible way of doing it by moving both packages (plus libwpe
> > and wpebackend-fdo, which are specific to the WPE port) into a new
> > package/webkit/ subdirectory, where common parts live in a webkit.mk
> > and a Config.in file.
> > 
> > I would really like to make it easier to maintain both the webkitgtk
> > and wpewebkit packages by factoring out the commonalities, so I am looking
> > forward to read you feedback on this patch set :-)
>  We doubt that this really makes it easier to maintain these packages.
>  One of the design guidelines of Buildroot is "Explicit rather than implicit".
> Although software developers are tempted to "refactor" common bits into
> variables, this is often not making it easier to understand the code, and also
> not making it easier to change it. The refactoring of this series smells a bit
> like that: it factors out the options that happen to be the same.
>  Also, it makes these packages different from how we normally do things in
> Buildroot. Normally, we don't use subdirectories. Also normally, the .mk file is
> self-contained, so within one file (and assuming you know how the infra works),
> you have everything needed to understand how the build system will behave. After
> this series, it will become more difficult to find out e.g. why the package has
> this particular dependency or config option. When you want to change something
> in wpewebkit, you need to also open, look at and potentially modify webkit.mk.
>  Admittedly, the latter can be an advantage too: when you're editing wpewebkit,
> you're forced to consider if and how it impacts webkitgtk as well. But the same
> could be achieved by simply adding a comment in the .mk file that you should
> also look at the other package and do similar updates there.
>  To compare: we have for example mesa3d and mesa3d-headers, which are two
> separate independent packages even though they're tightly related. For those, we
> consciously chose to keep them separate to keep things explicit. In the end, not
> so much would be shared between the two packages. I think we have a similar case
> here: the common Config.in and webkit.mk files are less than 30 lines, and the
> non-shared Config.in and .mk files are much larger than that.
>  Therefore, I've marked the series as Rejected in patchwork.
>  However, it's a thin line. If you really believe that unifying these packages
> would make maintaining them significantly easier, feel free to resubmit the
> series, with a short explanation why it makes life easier. This probably means:
> how does this refactoring make it less likely that you make a mistake when
> you're updating the webkit stuff.
>  In case you would do that, I have one more suggestion: you should probably also
> factor out WEBKIT_MAJOR = 2.22. Otherwise, a common _ARCH_DEPENDS risks to
> become incorrect when one of them is bumped and the other is not.

I understand the rationale, and I am now convinced that it makes more sense 
to maintain both packages separately.

Also, trying to look at things with my “Buildroot packager” hat, it can
happen that we want to ship different versions of them at some point (e.g.
WebKitGTK 2.24.x and WPE WebKit 2.22.x) in the same Buildroot release for
$REASONS — having the packages completely separate allows for that. Moreover,
while right now I am maintaining both packages, it is not unthinkable that
different people might want to take care of each package separately, and
having two independent packages would allow for that with less friction, as
it would not need different people to coordinate.

While we (as WebKit maintainers) do not expect big differences between both
the GTK and WPE ports appearing in the future, and we also do try hard to keep
releases for both in sync, it might happen that both WebKit ports drift apart.
Having two completely separate packages in Buildroot can be seen also as a
“just in case” safeguard for the future.

From now on I will keep maintenance of both packages separate.

Thanks for the feedback!


P.S: Now I am ready to look into updating to 2.24.x, which has been out
for a while :)
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