Automatic out-of-dateness checking for base and ports tree

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at
Thu Jun 7 15:10:51 PDT 2007

With some of the fundamental changes that have gone on in MacPorts  
1.4.x since the 1.4.0 release, and since we only do downloadable disk  
images for the major releases, we have this problem that a lot of  
people seem to be downloading 1.4.0 and attempting to use it before  
selfupdating and reporting a whole slew of problems to the list which  
we then have to diagnose and it's always the same suggestion to fix  
it: update MacPorts. Or, people are installing MacPorts and not  
realizing that they have to periodically inform it to update itself.  
People may be under one of two reasonable expectations: 1) software  
keeps itself up to date, or 2) software that is not updated continues  
to function. MacPorts does neither: it doesn't auto-update the base  
software, but if you update the ports tree (or do a fresh install of  
MacPorts, which pulls down a current ports tree), it may not work  
with your old version of MacPorts. And this is a problem I think we  
should solve.

Below is one such message. Steve says it might be nice if MacPorts  
would suggest updating itself if it encounters an error. I think we  
can probably do better than that, can't we? Couldn't we have MacPorts  
periodically (weekly?) check if a new version of MacPorts is  
available, and alert the user to this fact if they haven't run  
selfupdate themselves? I don't mean a cron task; I just mean, if the  
user happens to be running "port" right now and it's been a week  
since the last selfupdate, then print a message. There should be a  
file somewhere indicating the last time MacPorts checked its version,  
and this file would not exist for new installs, such that the first  
time somebody runs "port", it would check to see if it's outdated.

It wouldn't have to update itself automatically. But it should inform  
the user if it is outdated. For those who are paranoid about apps  
phoning home, there could be a way to disable this feature.

Something similar could be done for the ports tree, but for that we  
probably don't even need to check the server -- we know that ports  
get updated very frequently. We could just store the last time that a  
sync was done, and if it's been awhile (a day? a week?), alert the  
user that they should sync again.


Begin forwarded message:

> From: Steve Dekorte <steve at>
> Date: June 7, 2007 02:14:49 CDT
> To: Ryan Schmidt <ryandesign at>
> Cc: macports-users at
> Subject: Re: llvm port problem
> On 6 Jun 2007, at 06:36 pm, Ryan Schmidt wrote:
>> I tried it just now, and llvm 2.0_0 installs just fine for me on  
>> Intel Core 2 Duo with Mac OS X 10.4.9 and MacPorts 1.4.42 and  
>> Xcode 2.4.1.
>> What MacPorts version do you have? Is your ports tree up to date?  
>> Try "sudo port selfupdate" to update both.
>> Do you have the latest Xcode?
> Thanks Ryan, the port version was the problem. It might save some  
> frustration and support requests if port suggest what you did when  
> a port fails.

More information about the macports-dev mailing list