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

Mark Hattam mark at
Thu Jun 7 18:06:44 PDT 2007

Couldn't a version check be done when a user attempts a

sudo port install <somesoftware>

and only if the MacPorts version is up to date, then the install goes 
ahead, otherwise it echoes a "please update" warning?



At 17:10 -0500 7/6/07, Ryan Schmidt wrote:
>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 
>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inform the user if it is outdated.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.
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