[GSoC][Binaries support] Introduction and info

Jeremy Lavergne jeremy at lavergne.gotdns.org
Thu Mar 24 11:27:54 PDT 2011

> Researching about the project, I concluded that I must understand
> the app install process on MacOS better. As I said, I'm quite new to
> mac. Does anyone knows a good reference for me to read? I would like
> to understand how the app installation process is, I mean, if
> something more elaborated than throw a bunch of files on some
> directories is needed.

MacPorts does not make use of the Mac OS Installer outside of producing its own .pkg. If you want to learn more about that please say so, but I'll assume you're interested in how MacPorts handles installation.

MacPorts achieves installation across three phases of operation: destroot/unarchive, install, activate.

The destroot location is a staging area. Files are placed here through a make command when building from source (destroot phase) or when an archive is unpacked (unarchive phase). Once the files have be placed into their appropriate locations in the destroot, MacPorts will record the structure and begin copying the files into its installation area outside of PATH (install phase). Once everything is "installed", it will hardlink them into path (activate phase).

During each phase, addition operations can be completed. A good example is texlive, which will run texhash after activating or deactivating. Each phase similarly has pre- and post- subphases.

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