GSoC Project: Revitalizing Pallet

Ian Wadham at
Thu May 28 22:49:59 PDT 2015

Hi Kyle,

On 07/05/2015, at 8:14 AM, Kyle Sammons wrote:
> My name's Kyle Sammons and I've been accepted into this years GSoC. I was also a GSoC participant for MacPorts last year working on Project "Clean-up Stuff", which created the "port doctor" and "port reclaim" commands.

I had been hoping to hear from you. Unfortunately personal circumstances
have delayed my reply, so I hope it is mot too late.

> My project for this year is to get Pallet, the MacPorts GUI, up and running with the support for newest versions of OS X and XCode. After that, I intend to give it, and the Framework, some more modern-day-MacPorts features. No features are set in stone as of yet, but I'm considering adding doctor, reclaim, rev-upgrade, a progress bar, or possibly even the ability to edit portfiles.

A couple of years ago I set out to revitalise Pallet.  At the same time I had
a look at other MacPorts GUIs: Porticus, Guigna and PortAuthority (non-free).
I thought the Gui and functionality of Pallet could do with a lot of improvement.
It was originally a GSoC project years ago.  The mentor of that project (I think)
whipped up a special library for interfacing to MacPorts, but the details of it
were already somewhat outdated two years ago.  There was also an interface
to a notifier called Growl that was causing me difficulty.

So, rather than get embroiled in all that before starting working on Pallet itself,
I decided to avoid working on Pallet.

Instead, I started to work on a new GUI which I named Fossick.  It takes rather
a different design approach - similar to that of Guigna and PortAuthority.  Fossick
uses only Objective C, Cocoa and Unix utilities and it interfaces to MacPorts by
using only the "port" command and the portindex file.  My idea is that this is not
only easy and straightforward, but also more "future proof" than a special-purpose
library, because the "port" command does not change much over time and edits
to canned commands can easily be made if/when it does.

> Once again, none of these potential features are set in stone so if you guys would like to suggest any that would be nice to have, or have some questions/concerns about the project, feel free to shoot me an email.

Fossick was reviewed on this list about two years ago.  The reviews were
lukewarm.  I got the impression that guys here are much happier with a
command-line or a script than a GUI and cannot see a lot of point in having
a GUI for MacPorts.

In my opinion, a really good and complete GUI would liberate MacPorts from
its somewhat "geeky" image and make Open Source software accessible to a
much wider range of Apple Mac users (i.e. some of the people you see at the
Apple Store).  However, I am not sure that this is what the MacPorts and FOSS
communities would really want.  It could be a Pandora's Box for them.

Don't get me wrong.  I think the MacPorts community is great and does a great
job, especially by helping the occasional user on macports-users who asks
"How do I use a command-line?" and above all by being patient.  Some other
lists I am on are not so welcoming.

Anyway, I felt a bit discouraged about Fossick and decided to shelve it.  I still
use it occasionally, to perform search sessions on the MacPorts base.

Well, Kyle, if you are interested, I could send you the code of Fossick and a
specification/design document.  You would be welcome to re-use any of it or
any of the ideas contained in it.

> Should be a great summer.

Yes, it will.

All the best,
Ian W.
KDE Games developer, Author/maintainer of
KGoldrunner, KSudoku, KJumpingCube, Kubrick and Palapeli

More information about the macports-dev mailing list