Issues with oudated ports / GitHub

Marcel Bischoff marcel at
Thu Oct 6 10:12:49 PDT 2016

Hi all,

I was advised that I should ask my questions and raise my issues here.

I'm currently considering dropping the use of MacPorts altogether as
this projects' track record regarding critical updates of major software
tools is rather underwhelming. Furthermore, I'm asking myself what use
it is to have appointed port maintainers when numerous updates are not
included in a timely manner.

Just today I commented on a ticket that is six weeks old, about an
update to nodejs4. Version 4.5.0 was released on 16-Aug-2016, version
4.6.0 on 27-Sep-2016. Version 4 is considered the stable LTS variant,
only fixing security issues without introducing new features. This makes
timely updates all the more important. If installing software by hand
results in more current and more secure software for my development
machine, I don't get the point of using MacPorts in the first place.

It pains me to say that Homebrew is running circles around MacPorts in
the department of current available packages.

If time and manpower is the problem, wouldn't it be better to move to a
GitHub-based approach like Homebrew does? This way far more people would
contribute. It would lower the bar to contributing significantly. I like
MacPorts' clean implementation far more than Homebrews'. But if I still
cannot install (for example) pandoc because ghc still requires llwm-3.5
which does not compile on Sierra: what choice do I have? I need to get
stuff done, not tinker with the infrastructure of my working environment
for hours on end, just to get it to work. A package manager's sole
reason for being is to make the routine task of installing software and
updates easier, more reliable and trustworthy.

The way it is now, I repeatedly find myself in need to modify the
Portfiles manually, test, check, test again and so on. Or I simply run
`brew install pandoc` and — be done. Plus, doing all that manual diffing
where just a minor mistake will frustrate me and requires me to attach a
completely new diff file quite honestly keeps me from contributing
regularly. In 2016 this feels like pulling teeth, not satisfaction or a
sense of accomplishment that should accompany working together on free

I'd really like to hear from several sides about the why's and how's
regarding MacPorts' current state and what the plan is for the
forseeable future. I was told that there is a current discussion
underway about a possible move to GitHub. I would throw whatever weight
I have behind that move. If you need another helping hand for clearly
defined work, let me know. I'll be more than happy to involve myself.

My best,

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