Issues with oudated ports / GitHub

Daniel J. Luke dluke at
Fri Oct 7 10:08:27 PDT 2016

On Oct 7, 2016, at 11:59 AM, Marcel Bischoff <marcel at> wrote:
>>> It pains me to say that Homebrew is running circles around MacPorts in
>>> the department of current available packages.
>> [citation needed] ;-)
> Gladly. I have written a small script to check that. Here are a few of
> the results (of some tools I work with/run on a daily basis):
> ghc
> MacPorts version: 7.8.3_4
> Homebrew version: 8.0.1

I don't see a patch attached there, but I imagine one could look at the homebrew recipe and pull out what is necessary?

> fontforge
> MacPorts version: 20120731_3
> Homebrew version: 20161001
> pandoc
> MacPorts version:
> Homebrew version: 1.17.2

both of these are nomaintainer - we'd be happy to have you maintain the ports if you're interested in keeping them updated

> mutt
> MacPorts version: 1.6.0_1
> Homebrew version: 1.7.0

% port info mutt
mutt @1.6.0_1 (mail)
Replaced by:          neomutt

Description:          This port has been replaced by neomutt.

Platforms:            darwin
License:              unknown
Maintainers:          nomaintainer at

(neomutt is @20161002)

> boost
> MacPorts version: 1.59.0_2
> Homebrew version: 1.62.0
> fdupes
> MacPorts version: 1.51
> Homebrew version: 1.6.1
> imapsync
> MacPorts version: 1.684
> Homebrew version: 1.727
> notmuch
> MacPorts version: 0.22.2
> Homebrew version: 0.23
> sqlmap
> MacPorts version: 0.9_1
> Homebrew version: 1.0.10

(I'm too lazy to look up why all of these might not be up to the current version - hopefully you've opened tickets [with patches wherever possible] on any of these you care about).

>>> If time and manpower is the problem, wouldn't it be better to move to a
>>> GitHub-based approach like Homebrew does?
>> That doesn't necessarily fix the problem. It's worth noting that there already is a plan to transition to github.
> Why is that?

moving to GitHub doesn't magically make more interested parties make quality contributions.

> Also: what do you think the problem actually is and how to
> rectify it? I'd be very interested to hear that.

I'm not convinced there's a general problem (other than the continual need to try to get more people involved in the project).

>>> This way far more people would
>>> contribute.
>> hopefully that's true, but there's no evidence to support that assertion at this time.
> Comparing the contribution rate of Homebrew to that of MacPorts, it
> certainly wouldn't hurt things.

I'm not aware of anyone who has actual numbers on this (keeping in mind that the respective user communities are different sizes).

> On the contrary. Plus, you are just
> stating the obvious: something has not been done in an exact way,
> therefore there is no evidence that this exact way yields this exact
> result. Duh.

I'll be very pleased if you're right and that moving to GitHub will bring in a large volume of (new) high-quality submissions.
Daniel J. Luke

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