Issues with oudated ports / GitHub

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at
Fri Oct 7 10:24:21 PDT 2016

> On Oct 7, 2016, at 12:07 PM, Marcel Bischoff <marcel at> wrote:
> On 16/10/07, Ryan Schmidt wrote:
>>> While the latter examples are just minor differences, especially
>>> things
>>> like ghc, fontforge an pandoc are either completely broken and/or
>>> severely outdated. I'm not trying to badmouth anyone or anything, just
>>> pointing to the higher (successful) update rate in Homebrew.
>>>>> 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? Also: what do you think the problem actually is and how to
>>> rectify it? I'd be very interested to hear that.
>> The problem is: somebody needs to do the correct work to update each of
>> those ports to the latest version. In many cases, tickets are already
>> filed, and you can look them up to see what the current status is; if
>> you don't find a ticket, please file a new one. In some cases, such as
>> boost, pandoc, ghc, there are serious issues preventing the update. If
>> Homebrew has solved those problems, great, maybe we can crib from them.
> Again, I was under the impression that to be a port maintainer you would
> actually need to maintain the port. In this case, checking out what
> Homebrew is doing and trying to implement it the MacPort way. As this
> does not appear to be the case, I guess when things are broken, they are
> just considered being broken.
> I don't see any concrete discussion as to why certain ports would not
> build, nor any kind of coordination between different port maintainers.
> This may very well be my fault due to selective perception on my part.
> I'm just a bit confised as to why one project can figure it out while
> another lags months or years behind in certain areas.
> I'll be sure to devote some time to help solve long-standing issues. The
> proper mailing list to discuss those issues is this one I presume?

To take boost as an example, I've explained in the ticket why I haven't updated it: it's a lot of work:

You have to test that each port that depends on boost still builds, and we've already discovered some that don't. boost is notorious for not caring about backward compatibility. For each project that failed to build, we would have to figure out why and how to fix it.

I'm one of the maintainers of boost but I don't have the time to do all that testing and fixing right now, and haven't all year, because I have been busy trying to plan and coordinate moving MacPorts and other macOS forge projects over to GitHub. The other maintainer has evidently not had time either. The port is marked openmaintainer, so any other developer is welcome to do the work; nobody has yet done so.

So therefore, the port remains at an older version, which, to my knowledge, works fine. This is better than simply upgrading the port to a newer version and breaking other ports.

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