macports rot

Mark Anderson emer at
Thu Dec 6 01:43:55 UTC 2018

Yeah Rainer, I was surprised that that thread went nowhere. I’m ok with not
being ready to be on boarded or needing to learn more, but it’s still been
radio silence.

The thing is I still am a much bigger fan of this project and community
than Homebrew. I’ve been thinking of an idea to compete with Cask. I’m
trying to take over things that are no maintainer that I want to use. I’ve
been on MacPorts since 10.3 and I don’t want it to die or languish. But I’m
not sure exactly what to do. I’m certainly only going to homebrew kicking
and screaming. I remember those early nasty advertisements focused on this

I really want to get more involved, help with tooling, maybe get a Swift
MacPorts.framework working. But I have no idea how. If anyone has ideas I’m
looking to dive in and I’m on Eastern Time. I’ve asked for commit access
and bumped portmgr a few times, but other than that I don’t know exactly
how to help.


> Your observation might be right, but maybe this just becomes more
> visible now on GitHub. Just take a look at the number of open tickets on
> Trac. There are also many tickets with proposed ports or fixes. However,
> if the submitter does not have enough interest to follow through, the
> ticket will just hang there.
> I feel like many "oldschool" developers already left the platform,
> because more and more functionality is put behind some wall that only
> Apple can penetrate. Gatekeeper, signed Kernel Extension, and SIP impose
> limits on what you can do with macOS, while non-Apple developers do not
> even get proper logging when APIs become forbidden and blocked.
> I guess that users coming to macOS now are used to graphical interfaces
> and do not have a strong background in using the command line. I am sure
> many are more happy with Homebrew, where they do not even have to use
> sudo! ;-)
> Somehow the Homebrew community managed to get their ubiquitous marketing
> on almost every software project website. Compare this with the MacPorts
> website, which has not seen any redesign in more than 10 years...
> Although a good package management system should not need to advertise
> itself, as every software would be available without users being told
> where to look – the package manager should be their first choice.
> > So where is Macports headed? I think the core architecture and systems
> > of Macports are well built. It just needs a little more attention. How
> > can we achieve that? Has Homewbrew simply siphoned off too much user and
> > developer base? I don't know.
> I would also like to point out that there was also no discussion on the
> recent thread that we have a problem with the process to on-board new
> project members... That is one of the most important things that needs
> to be solved as it affects the whole community.
> Similarly on the recently failed online meeting and especially the topic
> of joining the Software Freedom Conservancy or more general to form any
> kind of legal entity.
> The project definitely needs more steering. But to be fair and
> transparent on this, I am personally not able to provide this at the
> moment.
> Rainer
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