What's our audience - and how do we serve them best

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at macports.org
Mon Apr 5 23:55:53 UTC 2021

On Apr 5, 2021, at 17:16, Bjarne D Mathiesen wrote:

> As I see it, we've got several problems/issues :
> 1) what's our audience :
>   ? newbies
>   ? experienced
>   ? nerds
>   ? linux refugees
>   each of these needs different kinds of handholding
> 2) how does one use macports in daily life ?
>   we've got a section :
>       https://trac.macports.org/wiki/howto
>   that we collectively ought try to promote better & bring up-to-date
>   & yes - I'm guilty here as the sections I've authored haven't been
>   kept updated :-( In my defence, I didn't experience much ethusiasm /
>   support for my efforts, so I more-or-less gave up.
>   There was/is a lot of negative put downs :
>   - "that's not recommended"
>   - "we don't do it that way"
>   instead of saying : "that's interesting !? why does he find it
>   necessary doing it that way ?!? could we incorporate his ideas &
>   improve upon them ?!?"
>   and generally no feedback at all.
>   I've just taken a look at some of the HowTo section for setting up a
>   MAMP - and it !really! needs improvement.

"We" includes you. If you have scripts you use that automate things that aren't in MacPorts and you think it should be in MacPorts, don't expect others to notice this; you may need to be the one to contribute whatever changes to MacPorts you think are needed. Same with documentation. Everyone just works on what they're interested in.

> 3) https://ports.macports.org/
>   is almost useless. If one searches for eg php, the newest version is
>   the third last from the bottom. All the other results are useless.

I'm sorry to hear you find it useless. I find it very helpful and use it daily. It provides a canonical URL for each port that can be given to others. The page tells you about the port. It tells you whether the most recent build on each platform succeeded or failed and provides access to recent build logs.

Certainly there is room for improvement. There is an issue tracker where several improvement suggestions have already been filed. The search result issue you mentioned is filed there. Many of the issues have already been implemented in a new version of that site that has not yet been deployed.

> 4) Public Relations
>   As has been stated elsewhere, almost nobody knows about macports.
>   Everybody references brew. I've just read a book on how to work with
>   Terminal :
>       https://www.apress.com/gp/book/9781484261705
>   and the go-to package manager is brew. Some of the stuff mentioned
>   installed with brew isn't present in macports, but those are minor
>   issues.
>   A course of action ought to be, that when one of us sees brew
>   referenced as !the! way to install something, then to take contact
>   and get the site to reference macports too.

Of course. People are welcomed and encouraged to disseminate information about MacPorts wherever it is needed.

> There's also a tendency to just abandon problems and wait for upstream
> to fix them instead of finding (temporary) workarounds. Try looking for
> "php80-imagick" in the threads.

The php imagick module is not compatible with php 8 or later. It is not our job to make it so. Other than MacPorts base and supporting software, we do not develop the software. We provide software that has been developed by others and what the other developers choose to support or not is out of our control.

Anyone is welcome to contribute e.g. to the upstream php imagick project to make it php 8+ compatible. When that happens, we'll update to the new version of MacPorts.

> What I really, really, really like about macports is the option for
> editing a port file to fix an issue before upstream handles it - eg I've
> just had problems w/ youtube-dl not being the latest version, so I just
> edited the portfile.

youtube-dl *is* at the latest version; I updated it yesterday.

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