Publicizing MacPorts

Gregory Anders greg at
Mon Apr 19 18:48:50 UTC 2021

On Mon, 19 Apr 2021 13:25 -0400, Craig Treleaven wrote:
>People don’t install MacPorts or Homebrew just to have a package 
>manager—they install a package manager as a prerequisite to get 
>software that they want.  So getting popular software packages to 
>mention that MacPorts can install that software is very important.
>Also, why should we consider that MacPorts is in competition with 
>Homebrew?  Both MacPorts and Homebrew seem to have a sufficient number 
>of contributors to keep going for the foreseeable future.  Nether 
>packaging system has to “win” nor does the other have to "lose”.  The 
>projects do have differing philosophies that may make one more suitable 
>than the other for particular users.  For example, Homebrew only aims 
>to support recent hardware and up-to-date operating system versions 
>even if users are sometimes left behind.  MacPorts makes far greater 
>efforts to ensure packages work on older hardware and OS versions.  We 
>might do a better job of explaining how MacPorts differs so that users 
>can make an informed choice.
>My $0.02 (and Canada doesn’t even have pennies anymore!).

I echo this sentiment 100% and I'm glad you said this. My first thought 
reading through this thread was, "Who cares how popular MacPorts is 
compared to Homebrew?" So long as its users and contributors and 
maintainers are happy, and so long as there are enough people around to 
do the routine maintenance of adding/updating ports (and approving and 
merging those changes) and fixing bugs, then I don't think it's 
important to concern ourselves with how popular MacPorts is or is not.  
And right now it seems that we certainly have enough users, 
contributors, and maintainers to keep MacPorts healthy and humming 

I don't think new users are a *bad* thing, but it's important to keep in 
mind that popularity brings with it downsides too. I think this is a 
classic case of "be careful what you wish for".

Enumerating the ways in which MacPorts differs from Homebrew would 
certainly be useful and I think is a good idea, but I think the value in 
this comes simply from addressing any misinformation or out-of-date 
ideas about MacPorts rather than a dedicated PR campaign.


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