The State of Rust in MacPorts Today

Christopher Jones jonesc at
Tue Dec 13 15:49:48 UTC 2022


In my opinion, hosting and maintaining these ‘bootstrap’ compilers outside the macports infrastructure was a poor choice, for all the reasons you mention below. I thought this at the time it was done, and even more so now.

Personally, I would suggest you think about a change to how the rust compiler is package, to mirror a bit how things are done with gcc and clang. Namely, move to a model where the version is part of the port name, e.g. the current one would be called something like rust-1.61.

The main reason for doing this, is adding a new version would that not remove the previous version, and thus you could simple use it as the bootstrap compiler. So with the above, when you add rust-1.62 that would simple configure itself to bootstrap using the macports rust-1.61 port.

Yes, this will require some work to set up. You will need to make all the various rust versions installable along side each other, so some tweaking of the install prefix would be needed. 

One thing I would do differently though to how gcc/clang do things is I would try and have a single rust port file, that implements all the versions as sub-ports. I suspect most of what each needs can then just be shared , such that what needs to be different for each sub-port is actually not that much.

Regarding how users of rust then use these ports, there are a couple options

1. Add a shim port ‘rust’ which simply installs sym-links etc. to the ‘current best version’ that mimics the current installation, i.e. in the main prefix. If done well, users should then be blind to the changes above.
2. Users that want an older rust could explicitly depend on and use a specific versioned rust-N

For me, this approach makes a lot more sense than the current way these bootstrap compilers are maintained.

cheers Chris

> On 13 Dec 2022, at 2:57 pm, Herby G <herby.gillot at> wrote:
> Hello all,
> Right now, Rust in MacPorts is severely out of date. It's about 5 versions behind the current release, which at the moment is at 1.65.0. In comparison, MacPorts Rust is currently at 1.61.0.
> As a core language underlying a lot of other ports, many of these ports cannot be updated to their latest versions because these versions require current versions of Rust. At the time of this writing, 156 ports are being built using Rust ( <> ), some quite heavily used by the community, including projects like `git-delta`, `bat` and `fd`.
> MarcusCalhoun-Lopez's PR here ( <> ) heavily rewrote the Rust port to run on older systems, and was very much celebrated and endorsed. However, as a result of this PR, the Rust port became a lot more complicated, and also introduced a new critical bootstrap compiler (referenced in the Rust portgroup here: <>), which is being hosted in MarcusCalhoun-Lopez's personal Github account ( <> ).  Marcus did try to ask about a more official location to host the bootstrap compiler in a macports-dev thread: <> , but ultimately per the  responses he decided to just host it in his personal account himself.
> Since this massive change to the Rust port at 1.60.0, it's only seen one update since then to 1.61.0 ( <> )
> David Gilman opened a PR recently attempting to update Rust to 1.64.0 ( <> ), but Gilman doesn't have access to update the bootstrap compiler, because as of right now, only MarcusCalhoun-Lopez knows how to build it, and also it's hosted in Calhoun's Github account as mentioned prior.
> We need to figure out a more sustainable approach for this bootstrap compiler, including how it can be built, and hosting it somewhere where a small set of MacPorts maintainers can build and update it so that we can get MacPorts Rust back on track.  As things are today, only MarcusCalhoun-Lopez has all the pieces required to update this port, and there's been no word from him for months now as the Rust port has fallen further and further behind. Being such a critical core language port, it may make sense to create a repo within the MacPorts Github organization where a set of maintainers can host and update the Rust bootstrap compiler.

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