MacPorts manual, or info on MacPorts development

Brian Campbell lambda at
Tue Jun 26 18:55:43 PDT 2007

Is there any semblance of an up-to-date MacPorts manual? If not,  
where should someone new go to find out how to create or update a  

Specifically, I would like to upgrade a package to the latest  
version, which is not yet in the latest official Portfile. I tried  
copying the portfile out into a new working directory, and running  
"port -dv checksum" (trying to vaguely follow along with the old  
DarwinPorts manual, from the Wayback Machine), but I get a permission  
error as it's trying to create a directory in the /opt/local  
hierarchy. I'd rather not run commands with root permissions while  
I'm still experimenting with an undocumented system, so I'm wondering  
how I can tell port to just do everything in the current directory  
(or some other given directory), rather than /opt/local.

I then tried creating ~/.portsrc and ~/.macports/ports.conf (as port 
(1) and ports.conf(5) disagree on where the configuration file should  
go), containing settings for both prefix and portdbpath, but neither  
of these actually affected where port was trying to work; it kept  
trying to create a directory in /opt/local/var/db/dports.

So, is there any way to actually build a port without doing it in  
the /opt/local hierarchy? Or is there any documentation, or anywhere  
I can find out about what the expected way to develop under MacPorts is?

$ port version
Version: 1.442


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