Why doesn't macports install prebuild packages?

Scott Haneda talklists at newgeo.com
Thu Nov 26 21:25:34 PST 2009

On Nov 26, 2009, at 5:54 AM, Frank J. R. Hanstick wrote:

> 	One reason I chose MacPorts over Fink was that there were more  
> ports available.  That may or may not be true now because I have not  
> used Fink in a while.

I think it has always been the opposite, I could be wrong.  But the  
best that I can remember, Fink has always outnumbered MacPorts on  
volume of "packages".

10270 today in Fink, versus 6378 today in MacPorts.

My experience though, is that number is misleading, in that the large  
majority of MacPorts Portfiles work, whereas I always found the large  
majority of packages in Fink did not work, or were not what I was  
looking for.

> Unless Fink had changed, there were still a lot of ports that came  
> with assembly required.  Not all ports came as packages.

Correct.  I would not even know how you would go about making  
something like a php5 package.  Others have, the Entropy guy has done  
great work there.  Though if you spend any time on his forums, it is  
nothing but a request festival for addition of this or that module.

I suspect a lot of other software is not this way, and one universal  
binary in package format would suffice.  However, unless I am on a  
totally different page, you can make packages in MacPorts now. They  
seemed to work fine for me, on simple tests.

I was able to make an "Apple like" installer, that installed and put  
the app where it needed to go.

I find it nice in some respects to know that it builds on my system,  
and does so clean.  You do not always get that with pre-built  
software.  It appears to work, and works well for some time, and you  
run into some edge case where it breaks.  While I sit here and knock  
on wood, that largely does not happen with building it on your own, or  
with the aid of a compile manager like Mac Ports, as you must work out  
the errors or it is not usable at all.

> 	I prefer MacPorts over doing it myself because someone greatly  
> appreciated ensured that all the dependencies were taken care of  
> beforehand.  I spent many hours having to figure out what  
> dependencies were required for what ports and what version of a  
> particular dependency was required.  MacPorts is a great time saver  
> there.

Could not agree more.

> 	A feature in Fink that I liked was the notification of what  
> dependencies were being loaded before hand which gave an indication  
> of how long the installation would be.  I do not like the fact that  
> MacPorts does nothing to indicate that it is working an  
> installation.  I would prefer to have little dots or the title of  
> the current module appear in the terminal window to alleviate the  
> boredom and give a notation of progress (I do not like the repeated  
> compilation lines from a non-MacPorts installation because it eats  
> up my history space).
> 	Nothing is ever perfect and each has good and bad features.

There is `sudo port -d install portname` which will give you a lot  
more data to let you know what is going on.  I do tend to agree, some  
form of status update between a plain port install and a -d based one  
would be nice.  -d is just too much data most of the time.

You can pepper your Porfile with ui messages, but those are only going  
to show up in each phase of the Portfile as it progresses.  I believe  
this is something that has to go into the core of MacPorts, where  
there was a timer of some form, and it would keep track of every 15  
seconds or so, and say "working on.... ( last thing that was just  
asked to be done... )

Since this type of functionality is not already in MacPorts, I can  
only estimate that it is a bit of a tough one to implement.  I do know  
I have asked about interactive installations in the past, and was told  
those are not possible.  This is, to a lesser degree, similar.
Scott * If you contact me off list replace talklists@ with scott@ *

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