New install, how should I set my macports.conf

Jim Busser jbusser at
Fri Jan 22 22:54:07 PST 2010

On 2010-01-22, at 5:05 PM, Ryan Schmidt wrote:

>> Evidently a portfile's "platform(s)" even despite absence from the portfile's "variants" clauses get treated in the MacPorts web site listing (I am not sure about the guide) as a "variant" despite that if you would specify in the port command line, you get chastised by the console as well as on-list by the non-newbies :-)
> I didn't understand the point of your paragraph.

I appreciate the diplomacy in the reply, and apologize for what (I like to hope) was just my reaction to feeling stupid... just as I think I understand something about MacPorts, it seems often I am wrong, but maybe it will not always be so.

When learners would browse:

they would see a profile "Variants" which includes "darwin_10" despite no like-named entry in a "variant" clause within the portfile but maybe I better understand it now as follows (?)

Within a portfile, and among its first several lines is a variable "platforms" (note plural) in which one or more "major" platforms like darwin, X11 are definable. I imagine these define the most basic of potential compatibilities.

Much lower down within a portfile resides a provision for "variants" (generic sense) of three kinds:

- keyword "platform" (implicit variant) -- note the singular "platform", as opposed to the required variable above -- makes possible automatic alterations and customizations subject automatically when the host platform matches a *specific* platform e.g. "darwin_10" (Snow Leopard) within the "darwin" of the required variable "platforms" irrespective of user action

- keyword "variants"  (explicit variant) whose naming while it may follow a convention may unlike "platform" lack any specific code-execution meaning. The portfile keyword "variant" serves to gather together any set of alterations and customizations that the maintainer decides to provide on a user-selectable basis

- non-explicitly-defined "universal" (implicit variant) defined by one or more among "use_configure yes" or the keywords "configure..." and/or  "use_parallel_build"

If we would here refer to the online Guide, it states:

Variants are a way for port authors to provide options for a port that may be chosen during the port install. To display the available variants, if any, use this command"
	port variants fetchmail
... so the above could be improved by saying

Variants can be specified by port authors to be platform-specific and automatic (portfile keyword "platform"), or optionally chosen during the port install (portfile keyword "variant"). Another optional install variant can be "universal" as reflected by portfile entries like "use_configure yes" or the keywords "configure...".  To display the available variants, if any, use this command
	port variants fetchmail

or retain the original while appending the clarifying bits to the "Note" that already exists in the guide.

... would anyone think this an improvement that I should put into a ticket?

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