Too hard to get Dev tools [was Re: Problem with macports install, any help greatly appreciated]

Scott Haneda talklists at
Fri Jun 11 09:58:01 PDT 2010

On Jun 11, 2010, at 4:26 AM, Ryan Schmidt <ryandesign at>  

> Yes, Apple doesn't make it terribly easy to find the latest version  
> of Xcode for prior versions of Mac OS X. To get Xcode 3.1.4:
> Go to

I was in an IRC chat the other day, and the topic of package managers  
came up. Being a heavy Linux crowd, they have a multitude of options  
wheras on the Mac we have Fink and MacPorts.

I sidelined and listened. The main gripe; there is no compiler present  
by default in Mac OS X so you must give up personal data to get Dev  
Tools from Apple.

I'm not sure if this is 100% true. I know you get additional tools  
from a Dev Tools installation, but there may be a compiler in the base  
OS X install; I've never looked, I always:

     1) install OS
     2) install Dev Tools
     3) Software Update
     4) Install MacPorts.

90% or better of what's in /Developer are docs, examples, test apps,  
profile apps, debugger, tools... stuff.

What is it MacPorts needs at a bare minimum to meet it's requirement  
of "Needs Apples Developer Tools"?

How much of /Developer could one potentially omit and still build apps  
with or without MacPorts? Can I just keep all the bins and includes  
and be successful?

I'm asking because I wonder how sucessfully MacPorts built apps would  
also build with the pure OSS versions of I guess gcc and it's other  
toolchain bits.

I suspect Apple may have modified and customized this toolchain, and  
it simply wouldn't work.

Would it be possible at all to have MacPorts remove it's requirement  
for Apples Developer Tools and have MacPorts perform that  
installation? This seems a really cool way to get people up and  
running sans a ton of resistance.

I wonder how much of this is technical hurdles versus legal licence  
agreements hurdles attached to the download from Apple.

I personally don't find it a huge burden to register and download / 
Developer. I even find the software quite nice, and one heck of a  
solid development toolkit. Everything you need to build something of  
the scope of PhotoShop, iMovie, iTunes, whatever you imagine.

I'll go out on a limb, prepared for the bashing... I am yet to see  
anything on Windows or Linux or other *Nix's that has the polish of X- 
Code. Add to that it spits out UB's, mobile, desktop, cli, etc, and  
it's a very polished kit, not to be overshadowed by the technical  
power ouside "teh pretty". And free of cost with the exception of  
registration cost.

The other side of the coin is Apple could easily install /Developer on  
all machines. Yet in the same way some distros are specific to being  
lean, Apple is choosing to omit software 99% of users won't need, and  
will add potential confusion.

If /Developer were installed on all Macs, the visibility bit was set  
to none on the directory, and 'chmod -x /Developer', users would not  
even know. A set of very simple commands could +x and setfile; poof,  
dev tools installed, MacPorts could be the initiator of this. A  
checkbox in the Software Update Preference Pane coukd even toghle  
those two settings  Pipe dreaming I know.

Is it completely against the rules to direct link to the dev tools  
installer and have MacPorts perform this install? Maybe Apple has the  
download locked inside the walled login/pass garden.

I was just wondering, if there is any way to have MacPorts be fully  
self contained. The ability to decide you want MAMP, download a tiny  
installer, run 'sudo port install mamp-stuff', and be done. This could  
be very powerful for good word of mouth of a great experience.

On Linux they were stating in IRC:
     sudo apt-get whatever

On Mac: ( how I do it at least )
     Reg/login with
     Download Developer Tools
     Software Update
     Install MacPorts
     Update MacPorts
     sudo port install whatever

It would be really cool to have parity on those two cases.

This question is one of pure curiosity with regards to specifically  
what's in /Developer.  With so much of it being based on OSS, that to  
me implies there has to be ways to get it all, and bypass registration.

I'm not at all asking that this idea be persued, but it's something  
I've wanted to understand for a while.

P.S. Why doesn't a new first time install of MacPorts perform  
'selfupdate' for the user? Or does it and I'm not aware of this  
already happening?

Thanks porters.

Scott * If you contact me off list replace talklists@ with scott@ *  
(Sent from a mobile device) 
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