Can I get rid of binary archive files?

T. Thonhauser thonhat at
Tue Aug 30 14:08:43 PDT 2011

Dear All,

I have just switched from Fink to MacPorts for all my linux platform needs.
I have installed MacPorts 2.0.1 on a brand new iMac running the newest
version of OSX Lion. My iMac has a solid state disk and I am trying to
conserve space. As I am looking through the /opt/local tree, I find that the


holds several GB worth of data. All files in that directory (and its
subdirectories) are of the *.tbz2 type and, according to the documentation
at under section "3.4. Port Binaries", these files
are binary archives for the purpose of conveniently transferring compiled
code to other machines. I understand the appeal of having these archives,
but this is the only machine that I am working on and I would rather
conserve the space. So, I have two questions:

1) Can I simply remove everything in /opt/local/macports/software without
influencing the functionality of the ports that are installed? Does MacPorts
provide a functionality to cleanly remove the archives?

2) Or, better yet, can I tell MacPorts to not even create these archives
when installing ports? This option seems to have been possible sometime in
the past by setting "portarchivemode" to "no" in the macports.conf file
(see, e.g. But, in the
current documentation there is no hint of the variable portarchivemode,
neither in "/opt/local/etc/macports/macports.conf", "", "man port", nor through "man macports.conf".
Note that in both places "portarchivetype" is being explained. So, is there
another way of telling MacPorts not to created these archives?

I apologize if this is a stupid question, but I spent quite a while
investigating this matter---and I don't believe that I would be the only
person that minds having several GB of (apparently useless to me) archives.
Unless, I misunderstand the purpose of /opt/local/var/macports/software ...

Thanks for your help!

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