MacPorts without root privileges: how?

Bradley Giesbrecht pixilla at
Thu Feb 10 12:58:44 PST 2011

On Feb 10, 2011, at 12:02 PM, Gf B wrote:

> On Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 3:38 PM, Ryan Schmidt  
> <ryandesign at> wrote:
> Some ports like dbus install system daemons. These daemons have  
> launchd plists that help you start them. These plists must live in / 
> Library/LaunchDaemons,
> ???
> What's wrong with just running "launchctl load [-w] /path/to/my/ 
> plist"?
> Clearly, the dbus port is not required at the machine's boot-up, not  
> even if one wants to ultimately run ports that depend on dbus.  (In  
> fact, IRC, when one installs the Emacs+x11 port using root  
> privileges, one can start using Emacs on X11 right away, without  
> having to reboot the machine or do anything that launches the dbus  
> daemon.)  This means that dbus can be started just as well when the  
> user logs in, for example, along with other programs that start  
> automatically at this time.  If this reasoning is correct, then the  
> problem here is to modify the port activation code so that it is  
> possible to make different arrangements for getting the dbus plists  
> loaded without touching /Library.
> At the very least, I would like to find out how to make the  
> installation appear successful, even when the activation step failed  
> (so that ports that depend on dbus will still be installed by  
> MacPorts).  I'll make sure that the necessary daemons are properly  
> started, etc.  (Actually, the extent of Emacs' dependence on dbus is  
> not entirely clear to me; I find it a bit hard to believe that it's  
> an absolute requirement.)
> Can someone point me to the files that I would need to hack to  
> achieve any this?

Wouldn't using the dbus +no_startupitem variant achieve what you want?
And possibly +no_root.

$ port variants dbus
dbus has the variants:
    no_root: Run the DBUS daemon as MacPorts install user.
    no_startupitem: Do not install startup files.
    test: enable tests
    universal: Build for multiple architectures

$ sudo port install dbus +no_startupitem


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