Xcode 4 issues

James Berry jberry at macports.org
Thu Mar 10 17:16:15 PST 2011

Sorry for the cross-post, but as this issue has been on both the users and the dev lists, I'm posting to both.

I know that there's a lot of concern about the cost of Xcode 4, as well as of some compatibility issues. I know the portmgr team has been thinking about this, and has passed on some of the concerns to some relevant people within Apple. I thought I'd take a moment to bring up what we do know about this issue, based on various reports.

 (1) Xcode 4 is currently not free. It is available for $5 US through the Mac App Store, or available to developer who have a paid Apple Developer account (~$99).

 (2) Xcode 3 is still available, and remains free at this time.

 (3) PortMgr is requesting that wherever possible, no Xcode 4 requirements be placed into ports.

 (4) By and large, the Xcode 4 tools, if installed, should be compatible with MacPorts, though this issue hasn't been widely explored; there may be some issues with SDK versions available in the various Xcode installs.

 (5) The SDKs installed by various versions of Xcode have always been a changing target; this isn't a completely new issue.

 (6) Apple has made no public announcements, that I know of, concerning the developer tools environment in Mac OS X Lion, expected for release this year. We don't know, for instance, if Xcode 3 will continue to be free, or whether it will function on Lion, nor if there will be any other build environment (tools, SDKs, etc) available for free for Lion.

I think that's a fair list of some of the issues. If there are more, they can be added to the list. Maybe somebody can get some of this growing compilation onto the Wiki.

It's my hope and desire, and I believe that of most members of the MacPorts project, that there will continue to be no-charge development tools and SDKs available on Mac OS X into the future. A good compromise between free and not free might be for there to be free command line tools and SDK, with the Xcode GUI available for a fee. 

In summary, not much has changed as-of yet: Xcode 3 is still available and free; what the future holds is somewhat less certain. I encourage MacPorts developers and users who want to influence that future to make their wishes known to any Apple contacts you might be able to leverage.


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