macports without XCode

Jeremy Lavergne jeremy at
Wed Nov 7 06:40:12 PST 2012

> Unless these packages are essential to using macports, and thus unavoidable, 148 packages are a trivial percentage of the packages provided by macports.  Couldn't I just avoid them altogether?

A few ideas come to mind:
gtk2/gtk3 and zlib use xcode to ensure building by at least a specific version of xcode on each OS. You can modify them to get past this, and then you can build most packages until you run into another one. This assumes you'll avoid using functionality from xcode. qt4 uses xcode to determine which compilers it needs to avoid. It's probably the most verbose example that comes close to what you're relying on: that only the compilers have problems. There have been issues beyond the compilers, so if we did rely solely on compiler versions we'd be assuming Apple will never screw up anything else in the future.

Some people will truly need xcode to compile xcode projects while others may not: users would not want differing dependencies that they must address. We'll also end up with tickets of people just reporting that a package doesn't build even though our error message indicates Xcode is needed.

Then there's the main distribution for the command line tools actually living within Xcode. Having users jump through Apple's dev site to manually download packages (is there an update notification for command line tools ONLY?) seems like even more user-end trouble.

Would other users really want to jump through so many hoops just to avoid xcode itself, versus install xcode and click install command line utilities as well?

Either way, if you set yourself to binary installs only, you likely won't need xcode as you won't be building any packages from source. Assuming the software you're installing allows binary distribution.

> I fail to see why the versioning could not be done on clang or llvm (or whatever thing is in the CLT package that could be used for this)

It might be possible to do this where it's just bugs in specific versions of compilers, but that assumes the compiler version always changes and that there's nothing else installed than just the compiler. Xcode's version provides a means to guard against all that.

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