Looking for a clue... where do I start if I want to contribute a patch to a broken port?

Bradley Giesbrecht pixilla at macports.org
Fri Sep 13 08:10:55 PDT 2013

On Sep 13, 2013, at 7:05 AM, Patrick Doyle wrote:

> I feel like I should have the proper skills to contribute a patch for a broken port, but I am lacking even the first clue as to where to start.
> I just tried installing the gcl (GNU Common Lisp) port and it failed.  Following the instructions on the wiki, I have filed ticket #40468.
> Suppose I wanted to contribute a patch to fix this problem myself.  Where would I start?  Illustrating the amount of my cluelessness:
> 1) Where would I learn how MacPorts builds packages from a portfile?

You might start here:

The man pages can be helpful:
man port macports.conf portfile portgroup portstyle porthier

> 2) Do I edit patches & the portfile in place on my /opt filesystem, or can I build a port from within my own source tree?

Either will work. If you work in /opt consider switching from rsync to svn to preserve your work:
See item 3 in above link.

> 3) If you found that a particular port didn't build, what would you do first?

# Start clean for complete log
port clean <port name>
port build <port name>
port log <port name>

> 4) If you found that the port didn't build because of some (possibly obscure) autoconf problem, what would you do?

Develop a patch of the Portfile and/or sources, open a trac ticket and attach the patch.

> Perhaps the first place I could start would be to write up a wiki page describing how to fix broken ports.  Would that be of use?

Yes, or if one exists possibly improve it.

Thank you for your interest in contributing.

Bradley Giesbrecht (pixilla)

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