Problem with Macports, homebrew, and ghostscript

Brandon Allbery allbery.b at
Tue Feb 11 14:45:59 PST 2014

On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 4:12 PM, Art McGee <amcgee at> wrote:

> They keep their environment segregated from the rest of the system, and
> because of this, even though any MacPorts admin will strongly and
> vehemently advise against even trying it, they can work in concert with
> each other.

Mostly. What you're missing is that configure scripts are pernicious, and
even with the most careful vetting and editing they will occasionally glom
onto stuff under /sw/lib and incorporate it into a MacPorts build, leading
to bizarre problems when you upgrade Fink later. (Yes, I've seen this
happen.) Note that it can't usually happen in the other direction unless
you're in the unusual habit of building Fink stuff from source instead of
installing the prebuilt debs. (But it's also possible for stuff using
dynamically loaded libraries to slip its leash and spot libs under
/opt/local/lib, with similarly bizarre errors as the result.)

Both of these are more likely if you're also committing another cardinal
then, the former has the strong potential to break your entire system in
"interesting" ways, and the latter is only a little bit safer --- so just
don't do it except as a workaround for broken programs, and in that case
use a script wrapper around those programs rather than risking breaking
everything in order to make it happy.

brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine associates
allbery.b at                                  ballbery at
unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad
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