Migration Assistant moved MacPorts home directories

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at macports.org
Wed Mar 1 05:54:39 UTC 2017

I've just used Migration Assistant to migrate from one Sierra system to another. Since both systems are the same macOS version, I wasn't planning on following the Migration instructions in the wiki. (I was planning on rebuilding gmp, since I know it builds for a specific processor.) I ran into a problem that I haven't heard discussed before and I don't see addressed in the Migration instructions.

The problem is that the Migration Assistant explained that it would relocate users' home directories to the /Users directory -- all those users accounts that MacPorts had created for the various ports I've installed over the years. (cyrus, postgres, rabbitmq, snort, squid, etc.) And also MacPorts' own macports user account. It not only moved the home directories into /Users, it also added the standard directories (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Library, Movies, Music, Pictures) to each one, and edited the user account so that its NFSHomeDirectory attribute points to the new location.

Obviously, I didn't want Migration Assistant to do any of that. But I didn't appear to be given much choice. For each user account, there was only a checkbox, which I kept checked because I wanted the users transferred to the new machine. I did not know what would happen if I unchecked the checkboxes: Would those user accounts and their home directories not be migrated? Would the user accounts be migrated without their home directories? Would the user accounts be migrated with the home directories kept in the original locations?

It looks like MacPorts automatically recreates its home directory in the normal location, but does not update the NFSHomeDirectory attribute of the user account.

What should users do if they are in this situation? Manually move each home directory back to where it belongs, delete the standard directories, and edit the user account's NFSHomeDirectory attribute? (That's a lot of work.) Is there anything users can do during or before migration to avoid this situation?

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