MacPorts on Apple Silicon Macs (was: Re: info)

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at
Sat Nov 28 06:42:06 UTC 2020

On Nov 27, 2020, at 09:15, Giovanni Cantele wrote:

> is there any ongoing project for porting the whole macports staff on the new Apple silicon architecture?
> What happens to those who extensively make use of macports and have bought the recent released MacBook Pro running on the new processors?

Right now we have probably thousands ports that are broken due to three different issues, and Apple Silicon machines are affected by all three issues:

1. Xcode 12 makes implicit declaration of functions an error instead of a warning. Apple made this change in order to prevent problems that would otherwise occur on Apple Silicon machines but it will take a long time before either we or the developers of the software patch all of our ports to accommodate this change. Instructions for developers wishing to help fix these problems are here: and in my follow-up to that message.

2. macOS Big Sur is version 11, and a lot of software did not anticipate that such a version number of macOS would ever exist and fail to build as a result. All software that uses autotools and libtool and relies on the use of symbols that are undefined at build time is affected, for example, but there are limitless other ways that developers could have and did write their software so that it would only work on macOS 10.x. The libtool issue may have a simple fix that we could use: but we have not employed that yet.

3. Many ports fail to build on Apple Silicon machines for a variety of other reasons which we will need to investigate and fix as we encounter them one by one.

MacPorts volunteers are working with the developers of the affected software to fix it and fix our ports as time permits. You or anyone interested can help by reporting bugs, either to us in the case of ancient software or to the developers of the software if it is still being developed, or by fixing the problem and sending us or the developers the fix. We have tens of thousands of ports in MacPorts and it's not always clear to us which ones people use. By filing a bug report about a port or Cc'ing yourself on an existing report about a problem, you can help us identify which problems we need to focus on fixing.

I previously advised that if you want to avoid issues with MacPorts ports while we try to work this all out, don't upgrade to Big Sur yet. See I would also advise not upgrading to Xcode 12 yet on Catalina. Since Apple Silicon Macs require Big Sur and Xcode 12.2, my recommendation extends to not buying an Apple Silicon Mac yet, despite how fantastic I'm sure they will be.

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