Reclaim was not 'safe'

Gerben Wierda gerben.wierda at
Tue May 11 07:28:00 UTC 2021

> On 11 May 2021, at 01:11, Ryan Schmidt <ryandesign at> wrote:
> On May 9, 2021, at 17:07, Gerben Wierda wrote:
>> I relied on the fact that man page/help of reclaim said it would not remove active installs. So, having read that, I assumed it was unable to damage the running setup and I assumed it would only remove everything inactive, compile stuff, etc.
>> That was a mistake I now know. Reclaim will remove active unrequested installs. But the help/man does not say so.
> I'm really sorry that it uninstalled ports that you needed; that's really not helpful.
> The port-reclaim(1) manpage and `port help reclaim` say:
> "port reclaim will find files that can be removed to reclaim disk space by uninstalling inactive ports on your system as well as unnecessary unrequested ports, and removing unneeded or unused installation files. The user is then provided interactive options for files to remove. No files are removed initially, until the user selects them from the provided list."

When I wrote “man page/help of reclaim said it would not remove active installs” I should have written “man page/help said of/about reclaim it would not remove active installs”. I did not say ‘port help reclaim’ or man port-reclaim’. I used the main ‘man port’. 

Where the flag is described ‘port help’ or 'man port' only says:

           Reclaims disk space by uninstalling inactive ports and removing unneeded installation files.

It doesn’t mention that it removes anything but inactive ports. This is what made me not care about lists being presented. Beside, tThe list was huge, most of it py38 or p5 somethings. So, I trusted that statement (which turned out to be not completely true)

My suggestion would be to adapt the main port help.

Gerben Wierda (LinkedIn <>)
R&A Enterprise Architecture <> (main site)
Book: Chess and the Art of Enterprise Architecture <>
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> So it clearly says it will uninstall unrequested ports that are no longer needed, which users are expected to have no problem with; in fact, this functionality is one of the reasons why users are expected to want to run reclaim: to reclaim disk space for things that are no longer needed. And it says it will show you the list of everything it will uninstall before it does it. So you have an opportunity to cancel before it does that. I'm not sure how much more we can do to save the user from uninstalling things they didn't mean to uninstall. Do you have a suggestion?
> Users should definitely look through the output of `port installed unrequested` and make sure that it does not contain anything you actually want. If it does, use `sudo port setrequested` to tell MacPorts which ones you actually do want, as Daniel said. Conversely, look through the output of `port installed requested` and if anything is listed that you don't actually want, use `sudo port unsetrequested` to mark it as not needed.

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