Does MacPorts depend on Spotlight?

André-John Mas andrejohn.mas at
Wed Nov 17 19:26:32 UTC 2021

A bit more digging gives me this following stackexchange question: <>

On 12.0.1 I do confirm that the folder exclusions indicated in the System Preferences are there: /System/Volumes/Data/.Spotlight-V100/VolumeConfiguration.plist

On the other hand `sudo mdutil -P /` returns a different file, while `sudo mdutil -P /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD` returns nothing.

Additionally, `sudo mdutil -L /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD` returns `Spotlight directory not found at root: /Volumes/Macintosh HD`, while `sudo mdutil -L /` returns:

drwx------   2     0     0         64 Aug 25 2021 16:27 Store-V2
-rw-------   1     0     0       4316 Aug 25 2021 16:28 VolumeConfiguration.plist


That's as good as I have for now.

> On 17 Nov, 2021, at 14:16, André-John Mas <andrejohn.mas at> wrote:
> When looking at "System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy", you can configure exclusions by folder.
> I had a look at the mdutil command and no reference to folders or paths is mentioned, when looking from macOS 12.0.1:
> Usage: mdutil -pEsa -i (on|off) -d volume ...
>        mdutil -t {volume-path | deviceid} fileid
> 	Utility to manage Spotlight indexes.
> 	-i (on|off)    Turn indexing on or off.
> 	-d             Disable Spotlight activity for volume (re-enable using -i on).
> 	-E             Erase and rebuild index.
> 	-s             Print indexing status.
> 	-a             Apply command to all stores on all volumes.
> 	-t             Resolve files from file id with an optional volume path or device id.
> 	-p             Publish metadata.
> 	-V vol         Apply command to all stores on the specified volume.
> 	-v             Display verbose information.
> 	-r plugins     Ask the server to reimport files for UTIs claimed by the listed plugin.
> 	-L volume-path List the directory contents of the Spotlight index on the specified volume.
> 	-P volume-path Dump the VolumeConfig.plist for the specified volume.
> 	-X volume-path Remove the Spotlight index directory on the specified volume.  Does not disable indexing.
> 	               Spotlight will reevaluate volume when it is unmounted and remounted, the
> 	               machine is rebooted, or an explicit index command such as 'mdutil -i' or 'mdutil -E' is
> 	               run for the volume.
> NOTE: Run as owner for network homes, otherwise run as root.
> I am starting to wonder if there is another command we should be using, in place of mdutil?
>> On 17 Nov, 2021, at 13:31, Peter Hancock <hancock at <mailto:hancock at>> wrote:
>> On 17/11/2021 15:46, Chris Jones wrote:
>>> Some users might find it useful, and the exact volume to exclude
>>> depends on the details of the users installation, which would be
>>> difficult to automate. So I think its fine to just leave it to be
>>> done by hand by those that wish to.
>>> On 17/11/2021 3:09 pm, André-John Mas wrote:
>>>> Just wondering whether it would make sense for MacPorts to auto
>>>> exclude that folder? Does spotlight even provide an API or command
>>>> that would allow MacPorts to do that?>>
>> André-John Mas mentions folders (directories?), while Chris Jones mentions volumes
>> (mounted filesystems?).
>> On Catalina, for me the command "sudo mdutil -i off /opt/local/var/macports "
>> evokes:
>> [
>> Password:
>> /System/Volumes/Data/opt/local/var/macports:
>> Error: invalid operation.
>> 	Error: unknown indexing state.
>> ]
>> Trying to drag that directory into the appropriate System Preferences "privacy" pane,
>> accomplishes nothing. It doesn't appear on the list.
>> My man page for mdutil seems to speak only about volumes. A bit of googling suggests
>> that though there *may* have been a time when you could exclude various directories
>> from spotlight indexing, by one trick or another, those days are gone.
>> Am I wrong?
>> I hope so. I'm getting pretty dyspeptic about how much of my computer seems to be
>> taken over by Spotlight and it's various underlings/minions.
>> (Eg, It/they seem(s) to spend a large chunk of resources on creating tens/hundreds of thousands
>> of empty directories deep under /private/var/folders, to no apparent purpose.)

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