Does MacPorts depend on Spotlight?

Richard L. Hamilton rlhamil at
Thu Nov 18 06:17:17 UTC 2021

Mos Applie-supplied command line tools and C programming interfaces are in man pages, the latter only if you have Xcode and/or command line developer tools installed (and those aren't on the default search path for the man command, so finding them might be non-obvious). Some command line programs are pretty much undocumented, you just have to google, typically finding where someone was complaining about them using too much CPU. :-)

Most Apple-supplied GUI tools have some built-in help. Apple programming interfaces intended to be public (not all are) that are Objective C or Swift have documentation on their developer website, along with a few other odds and ends probably.

The way man pages and the documentation on the Apple developer website are written is somewhat different. Someone familiar with one might not be so comfortable with the other, and vice versa. Man pages go all the way back to very early Unix systems which were used for typesetting, and could both recompile themselves and typeset their own documentation (pretty impressive on something far less powerful - if more general purpose - than an Apple Watch today is), including man pages but also some slightly more tutorial documentation. Documentation not part of man pages mostly (except for IBM mainframes and a few other systems that have been around for ages) has writing styles and structure that is typically much more recent. Man pages (and a lot of IBM mainframe documentation) are REFERENCE; they assume you already know more or less what does what, and just want to get the details right. They're not remotely meant to be an overview or tutorial, at least not unless you read a lot of them and try everything that doesn't look too dangerous. :-) Or read the OS source code, which is right (in terms of what actually  happens) even if the documentation isn't.

> On Nov 17, 2021, at 16:37, Dave Horsfall <dave at> wrote:
> On Wed, 17 Nov 2021, Bill Cole wrote:
>>> Where are all these obscure commands documented?
>> /usr/share/man/man1/ and /usr/share/man/man8/ mostly...
> Perhaps I should've expressed it better :-)
> I've found all sorts of obscure commands (such as "security" and the aforementioned "mdutil") mentioned on this list; now, how am I supposed to know that they existed in the first place?  I cannot find any sign of an admin guide, and this 2nd-hand MacPro did not come with media.
> It seems that I have to look at all the manfiles and wonder what they do...
>> FWIW, 'apropos spotlight' will tell you that mdutil and mddiagnose exist.
> Sure, but my query was more of a general nature.
> -- Dave

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