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knightjp

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 20, 2015
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Dubai
Has anyone used all 3 and which one is the best.. From my experience and by all the comments, MacPorts seems to be the most well known and the most safest in terms of security.
I don't like Homebrew because of this article I read online... https://applehelpwriter.com/2018/03/21/how-homebrew-invites-users-to-get-pwned/
It seems that Homebrew gets all the new stuff. So I'm sort of rethinking of trying it. But I do not know if I can remove all of the software if I want to later.

With Pkgsrc, there isn't much out there in terms of usage on MacOS, but it looks like it gets the vote over MacPorts on here:
https://www.slant.co/versus/1588/1591/~macports_vs_pkgsrc
If its popular, why aren't there any articles online about it?
 
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it wasnt me

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2019
204
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Late to the question, but maybe some people are still curious:

Homebrew has addressed its most obvious flaws by now, e.g. it defaults to /opt/homebrew now (on Apple Silicon) instead of cluttering /usr/local. It still has a few advantages over other package managers; namely, it supports installing from .dmg images directly. As far as I know, no other package manager does that, they all require you to keep a parallel infrastructure instead of just integrating with your native libraries.

I spent some time with MacPorts, pkgsrc and Nix (all of which run on a Mac, non-Mac package managers are irrelevant for this discussion... :)).
  • MacPorts was the first one I used. I stopped using MacPorts because of the same reasons why I don't use BSD ports anymore: I usually want to install a prebuilt software, not wait for its build process to finish. (I do build a few applications myself, but those are either mine or I'm curious for nightly builds.)
  • Nix demands to be installed into /nix, leading to quite a mess of system settings and security implications on macOS devices. It also would like to load some scripts into my shell profile, which is not quite good as I tend to use unsupported shells as my default interactive shell.
  • pkgsrc, the default package manager of NetBSD, is amazingly portable and has quite a lot of packages on macOS which are installed into a sane folder (/opt/pkg). In direct comparison to Homebrew and MacPorts, however, it is not optimized for macOS targets, so you'll basically install generic Unix-like software with it. Its prebuilt package installer pkgin is a joy to use though.
I went with pkgsrc a while ago. There are a few articles about it which also apply to pkgsrc on macOS, but I admit that it is mostly ignored by macOS users. The ownership change of the macOS infrastructure from Joyent to MNX did probably not help it either. If I had to start from scratch, I would probably go with Homebrew today.
 
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posguy99

macrumors 68020
Nov 3, 2004
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Homebrew has addressed its most obvious flaws by now, e.g. it defaults to /opt/homebrew now (on Apple Silicon) instead of cluttering /usr/local. It still has a few advantages over other package managers; namely, it supports installing from .dmg images directly. As far as I know, no other package manager does that, they all require you to keep a parallel infrastructure instead of just integrating with your native libraries.
What do you expect /usr/local to be "cluttered" with, if not locally-installed software? Homebrew's problem with that location was the arrogance that they believed they *owned* /usr/local, and could change things to suit themselves.

Homebrew installs their ARM builds in /opt/homebrew to allow for ARM and x86 to be installed in parallel.

I assume what you think you mean by "installing from .dmg images directly" is the cask infrastructure?


MacPorts was the first one I used. I stopped using MacPorts because of the same reasons why I don't use BSD ports anymore: I usually want to install a prebuilt software, not wait for its build process to finish. (I do build a few applications myself, but those are either mine or I'm curious for nightly builds.)

People keep coming up with this, and it's amusing, if inaccurate. MacPorts has distributed pre-built binaries for a long time now. Occasionally you hit one that their build server(s) don't have a binary for yet, but that's the exception, not the rile.
 
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it wasnt me

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2019
204
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the internet, mostly
What do you expect /usr/local to be "cluttered" with, if not locally-installed software?

Locally-installed software from a whole lot of different sources, all of which not taking other sources in mind, making maintenance hard and dependency tracking nearly impossible.

Homebrew installs their ARM builds in /opt/homebrew to allow for ARM and x86 to be installed in parallel.

I hope that they'll default to /opt/homebrew once macOS on x86 is considered deprecated by them.

I assume what you think you mean by "installing from .dmg images directly" is the cask infrastructure?

Yup.

Occasionally you hit one that their build server(s) don't have a binary for yet, but that's the exception, not the rile.

In 2020, when I started using pkgsrc instead, there was not a single MacPort I tried that came as a binary package on my MacBook. If this situation has improved by now, that's good to know, at least. Combined with the statement from the project website, however ...

MacPorts.org said:
The MacPorts Project is an open-source community initiative to design an easy-to-use system for compiling, installing, and upgrading either command-line, X11 or Aqua based open-source software on the Mac operating system.

..., I did not assume that binary packages even were a thing there.
 
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Corefile

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2022
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MacPorts doesn't support Ventura yet I don't believe so it pretty much rules it out for me.
 

cyb3rdud3

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2014
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brew, docker, asdf is part of my standard installs...Well supported, and just works...
 
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