MacPorts Package Manager

Mon, Mar 10

In a previous post I wrote about the Fink package manager. MacPorts is another popular tool for installing and managing open source software on Mac OS X. There are a number of overlaps with the two packages, however, they are not one in the same.

The MacPorts project currently distributes 4553 ports, organized across 76 different categories (as of March 2008). An impressive list.

As far as installation, both Fink and MacPorts are available as a dmg file. I manually added the following path information in my .bash_profile file (in the home directory):

> export PATH=/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH

With everything installed, here are a few commands to get you going, beginning with a list of available ports:

> port list | more

Search for a port:

> port search vim

To get additional information about a port:

> port info vim

To install a port:

> sudo port install vim

It’s recommended to run the following command on a regular basis to keep the port list current:

> sudo port -v selfupdate

You can find a summary of how to use MacPorts here.

If you are looking for a recommendation as to which to install (Fink versus MacPorts), as the list of available software seems more comprehensive with MacPorts and their website offers an abundance of information and relevant links, I’d lean towards trying MacPorts first.


Hi there,

Thank you very much for that nice piece of information. As much as I would like to use MacPorts, I am unable to do so since I am not able to use rsync from my m/c. I guess it is due to firewall restrictions. I am behind an NTLM proxy.

Fink on the other hand provides CVS way of getting the packages and updates. Does MacPorts support CVS as well?

Or is there a way of getting around the proxy and still be able to use rsync?

Your reply will be very useful and much appreciated. Thank you. Please reply to my email id.

best regards

by Arun on Jul 27, 2008. #

Thanks! I’m coming to snow leopard from ubuntu, nice to know there are great package managers out there for mac!

by Nate on Dec 2, 2009. #