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  1. #1
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    I currently have MacPorts installed on my Mac. I will admit that I'm not like the usual user that installs many different ports. I just install one or two.
    However reading up on it; I understand that there are many who prefer Homebrew even though MacPorts is sponsored by Apple.

    I am wonder which of the two better integrates the software / ports into the standard MacOS.
    From most that I'm reading, I believe that its Homebrew. But on the other hand, Homebrew does not have as many packages as MacPorts does. And from what I hear, it is not advisable for you to have both installed on one system.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  2. #2
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    I've been using HomeBrew and have found every package that I could want through it without any issues. Back in the day when I first started with Macs, I think I tried MacPorts but not to the extend I do now and HomeBrew seems to work fine..

    If you are happy with MacPorts and have access to the apps you need, I wouldn't think there'd be a reason for you to switch..
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  3. #3
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Which of the two better integrates with the standard MacOS?
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  4. #4
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    Both or them "integrate" fine into macOS since they are primarily purveyors of command line utilities. I use it, for example, to install NodeJS, Python 3.x, Django and related applications on my system for work/projects. None of these have a UI component to them and are used entirely on the Terminal.

    Brew builds the necessary components for the Mac and installs them in a place that doesn't mess up any existing packages provided by macOS (like Python or Ruby)..
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  5. #5
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    I know this is an old thread. Just thought that I would add in the information that I have collected over the past couple of months. Perhaps it could be useful for someone later on.

    Homebrew seems to be the more popular one at the moment. With many of the packages being relatively up-to-date. The default place that it installs packages on a user based location and can be done without using a "sudo" password. This pretty much is a huge negative among diehard Unix fans. Homebrew also uses more dependencies that comes standard with MacOS which in essence does mean that it is more integrated with the OS - or so users say. The downside is that many dependencies could be outdated ones as Apples seems to use outdated BSD stuff. But say that Apple decides not to include something in the next version or upgrade, your brew software installation will break or need to reinstalled as well.

    Macports fans will say that it was the one that was for a long time supported by Apple and probably still is. It sounds good if it is true and has some official Apple support. The ports and packages on Macports is larger in number, however it says that it it is not as up-to-date on Homebrew. Apparently Macports take a couple of days to update the package to the latest version.
    When installing a package, you have to use a "sudo" password and it installs the software in a central location. This wins favor with many Unix people. Another thing is that Macports does not depend on any of the libraries and dependencies that comes with MacOS itself. This means that it will download and install its own. The downside is that this means that you have two different versions of certain libraries and dependencies; taking up more space on your drive. The upside is that Macports packages are not affected by software updates from Apple and do not rely on any of the outdated stuff that Apple uses.

    The question on which one is better is still unanswered. Both have very valid advantages and disadvantages. Homebrew is the more popular one right now and its package number is increasing, but Macports seems to be the safer one when it comes to installations and updates. Many developers choose to have both installed. If you can't find what you need on one, you use the other.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  6. #6
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    chscag's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update and information. We appreciate your efforts on this.

  7. #7
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    In terms of package managers for MacOS, there are about 8, but most users only know about 3 - Fink, Macports & Homebrew.
    According to this link https://www.slant.co/topics/511/~bes...ckage-managers, while Homebrew is the more popular one, MacPorts gets only the #5 slot.. which makes you wonder about the ones that beat it...
    Looking through the list, I wasn't completely impressed with "Nix", "Homebrew-Cask" but "pkgsrc" did catch my eye. I recall reading about it when reading up on BSDs back in the day and I believe that it was the default package manager for NetBSD. I was surprised to see it listed and rank above MacPorts, but can't figure out why it wasn't more commonly used. Being directly linked with one of the BSDs, you would think that it would be first choice.

    Pkgsrc operates much in the same way as Macports and has around 17000+ packages.. One of the benefits, unlike any of the other well-known packages, you do not need to install Xcode or Xcode command line tools to get it up and running.
    Since I could not decide on MacPorts vs Homebrew, I'm trying out pkgsrc for the moment and I like it thus far.. Its blazing fast in installing packages.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  8. #8
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Again updating my experience with the two package managers. My experience with pkgsrc was minimal at best. I enjoyed the fact that the very same set of ports and packages were used by NetBSD and BSD based systems. However practically, it wasn't going as planned. The system I guess requires you to have a "Case-Senstive" otherwise you have issues. Other times, it would not install some of the packages that would easily install using MacPorts.
    As a result there is a reason that pkgsrc isn't as popular as MacPorts in the sense of usage.
    I still can't figure out why it gets a better "Slant" rating than MacPorts. https://www.slant.co/versus/1588/159...orts_vs_pkgsrc
    Even one of the authors that wrote an article on pkgsrc told me that I should be using Homebrew as it is where all latest packages are being focused at the moment. Of course another MacPorts developer keeps saying that Homebrew is making the same exact mistakes that MacPorts did, which caused them to change to the system that they are operating right now.

    At the moment, I'm using MacPorts... because when choosing what to come back to, I came across this article.
    https://applehelpwriter.com/2018/03/...-to-get-pwned/

    Are there any Homebrew or MacPort users who can comment on this article?
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  9. #9
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Thanks again knightjp for once again updating how things are going with these apps. Just might be the best thread on the internet discussing this!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  10. #10
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Thanks again knightjp for once again updating how things are going with these apps. Just might be the best thread on the internet discussing this!

    - Nick
    Thanks Nick.. However I'm not a developer and so I don't install as much packages as I ought to in order to test them better.
    What are the list of packages that are essential for developers? If I could get such a list, it will give me and idea how to test these apps properly...

    There isn't going to be a definitive answer. Stats and overall ratings are likely to change over time. At the moment Homebrew is winning the popularity contest. But just because it is popular, doesn't necessary mean that it is the best or the most reliable.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  11. #11
    Here is another big Thanks - from a small time developer. The only complaint I have about MacPorts and Homebrew both (unless I missed something which is quite possible) is that it would be handy to have some guide that says "For this need, get this". I have installed a orbital propagation (for spacecraft) and management application called Gpredict and just stumbled across it one day.

  12. #12
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Update on MacOS Package Management:

    Have been using Macports the whole time since my last update. I'm not a developer so my install of packages are minimal at best, but I am looking to get into programming and development. So all this research and info gathering isn't a futile exercise. Homebrew is still the dominant one and has a growing number of packages.

    Although I've been using MacPorts, Pkgsrc has been in the background of my mind. I even wrote an article about it here with a description on installation.

    Pkgsrc - The Unknown Gem

    Since writing the article, I have been trying to get a discussion going on Reddit and other places to get more information on it.
    For most developers, MacPorts will give you guys everything that you need. Looking through forum post, threads etc., Homebrew users seem to quite active in bashing other package managers and treat the below mentioned article as some kind of heresy.

    How Homebrew invites users to get pwned

    Anyways both the article and their attitude make Homebrew a pleasant proposition. Not saying that it is a bad package manager, just that it is not entirely the one that I would choose. Probably most of the developers that are on MacOS these days use it with various degrees of success.

    So back to Pkgsrc. In talking to one of the principle maintainers of Pkgsrc (Jonathan Perkin), he informed me that he was using Pkgsrc on MacOS round about the same time that MacPorts was even invented -around 2001.
    Because Pkgsrc is designed to be portable among a variety of platforms, it is maintained by number of developers regardless of whether their primary platform is NetBSD, SmartOS, MacOS, Haiku or whatever. Thus everyone benefits from work and updates done by all the platforms. So if an update comes from NetBSD, MacOS gets it too.

    According to jperkin, you can use the same packages on MacOS, Linux, SmartOS, NetBSD and not have to switch tools each time. Also fixes for one OS can often improve all the others as well.

    Now all of this is to not knock down MacPorts. If your package is a stand alone one for MacOS alone, chances are that you will only find it on MacPorts or Homebrew as it is often the case. But if you are looking for the same tools that you would find on Linux or the BSDs, then you will easily find it here in Pkgsrc.

    After the conversation with JPerkin, I will be giving Pkgsrc another try.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  13. #13
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPhillips View Post
    Here is another big Thanks - from a small time developer. The only complaint I have about MacPorts and Homebrew both (unless I missed something which is quite possible) is that it would be handy to have some guide that says "For this need, get this". I have installed a orbital propagation (for spacecraft) and management application called Gpredict and just stumbled across it one day.
    Being someone who wants to get into development, I would appreciate a list as well. At least a list of what are the must have packages that need to be installed on a system for serious development.
    If I could get a list, I could do tests on Pkgsrc to see whether it is possible to get those on MacOS and then I would be able to give Pkgsrc a definite Yay or Nay.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

  14. #14
    MacPorts and Homebrew. Which is better?
    knightjp's Avatar
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    Update:

    I really like Pkgsrc, but it again it lacked a package that I needed. I tried building it from source and it failed. The only way for me to get it was to use MacPorts. So that is where you find me now.

    MacPorts - Back to an old friend

    So far MacPorts is the one package manager that allows me to get whatever I need and is quite stable. I wish that I was a developer so that maybe I could contribute fixes or something that would benefit the Pkgsrc community.
    Perhaps I will be able to get try it again some time in the future.

    For now MacPorts does it for me and it really just works.
    Last edited by knightjp; 10-05-2019 at 01:35 PM.
    Once You've had Mac, you can't go back.... So very true.
    If necessity is the mother of invention, she obviously never met Steve Jobs..
    Julz - The Panther

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