Macports is the only packaging system I have checked out on the Mac and I dont like it.(it needs all its applications installed in a particular location. Thats probably the reason why it showed Python2.5 as a dependency which needs to be installed even though I already had it.) For a person who has moved over from Ubuntu, I sorely miss apt-get. As far as Macports are concerned, there is no central repository so the source of a package is fetched from the project website, built and installed.

Now, Ubuntu has various open source projects in a deb format which can be properly installed on ubuntu machines. Whats more, there is also a central repo for all these debs.

Problems with Macports:-

  1. It installs stuff even if its already present on the machine.
  2. It always downloads, compiles and installs packages from the project website. It does not have a central repository for all packages. I guess this could result in installing packages which are not mutually compatible.

Now assuming that Mac had a really good packaging system what would be the problems we face?

  1. Servers for all the packages.
  2. All the packages would have to be regularly maintained, newer packages would have to be packaged.

However, if there were some standard way to convert deb files(I'm talking about deb files because I feel Ubuntu repositories are the best) to packages which are installable in OSX :-

  1. We could use the standard Ubuntu repositories which have packages that are regularly maintained.

  2. We have a central location for all the packages rather than downloading packages from the development website(like Macports does).

Would something like that be possible? If anyone has ideas for a better solution, do pitch in your comments. Its really sad that there is'nt a really good package manager for Macs.

closed as off topic by Sven, Dennis Williamson, Chealion, John Gardeniers, Zypher Aug 1 '10 at 17:27

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I would suggest you Homebrew.

The main point of Homebrew is that is doesn't require to install new version of tools you already have.

Here is a nice article about it.

  • Have a look into fink. IIRC it uses debpkg/apt as package management system.
  • You can't just "convert" package files into a totally different platform. Ubuntu deb files are compiled for the Linux kernel, not MacOS. Also, MacOS is more like xBSD then it is like Linux, and on BSD the ports system (which is also used by MacPorts) is the standard package system.
  • I consider the fact that MacPorts keeps all it stuff in a separate directory a feature, not a bug. This way I can add ie. newer python or perl versions without having to fear to break something elsewhere. Nevertheless, I would agree that it could be helpful in some cases to have virtual "system python" etc. packages that would be able to satisfy dependencies for programs already offered by MacOS. Again, I think fink does this.