[Baypiggies] Novice Programmer Asking For Assistance
nad at acm.org
Wed Oct 24 05:56:19 CEST 2012
In article <0ED37AE7-94C3-41F2-8B4F-C23D99087FC0 at glenjarvis.com>,
Glen Jarvis <glen at glenjarvis.com> wrote:
> I've had really good luck with MacPorts (I keep it clean and updated -- a
> very good habit).
> But, what FUD does it get?
I was going to say start by looking at the home page of the project but
I see that it has apparently recently been changed. ATM, you can still
get a feel for it by googlng; the cached title line is still there.
> Also, I've never had a reason to use HomeBrew --
> what's its selling points?
Others can probably do a better job than I but I think the main
advertised advantages are that (1) Homebrew recipes are written in Ruby
and originally were more light-weight than the older and more
option-filled MacPorts port files (written in Tcl) and (2) Homebrew
recipe writers are encouraged to use OS X-supplied libraries and other
components whenever possible rather than supplying and building separate
versions of them as happens more often with MacPorts ports. This is a
major philosophical difference. Back in the early days of OS X before
Homebrew existed, this was less of an option, as fewer third-party
libraries were shipped in OS X and/or they tended to be more
out-of-date. But even on the most recent OS X releases, there are still
some libraries that do not get updated to current versions by Apple for
various reasons: openssl and ncurses come to mind. And, as Homebrew has
matured and more recipes added, it has had to resort to building more
and more stuff. For instance, I believe it was the case that Homebrew
originally relied on the Apple-supplied system Pythons but it now does
provide its own Python recipe as MacPorts does. Because MacPorts
usually tries to provide a more up-to-date and reproducible environment
by supplying more of the underlying libraries and other build
components, that has sometimes led to some ports taking a long time to
install because of all of their dependencies, in a few cases going as
far to build a whole new gcc as a dependency. There are usually good
reasons for that: for instance, if the port requires gfortran support
which is not included in the standard Apple compilers supplied with
Xcode. However, with many ports there are ways to limit the
dependencies if you really don't need all of the features of a port.
That's accomplished by looking at the port description and selecting a
different set of port variants, one of the less well-documented and
-understood features of MacPorts. Also as more and more ports become
available as pre-built binaries from the project this aspect of MacPorts
should become more of a non-issue.
> My macports are very clean and my /opt/local looks like a mini Linux file
> system. Can I use a new path for HomeBrew and use them in conjunction (i.e.
> is it relocatable)? What benefits would it give me over MacPorts?
I believe Homebrew by default installs its ports to /usr/local. The
MacPorts project specifically warns against having installed potential
duplicates in /usr/local while installing MacPorts ports. The reason is
that they know from long and bitter experience (MacPorts has been around
in one form or another for over 10 years and, btw, the project is
supported in a number of ways by Apple) that, despite their best efforts
to detect and patch the third-party configure scripts and Makefiles for
all the ports they support, many of them have hardcoded references to
/usr/local and can end up linking with unexpected versions of libraries
that may be the wrong version or built with different architectures or
OS X deployment targets.
If you are happy with MacPorts, I can think of no reason to migrate to
Homebrew. And, likewise, if you are happy with Homebrew, then by all
means stick with it. But it's not a good idea to mix them. And the
advantages of one over the other are not as one-sided as some people
seem to think.
nad at acm.org
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