MacOS Gets Portage

By on July 19, 2004

MacOSX GentooI may have mentioned before that I run Gentoo Linux as the primary OS on my laptop, where I do most of my work at home. The main bonus of Gentoo is its packaging system, Portage. I’ve frequently run in to dependency hell with RPM or DEB packaging systems, since most distributions have a set of ‘approved’ software that comes with the distro, and you have to go ‘off the reservation’ for other stuff — downloading from random web sites, etc.

Not so with Gentoo. The portage tree is so huge, I’ve seldom encountered a piece of software that’s not already available. Want a digital camera tool? Just ‘emerge digikam’, and it’s downloaded, compiled, configured, and installed, all in one step. Want to get the latest version of every piece of software on your computer? ‘emerge -U world’ right before bed, and you will have a cutting-edge install in the morning. After using portage, installing software with RPM’s is like a kick in the face.

And now I read in this week’s Gentoo Newsletter that my favorite package manager works for OSX as well, thanks to Gentoo MacOS:

a 20-head-strong developer team around Pieter van den Abeele (strategic lead) and Daniel Ostrow (operational) is now ready to release an extraordinary beast into the wild: Gentoo MacOS. They deliver on a promise no other Linux distribution has been daring enough to make yet: Portage on MacOS is now fully operational, seamlessly integrated as a package manager in a non-Linux operating system.
“Right now it’s a tool to install lots of commonly requested applications on OS X”, explains Pieter van den Abeele. “But in a few months, we’ll have a port system that builds Darwin from scratch, provides a standardised lookup and installation routine for Dashboard widgets, enhancements and tools like the Desktop Manager and many, many more popular OS X applications.”

Apparently the Fink, Gentoo, and Darwinports folks are working together to create a common packaging method so that there will be lots of software in the repository, and they won’t wind up porting the mess of multiple package formats in Linux over to OS X. Sounds like it may be a little early to turn this loose on a production system, but this should become a fantastic resource for OS X software.