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I noticed that MacPorts contains lots of software that are already present as part of a stock Mac OS X installation (I am running 10.6.8 Snow Leopard), such as coreutils, tar, etc.

Is there a benefit to using the MacPorts versions?

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Related to…. – lhf Nov 9 '12 at 19:24
@lhf Thanks for the helpful link! – hpy Nov 10 '12 at 0:08
Another issue: GPL 3 prohibits Apple from including some newer utilities, such as rsync. (Aside: I prefer Homebrew to MacPorts, but to each their own.) – TJ Luoma May 10 '13 at 0:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The obvious benefit is to recompile the tools with optional features that Apple chose to not enable when they compiled the tools. Also, you can get newer options / patches / bug-fixes if you don't mind the duplication and the fact that sometimes you also get new bugs with the newer code as well.

The downside is that tools like tar and zip know about Mac OS X metadata that the MacPorts versions probably do not.

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@lhf - please edit great info like that into any of my answers. Good call on things where Apple has extended the apps to "just work". – bmike Nov 9 '12 at 20:03
Thanks for the answer! I will experiment with the MacPorts versions to see what they do, then decide if I want to keep them. – hpy Nov 10 '12 at 0:08

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