MacPorts became really a pain because it does compile the packages on your machine, like the infamous gentoo and I would like something with a smaller footprint on your machine.

I know that Fink and other solutions exists but from what I remember form few years ago they are less maintained than macports.

I would like to read a more informed opinion regarding which solution would be optimal and why.

  • If (when) you decide to switch to Homebrew, there might be useful info in: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/2294/… Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 9:46
  • Note that MacPorts does not always compile on your machine now If you have a common setup it will have precompiled packages
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 26, 2015 at 11:48

3 Answers 3


Alternatives for MacPorts


  • Uses OS X binary versions when available
  • Compiles OS X optimized versions
    • Compiling usually faster than with MacPorts
  • Easy to use, e.g. to install wget: $ brew install wget
  • Tries to separate already installed software from what is installed through brew
  • … while taking advantage of already installed software and libraries (e.g. doesn't install a working version of Perl twice)
  • Installing software doesn't need root access
  • Actively developed on github


  • Uses Debian tools like dpkg and apt-get
  • Easy to use, e.g. to install wget: $ fink install wget
  • Can be used to install precompiled packages or to compile everything from the source
  • Has a separate directory tree to avoid interference with the system


  • Last version 2010-04-10


  • Has GUI
  • Nothing new on the website since 2008
  • 3
    I know these are alternatives, but I cannot produce a good comparison without usage experiences. In its current form the answer is biased, but I made it as a CW so whoever knows better, can add/correct the list. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 12:20
  • Just pick homebrew and forget about the others.
    – sorin
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 13:17
  • pkgsrc.org
    – Aruna
    Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 0:49
  • Macports does most of those points for Homebrew except using already installed aoftware
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 7:56
  • Rudix is alive and well in 2021.
    – lhf
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 10:39

Yes, you can try Homebrew. ​​

  • 7
    Can you provide more information regarding your experience, and why this should be better than MacPorts?
    – sorin
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 8:15
  • 3
    @Sorin There's some good points in tech.nopho.be/mac-software/… I switched from MacPorts to Homebrew after the first long compile (which hasn't been so much of a problem since), so I really can't provide truthful comparison, but I share all the views pointed in the blog post. There's no sudoing with brew. Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 9:51
  • Sorry, but my impression is that brew does compile each package on my machine and this is exactly what I was trying not to do.
    – sorin
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 11:26
  • 1
    @Sorin Homebrew uses binaries whenever available, hence many installs are reasonable in length. Also installing and compiling mkvtoolnix (which doesn't have OSX binaries) was noticeably faster (in human and in CPU time) with brew than with ports (this is the only comparison I can provide, and YMMV with other programs). Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 11:45
  • 2
    @Sorin: Koiyu is right on use of binaries
    – I-M-JM
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 11:46

Macports now provides compiled binaries for Snow Leopard and Lion for normal options.

  • Thanks, but I dropped using MacPorts and Fink long time ago. Both projects where not agile enough to add support for new OS X versions. Brew was able, and it keeps being this way.
    – sorin
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 9:10
  • Macports does support Mountain Lion
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 9:14
  • 1
    Sorry, I cannot update the comment: they were not able to add support IN TIME. Brew had support on the day Apple released it and I got support even while the Lion or ML was in developer preview.
    – sorin
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 9:18
  • The issue is there is that some Macports develpers read the Beta NDA and note that it says you can only discuss things on Apple Mailing lists. Releases for newer versions have been quicker
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 7:58

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