I hate to be all cliché with yet another "best [something]" question, but I am genuinely interested in what you most often install with MacPorts. When you get a new Mac, which ports do you first install?

So far, I've installed wget and watch, since I find those to be very useful on Linux machines. I also installed wine and winetricks to run a Windows program or two. And earlier today I started playing with Scala, so I installed the scala28 port.

Tip: to see your installed ports, use the port installed command.

  • 10
    This should be made into community wiki rather than simply closed. Dec 22, 2010 at 13:50
  • 2
    @Phillip agreed, the question may bring interesting undiscovered stuff (as much as other ‘best’ questions). Dec 22, 2010 at 17:16
  • 1
    This kind of poll would work much better with a "one per answer" rule, though.
    – Jonik
    Feb 28, 2011 at 15:05
  • This question is being closed due to lack of maintenance. Please vote to reopen or ask on Ask Different Meta if it's not clear how this can be kept current by editing and community care.
    – bmike
    Nov 19, 2012 at 2:37
  • @bmike I don't understand - will it somehow be better maintained in a closed state, or are you "giving up" on it? (if the latter, why not just delete it then?) As a fellow mod, I would have thought community wiki would be enough.
    – Ricket
    Nov 19, 2012 at 6:51

8 Answers 8


I just compile from source, since all of the important programs build easily on Mac OS X these days. Here's a great article on the advantages of building your own stuff vs. using package managers.

Having said that, here's my quick list:

  • 4
    I couldn't find anything specific in that article about it being better than using package managers... what's the gist? :P Dec 22, 2010 at 7:57
  • 1
    @calavera that may turn into a flame-war between Gentoo LInux users trying to justify why they spend 30 hours compiling the last line of code of their entire OS and RedHat users telling them that they simply use rpm. :) Dec 22, 2010 at 17:18

This is my essential list, in the order that I install them.

  • arping
  • watch
  • wireshark
  • figlet
  • git
  • gnupg
  • ipcalc
  • lynx +ssl
  • minicom
  • mtr
  • ncftp
  • nmap
  • pstree
  • pwgen
  • p0f
  • ssldump
  • stunnel
  • tcpflow
  • unrar
  • w3m
  • wget

In no particular order:

  • git - git
  • signing-party - GnuPG key signing utils, pulls in GnuPG as well
  • ntop - A Unix tool that shows the network usage, similar to what the popular top Unix command does.
  • sslscan - sslscan queries SSL services, such as HTTPS, in order to determine the ciphers that are supported
  • watch - execute a program periodically, showing output fullscreen
  • nmap - Network port scan to see what ports are open
  • coreutils GNU coreutils. Includes gnu versions of basic unix commands, including "color ls" (gls)
  • pstree - Process tree listing
  • tcping - tcp based network connectivity checker (like ping but with TCP for when ICMP is blocked)
  • wget - non-interactive network downloader. Supports http, https and ftp
  • apg - Automated Password Generator - toolset for generating random passwords

First thing I do is update to the latest bash version... then I usually grab some updated versions of utilities:

  • grep
  • sudo
  • man
  • info (although i had to go with the fink version for this, macports is bugged)
  • gdiff

Then on to my development tools like subversion, git, vim, macvim, python3, etc. I heart MacPorts :P

  • 2
    It's now time to try out zsh too. +oh-my-zsh
    – ocodo
    Oct 13, 2011 at 4:00
  • @slomojo: that looks pretty cool, i might have to try it out Oct 16, 2011 at 20:14
  • instead of ~~oh-my-zsh~~, try prezto instead
    – evandrix
    Mar 29, 2015 at 15:32
  • bash
  • bash-completion (very important)
  • nmap
  • file
  • +1 for bash-completion. I was wanting something like that. Jul 17, 2015 at 4:26
  • wget : is command-line that allow me to retrieve any file using HTTP, HTTPS and FTP.
  • tree : displays a tree-view of my directories & files, with deep-level option.

You can participate with your MacPorts by typing :

port installed requested


The Google CL tools are cool and useful (I do a lot with Docs).


For PHP web development:

  • coreutils
  • kcachegrind
  • git
  • svn

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