Monthly Archives: March 2010

Using MacPorts behind a firewall

I failed to persuade MySQLdb to build on a Mac OS X Server 10.5.8 install using the system Python + MySQL installation. So I turned to MacPorts where I know I can get Django + all the bits working without much hassle (but with much patience).

The next problem was that MacPorts couldn’t update because rsync was blocked by the corporate access policy. Fortunately plain HTTP is permitted outbound. Here’s how to use a local ports tree.

Install MacPorts using the disk image for 10.5.

curl -O
hdiutil attach MacPorts-1.8.2-10.5-Leopard.dmg
sudo installer -pkg /Volumes/MacPorts-1.8.2/MacPorts-1.8.2.pkg -target /
hdiutil detach /Volumes/MacPorts-1.8.2

If the MacPorts install directories are not in your $PATH environment, you can add them to your .profile. This change will not take effect until you start a new terminal session.

(Updated to keep variables as-is as suggested by commenter Bruce).

cat >> ~/.profile <<\EOF

After you have installed MacPorts, create a directory for the ports tree and check it out using Subversion.

sudo mkdir -p /opt/local/var/macports/sources/
cd /opt/local/var/macports/sources/
sudo svn co .

N.B. In the last line beginning svn co ... the trailing directory separator is significant!

Now tell MacPorts to use the local checkout rather than rsync. Edit /opt/local/etc/macports/sources.conf and add a new line to the end with the path to the ports tree, then comment out the previous line that uses rsync. Here are the last lines from my configuration:

#rsync:// [default]
file:///opt/local/var/macports/sources/ [default]

Finally you must create an index for the tree (otherwise you will see messages saying “Warning: No index(es) found!”).

cd /opt/local/var/macports/sources/
sudo portindex

Now go do great things.

Confused of Wapping

Trying to get my head straight about what it means to modify a file and what it means to modify a folder for a desktop operating system. Mac OS X’s behaviour feels intuitively wrong, but turns out it is much harder than I expected to nail down exactly why it is wrong.

In general the implementation of filesystem metadata on OS X has been two steps back with respect to the old Mac OS ways. (The one step forward has been the rich metadata provided by the Finder in terms of previews, performance on folders with hundreds of files, and the exposing of file content metadata with the interface for finding files.)

I feel that Mac OS X is shifting away from the concept of files existing on a filesystem without providing a suitable alternative.