[darcs-users] Installing darcs 2.3.1 on OS X is a royal pain

Ian Hinder ian.hinder at aei.mpg.de
Sun Oct 25 13:56:29 UTC 2009

On 25 Oct 2009, at 14:16, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

> Eric Kow writes:
>> I'll note that the MacPorts seems to be a common cause of irritation
>> among Mac users needing to install darcs.  The complaint is simply  
>> that
>> compiling GHC takes forever
> This is true, but you know, if you order software from Amazon (or
> worse, through your employer's purchasing department) it will take 36
> to 72 hours to arrive.  GHC might take 8 hours to build on a
> 4-year-old 1.33GHz iBook G4 with 1.5GB of RAM ... start the build
> before you hit the sack and Darcs will be ready in the morning, and
> you don't even have to suffer because FreeCell runs slow while you're
> waiting. ;-)  Perhaps more annoying to some is the need for an
> uptodate Xcode as well as MacPorts.
> If you need to install a ton of ports to get to that point, that could
> be very painful.  Still it only needs to happen once.

Can I just add that the use of Darcs for a project can often meet a  
lot of resistance from users who have to jump through a lot of hoops  
even to get started.  CVS and SVN, and I think git as well, are easy  
to install (from binaries) on Mac OS; a handful of seconds compared to  
the 8 hours mentioned above.  Imagine that you want to get someone  
started on a new project quickly, and they suddenly find that they  
can't begin work because the VC system needs to be compiled; you've  
just lost a day of work.

One of the best features (in my opinion) of Darcs is that it is  
extremely easy to use.  Having MacPorts (or any build-from-source) as  
the recommended installation method might turn off a lot of people.   
Compared to Linux, Mac OS is a fairly unique and static target (with a  
significant userbase), with version increments only every year or so,  
which should mean that comprehensively testing binaries is not as hard  
as for Linux.

I myself have managed to get by without installing macports, finding  
fink usually sufficient for my needs (and remembering my experiences  
with Gentoo!).

Ian Hinder
ian.hinder at aei.mpg.de

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