Hanging Darwin Ports

To install unix software on my Mac my prefered tool is Darwin’s port.  Which mostly works.  But there is a problem.  For quite a while now I’ve been unable to upgrade my collection of installed software, a lot of stuff.  I think I finally figured out the problem.  Or at least I appear to have fixed it.

First off it was hanging at the moment of activating a small simple package.  I have no idea why.  But I finally gave up trying to figure it out and forced it.  That failed to, but the next time it worked.  So no idea what that was about.

More interestingly there is a serious performance bug which happens when doing an upgrade, say by doing ‘sudo port upgrade installed‘.  As a subplot of doing a mess of upgrades it may decide to uninstall something.  Uninstalling can take approximately for ever.  It looks like it’s doing some complex calculalation in a shell script (maybe a finding all the dependencies or something).  The upgrade finally finished if I let it run for a few hours.  There are a few emails in the relevant email list that suggest that the shell needs a huge amount of memory to do this calculation.  So i shutdown everything else, no idea if that actually helped or not.

This kind of thing always makes me feel stupid.  Like I should be willing to go depth first until the problem is diagnosed and resolved.  But really, I have enough trouble staying focused.

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