Installing MacPorts on OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’

High Sierra Update:  If you are looking for instructions on how to manually install MacPorts onto the High Sierra GM release, check here:  Installing MacPorts on MacOS “High Sierra”

Update: MacPorts has released their official El Capitan installer. You should probably use it instead. 🙂

Update: Since people are ignoring my above comment, I have updated the below instructions to reflect the version changes reported by Chrisp in the comments.

Another year, another OS X update.  If you are like me, you’ve weaseled a copy of the OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’ Gold Master installer, and you have started checking to see how much of your software is going to break if and when you install.  Given the issues I’ve had in the past, MacPorts is the very first thing I test.  🙂

The first thing I noticed is that there is no El Capitan installer for MacPorts, and the Yosemite installer will not run on OS X 10.11.  So, we are back to compiling it ourselves.  Fortunately, this goes pretty smoothly.

The first caveat is that in addition to needing access to OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’ , you will need a copy of Xcode 7 (beta, RC, etc).  You won’t be able to compile MacPorts for El Capitan with Xcode 6 because of changes to one or more of the header files that ship with the OS X 10.11.

The second caveat is that I did a clean install of OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’, so my instructions may not adequately deal with any cruft left over by previous installs.  If you have an upgrade issue, please comment here and I’ll do my best to help you out and improve the instructions.  You may want to follow the MacPorts uninstall instructions before starting the below steps.

  1. Install OS X 10.11 ‘El Capitan’
  2. Install Xcode 7
  3. Launch Xcode:
    1. Agree to the license.
    2. Let it install the extra components it says it needs.
    3. Quit xcode.
  4. Open a terminal window:
    1. sudo bash
    2. export PATH=/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin:/usr/local/bin
    3. xcode-select --install
    4. cd Desktop
    5. mkdir macports
    6. cd macports
    7. curl -O
    8. tar xzvf MacPorts-2.3.4.tar.gz
    9. cd MacPorts-2.3.4
    10. ./configure --enable-readline
    11. make && make install
    12. echo 'export PATH=/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH' >> ~/.profile
    13. source ~/.profile
    14. port -v selfupdate

At this point, you should be ready to start reinstalling your ports!  Wee!

If you see this error at step 4-10:

checking for Apple Foundation library... no
configure: WARNING: GNUSTEP_SYSTEM_ROOT is not defined in your environment, preventing the use of GNUstep's Foundation library
configure: error: Could not find a working Foundation implementation

It means you either have not installed Xcode 7 GM, or that you are running Xcode 7 Beta.  Xcode 6 doesn’t know how to handle the changes to /System/Library/Frameworks/Foundation.framework/Headers/Foundation.h that happened with El Capitan.  The configure script is able to find the header file, but the test compile fails so it reports that the Apple Foundation library isn’t there.

If you are running Xcode Beta, you can get around this by using the following command in the shell you opened above, and then going back to step 4-10:  (Thank you SadDigger for the comment on Reddit!)

xcode-select -s /Applications/

Update 2015-09-15 11:06AM – Fixed a typo in instruction 4-3 where WordPress was converting a double-hyphen into an extended hyphen.  I have also updated it to the latest version of MacPorts, so that the final just updates the ports rather than rebuilding the whole thing. Sorry about that!

SecureCRT on OS X!!!!!!

I have been using SecureCRT on Win32 systems for around a decade. It is by far the best SSH/Terminal application I have ever used. Sadly, there is nothing on OS X quite like it.

Sure, Leopard gave us tabbed browsing under OS X; but the ability to manage groups of tabs is, to say the least, crippled. JellyfiSSH gives us a nice menu for managing connections, but it in itself is limited. It won’t open new connections as a tab on an existing window.

I wrote an article a while back about getting SecureCRT working on CrossOver Mac, but that has its limitations as well. The majority of what I regularly need to do works, but there is a fair chunk of activities that just crash out.

Apparently I missed something in the last VanDyke News You Can Use newsletter. I missed a survey for OS X users. I missed the chance to raise my voice and say “I will buy it!”

Never fear though, for it appears that VanDyke is indeed embarking on this noble project!

2. Survey Results – SecureCRT for Mac OS X

Last month we surveyed you to learn more about how you use the Mac,
and what features you would like to see in SecureCRT for the Mac

Those of you who responded were not just home and educational
users: a significant number of corporate IT users were among the
participants, with a sizable portion in larger organizations. Job
titles tended to be technical, from IT managers to developers, with
some executives for good measure.

Not surprisingly, well over half of those who responded were
current Mac users. The same proportion say they will not be
running Windows on a desktop a year from now. As for their needs,
over half wanted to see the same session management and tabbed
interface that the Windows version offers.

The most surprising result was that over half of those who
responded said there was a trend in their organization to move
away from Windows within 12 months.

The survey is now closed, but we want to get your input during
initial development. Send your requirements and comments
directly to Maureen Jett, the SecureCRT product director, at

This is FANTASTIC news! I can’t wait.


ps. Now, if only the folks at Visual SlickEdit would get off their arses and write a Carbon/Cocoa native port of SlickEdit for OS X. Yeah, yeah, yeah… there is an X11 based port for OS X. Sadly, it falls into the same trap that SecureCRT under CrossOver Mac does: Some of it works the way you expect, and some doesn’t; and that is just too annoying to deal with at times.


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