MacPorts, formerly called DarwinPorts, is a package management system that simplifies the installation of software on the Mac OS X and Darwin operating systems. It is an open source software project to simplify installation of other open source software. Similar in aim and function to Fink and the BSDs' ports collections, DarwinPorts was started in 2002 as part of the OpenDarwin project, with the involvement of a number of Apple Inc. employees including Landon Fuller, Kevin Van Vechten, and Jordan Hubbard.
It allows the installation of a number of packages by entering the command sudo port install ''packagename'' in the Terminal, which will then download, compile if necessary, and install the requested software, while also installing any required dependencies automatically. Installed packages can be updated with the command sudo port upgrade installed.
On April 28, 2005, the project released version 1.0 of their software. In December 2005, the project reached a milestone, passing 3000 ports. In August 2010, MacPorts version 1.9.1 surpassed 7000 ports. , MacPorts version 2.1.3 has over 16,500 ports.
MacPorts is currently hosted on Mac OS Forge, an open source hosting service created and maintained by Apple Inc. for third-party projects not supported by Apple. Best-effort support can be sourced from the community.
MacPorts supports universal binaries for both PowerPC and Intel-based versions of Mac OS X, but migrating from a PowerPC installation of MacPorts to a version on an Intel Mac requires reinstalling all installed ports.
The official MacPorts GUI application is called Pallet and began as a Google Summer of Code project in 2009. Another MacPorts GUI application is Porticus which, as of late 2011, does not support Mac OS X Lion or MacPorts versions 2.0 and later.