An open-source community system for compiling, installing, and upgrading command-line, X11 or Aqua based open-source software on OS X.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Provides a consistent experience across OS X versions
MacPorts eschews Apple-supplied libraries and links sources against its own making sure that the experience is the same regardless of what OS X version is used.
Pro Generally very up to date
MacPorts generally gets new software soon after it's available. This way users will not have to worry if their software is up to date.
Pro Nice variants system
MacPorts has a variants system that allows customizing builds with author provided options.
Written in Tcl & C, it's generally significantly faster than the competition. Tcl is also quite readable and comparable to Ruby, so it's also friendly to newcomers.
Pro Has many more packages than its competitors
As of this writing, 20K packages. 3 to 5x more than other current package managers.
Pro Easy to use
Detailed instructions on the homepage are easy to follow. Official GUI app is also available
Pro MacPorts is a native application: C + TCL
No need to install Ruby, or any other programming language.
Pro Requires SUDO to install apps
No need to worry if some rogue app will change your binaries or configuration.
Pro Great support for older systems
Pro Download libraries instead of relying on Apple's caprices
Considering just how often Apple breaks things, any reduplication of of Apple-supplied libraries with the canonical sources is an asset.
Pro Apple Silicon Ready
With Apple moving over to its own silicon, macports has been ready for the move to ARM since 2.6.4
Pro Most of the available packages work
For example, trying to install Finch using Pkgsrc doesn't work, while installing it using MacPorts works perfectly. Finch isn't even on Homebrew's radar.
Pro Initially started and developed by Apple employees and supported by Apple itself
Reading the story behind MacPorts, it is the only one that was developed by Apple by an Apple employee. In fact it is the same person that was responsible for creating the FreeBSD port system.
Pro More packages than competition
Con New Packages and Updates take time
Macports isn't the first choice for developers producing new packages or binaries for macOS. Nor is it the fastest in getting updates. But in general, it usually is one of the most up to date and will be updated eventually. Some would see this as a con in comparison to Homebrew.
Con Requires root permissions (sudo) for installation of packages
A really good security feature, but some see it as a con.
Con Bad at limiting dependencies
MacPorts has a habit of pulling very specific versions of dependencies for each package. It downloads different version of already existing dependencies even in cases where the existing dependency version would have worked seamlessly.
Con Downloads unneeded libraries duplicating functionality already provided by Apple's libraries
As MacPorts eschews Apple-supplied libraries and links sources against its own a large duplication of functionality across MacPorts and Apple libraries can be found.