What is the best alternative to Nix package manager?
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Fast software installation is possible by using binary packages. It's also easy to build from source which allows for different compile-time options (like different UI backends) as well as gaining access to pre-release versions of software in certain cases. See More
Backporting fixes can be done by cherry-picking updates from a newer branch (pkgsrc is released every 3 months) and creating a package. Sometimes bugs need to be fixed for production and there is neither a fix in newer pkgsrc nor the softwares upstream. So pkgsrc has tools like pkgdiff, mkpatches, etc. that help with developing patches and building binary packages from that. A bit of documentation about that process can be found here. See More
There are warnings provided that apps found in brew should not be installed with brew cask (and vice versa). While the user is warned of this, mistakes can happen, which would be better to just see them avoided all together by not supplying duplicate apps. See More
One of the things to like about Homebrew is that it refuses to run things under sudo most of the time. This is a great policy, but it causes issues when you want to create symlinks or install in places that SIP has changed permissions on. (Alternatively, you could install Homebrew somewhere other than /usr/local, but that might break various packages that depend on having stuff in and relative to /usr/local/.) See More
May cause issues when trying to create symlinks or installing in places where SIP has changed permissions
Macports seems to be able to get into a bad state where new packages are unable to be installed, or installed software was unable to be updated. This simply hasn't happened with Homebrew. In addition to not having to deal with corruption problems, Homebrew installs packages in userland. Not requiring root to install software is a big win. See More
While the functional approach that Nix takes is great for sandboxing binary artifacts of packages, it seriously lacks any power in handling configuration files or user data. It's difficult to upgrade and downgrade files where semantics and syntax can change between versions. Especially in Debian/Ubuntu it can cause severe problems where the upgrade process blocks and the user needs to resolve the 3-way merge. See More
When using Nix with anything other than NixOS you can run into difficulties with trying to start up services. For example, you can install docker with Nix, but it won't integrate with the host system's systemd leaving you to handcraft awkward workarounds in order to start the background service that docker requires. This seems like a critical flaw when using Nix on anything that is not NixOS, and it's unfortunate because this affects many of the packages many users would be most interested in using Nix to handle. See More
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. See More