When comparing MacPorts vs Slate, the Slant community recommends Slate for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” Slate is ranked 21st while MacPorts is ranked 53rd. The most important reason people chose Slate is:
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 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 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 Extremely configurable
Pro Lets you set default layouts
By using a feature called "snapshots", users can set up different default window layouts in Slate that they can switch to and from on the fly.
Pro It's free
Slate is completely free to download and use, which is a great option in a field of Mac WMs that often costs money to use.
Pro Based on hotkeys
Hotkeys can be set to re-size and focus windows, as well as activate layout presets.
Pro Window hints
Slate offers window hints which are an intuitive way to change window focus.
Pro Allows for tiling
Slate allows for customizing the config file in order to emulate tiling windows.
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.
Con Requires root permissions (sudo) for installation of packages
Con Project maintainance is on pause
The developer is currently taking a pause to focus on other things as of December 2015.
Con Hard to configure
There's no graphical user interface for configuring Slate, meaning it has to be done from the command line interface or by editing a config file. This makes it somewhat difficult and time-consuming.
Con Missing features
Unable to perform all tasks of software it was meant to replace.
Can not move windows between 'Spaces' (virtual desktops).
Con Video fail
Demonstration video failed to highlight any of the advantages of the windowing system. Or at least, the advantages were so subtly intrinsic that no-one who didn't already use the system could appreciate them.