When comparing pkgsrc vs iTerm2, the Slant community recommends iTerm2 for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” iTerm2 is ranked 1st while pkgsrc is ranked 52nd. The most important reason people chose iTerm2 is:
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing `Control-;` it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
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Pro pkgin is an apt-like tools for installing binaries from pkgsrc
pkgin aims to be a tool similar to apt/yum for managing pkgsrc binaries by relying on pkg_summary for installing, removing and upgrading packages and dependencies, using a remote repo.
Pro Both binary packages and source build possible
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.
Pro Adapted for use on over a dozen different operating systems
Has been adopted to be used on several Unix-like operating systems and Windows. It's also the default package manager of DragonflyBSD and of the (now discounted) Bluewall Linux distro.
Pro Installs and works in the same way as MacPorts
Installs its own dependencies which means that it is very secure. Cannot install anything unless you use the "sudo" command which is in keeping with the Unix philosophy.
Pro Does not need Xcode command line tools or Xcode.
This means that you can install it fresh on a new installation of MacOS and have all your favorite apps installed right from the start.
Pro Offering tooling for backporting fixes
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.
Pro Easy installation if you use 3rd party scripts
I used this one and it worked brilliantly. https://github.com/cmacrae/savemacos
Pro Works easily with Ansible
Can be used from within Ansible to install packages on macOS.
Pro Autocomplete is built-in
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing
Control-; it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
Pro Extremely customizable
Other than being able to customize the various shortcuts, iTerm2 also lets you customize the colorscheme, font, transparency, etc.
Pro Complete out of the box
Unlike most terminal emulators, iTerm2 comes with a pretty complete set of features. It has built-in search, autocompletion, tabbed navigation, Growl support and even a built-in clipboard manager for various API keys and such.
Pro Fine tuning for fonts
It's possible to choose a font and adjust vertical and horizontal spacing.
Pro Can immediately open files inside a text editor
You can Ctrl+Click on a file path to open said file in a text editor.
Pro Supports mouse actions
Has support for mouse actions like clicking, dragging, selecting, etc.
Pro Active maintainers
Issues resolved fast by quality contributors.
Pro Works well with powerline fonts
Pro Split panes
Easy to split panes to either horizontal or vertical sections. Makes it easy to observe multiple console windows.
Pro Completely free and open source
iTerm2 is completely free and open source. It's released under the GPLv2 license.
Pro Any key can be mapped to any function
Using the Preferences Menu you can set up hotkeys to map virtually any action you can think of to a single key or a combination of them. This is extremely helpful as it allows you to use shortcuts to edit commands you are typing in the terminal and while most terminal emulators have shortcuts for this sort of thing, few of them let you define your own.
Pro Cmd+D to split plane vertically
Very handy to use multi-tab.
Pro Can be configured as a drop-down terminal
Can be configured to work as a drop down terminal like Quake.
Pro Works well with tmux
The great mouse and clipboard support that are built-in go really well with tmux.
Pro Supported by many applications as a terminal app selection
If an application has terminal integration, there is high probability it allows iTerm2 to be selected.
Pro You only need to type in commands once
iTerm2 can store up to 4M of history of commands you already used. This, coupled with the built-in search features makes it possible to type a command only once and then search for it through the history for subsequent uses.
Pro Cmd+Shift+I to Input all
Wanna SSH your server from multiple tabs, here you go.
Con Relatively complicated setup and installation
Installing and setting pkgsrc up is a bit more complicated than in other package managers where it often consists in running a single script.
Con Not so broadly used on MacOS as compared with MacPorts
You do not hear about Pkgsrc as openly as you hear the words "HomeBrew" or "MacPorts"
Con Can't install some packages
Even building well known packages (except MacPorts) from source using the ports can fail.
Con Not quite as fast as Alacritty or Kitty
Comparing these 3 terminals on the same machine/config, iTerm stands out as the slowest of the bunch. The difference may not be noticeable to all users.
Con Doesn't support Snow Leopard 10.6.8
Some people still use SL.