I wanted to do something pretty straightforward, theoretically. I wanted to install VLC from source on MacOS X. I use the MacPorts system for this. It’s really similar to the FreeBSD ports system. What a nightmare.
Apparently you need everything under the sun just to install VLC. And everything under the sun needs everything in the stars and the moon, too. Long before I was compiling VLC, I had to compile perl 5.12. Nevermind that Mac OS X has perl 5.10 installed. And you know, there is probably nothing related to VLC that hinges on the difference between 5.10 and 5.12. So, a few minutes of compiling later, and I’ve got perl 5.12. Fine.
So on and on it fetches and compiles. No less than 2 packages later, it decides it needs to install perl 5.8! The system had 5.10, now it has 5.8 and 5.12 in the ports system. Surely all that was superfluous. In fact, the installation broke because 5.8 wanted to install itself and it couldn’t because it found someone already sleeping in that bed. Sigh.
As I fumed over this and fixed it and let it go on, I found a blog post by Michael Weber about how Mac Ports are fatally flawed. I’m reading it thinking “yeah!” and “that’s so true!” and then I get to the part where he says “It’s 2007 for another couple of days”” and you could hear the classic needle scratching across vinyl. 2007? Holy crap, every point he makes is totally accurate. Every point is right on. Wow. 4 years on and it still sucks.