Awesome, a HUGE amount of tools and libraries that I’ve gotten used to having at my fingertips can be had on my Mac’s thanks to the efforts of the macports community. More details and downloads can be found on the macports website.
Installation and/or upgrading is easy and clearly explained. There are a few dependancies that could slow down the process. Xcode, which is a huge download now along with Apple’s Command Line Developer Tools. Point and click install. Chances are, if you are interested in macports, you would probably get use out Xcode anyway.
For the Xwindows optional dependancy (reductive term) I use the XQuartz open source X Org X windows system. grab the download from the XQuartz homepage. I had this already on my system as it operates the same as X.org that I’m used to from my Linux systems and allows me to run remote apps or whole desktops from the various servers I have access to. Works a treat over the internet as well and performs better then the old X11.app that came with mac os.
Some of the ports apps perform better then the equivalent native app. One of my regular tools is rsync and the macports is a later version then stock mac os version and subsequently copies faster over the network.
There are a fist full of open source ported apps available that can perform a range of tasks that do the same or better job then a paid for app on Mac, they just require some command line knowledge or a willingness to read a help file.