We just upgraded to Snow Leopard at work and while the OS is great I did hit a few problems. To start I realized that my install of Git was not working. Then I got farther down the path and realize that Macports was also dead. Then yet another step and I had no C compiler which meant Xcode and the Apple developer tools had gone the way of the buffalo.

After much hunting I got everything working and thought I would document the process for anyone else that is less techincal (like me) and would just like a clear explanation of the install process

Getting Xcode Working

So to start at the beginning of the trail I had to install Xcode as I needed a valid C compiler to install the rest of the items on my list. A number of tutorials suggested that I could install Xcode from the SDK as an Apple developer or from the DVD. While I am sure this worked for the tutorial authors installing Xcode from the SDK did not work for me. I still was getting errors with GCC and with not having a valid C compiler.

I may have continued to get errors because IT at work did an upgrade install of Snow Leopard instead of a clean install. I personally ALWAYS do clean installs. The time I just spent (most of a day) working on getting one piece working is probably about the same time it takes to get a system up and running from scratch. I have found that when I do clean installs of OS’s I have way less problems and they seem to run faster. Regardless of the reasons I found that I had to use the installer packaged with Snow Leopard to get Xcode installed properly with no more errors for C compilers and GCC.


With Xcode working properly I really had no trouble with Macports. I simply downloaded the Snow Leopard Installer and ran the package. Now I did make sure that ncurses was installed properly again by running:

$ sudo port -f uninstall ncurses
$ sudo port clean ncurses
$ sudo port install ncurses

Reference Link


Even after getting everything working I was still having trouble with Git. For some reason, above my head, Git was giving PATH errors on git-fast-import. I looked for a while and could find no solution that let me get past my ‘make’ and into a ‘sudo make install.’ Luckily my friend @jschoolcraft came online and pointed me to the OSX installer for Git and this tutorial that suggested the OSX installer instead of compiling from source. When I used the installer Git installed and worked with no problem.

The Round Up

So here are the basic steps I took to get Git and Macports working on my machine.

  1. Install Xcode from the Snow Leopard DVD
  2. Install Macports from the installer package
  3. Make sure ncurses is installed properly
  4. Install Git from the OSX installer

Here are is a list of the resources that I used to get this up and running. I’m sure there were way more I looked at but these are the ones that got my feet down the right path.

4 responses to “Getting Macports and Git Working on Snow Leopard 10.6”

  1. Ethan Avatar

    Thanks for posting this. It helped me out a lot.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar

      I’m glad it was helpful. I certainly wished I had the information over the entire morning I worked it out.

  2. Russell Gordon Avatar

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Was really getting frustrated trying to figure out why MacPorts ports wouldn’t compile.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar

      You’re welcome. It sure was a pain the day I spent figuring it out.