Getting Gramps to install on OS X (Tiger)

I have a new toy! A shiny new iBook. So I thought I would try to get gramps installed.

I chose to use the DarwinPorts route to get the required dependencies installed. It was not entirely plain sailing but I do now have a working gramps-2.0.8 on my iBook.

I thought about writing up a detailed howto covering how to overcome the small list of problems that I had but instead I decided to report the problems to the darwinports people and to submit a port for gramps for inclusion in darwinports.

So if you want to run gramps on OSX and don’t mind installing X11/gnome etc. then hang on a bit for the gramps port to be included and it should be a simple matter of typing: sudo port install gramps (and waiting a long time for everything to build).

If you can’t wait and sort of know what you are doing then this is the quick howto:

  • make sure you have the X11 package installed from the OS X install CD
  • install the Darwinports application
  • grab the update to the py-gnome port from the darwinports bugzilla, search for py-gnome and look for the 2.11.3 update.
  • grab the gramps port from darwinports bugzilla, search for gramps
  • try sudo port install gramps, you may need to run this inside an xterm (start the X11 server) because part of the gramps dependency check needs a running X server to work.

You will find some problems with some of the dependant ports not installing because they do not correctly specify their own dependencies. You just have to work through each problem and manually install the missing packages then restart the gramps install.

I also had a small problem with missing fonts when I came to start gramps, search the darwinports bugzilla for fontconfig to find the paths you need to add to /opt/local/etc/fonts/fonts.conf to correct it.

One thing that might confuse is that gramps needs the version of python that darwinports installs in /opt/local/bin/python not the one that comes will OS X in /usr/bin/python. Make sure that your path has correct one in first.

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  • ctucker10

    I am new to Darwinports. I have used GRAMPS on Linux for about a year.

    My confusion with the instructions above have to do with grabbing the (updated) py-gnome and gramps ports from the Darwinports Bugzilla.

    I found Bugzilla Bug 5095 (UPDATE: py-gnome-2.11.3). There is a tarball of patch files and, a “portfile diff for py-gnome 2.0 to 2.11.3”. Where do I install the patch files within the Darwinports file system at /opt/local? What about the portfile diff for py-gnome2.11.3?

    I also found Bugzilla Bug 5094 (NEW: py-gramps2.0.8). Again, I don’t know where to install this component within the file system.

    Any help you can provide is apprecialted.

  • hippy

    The port files live in the catchy named directory: /opt/local/var/db/dports/sources/rsync.rsync.opendarwin.org_dpupdate_dports/python

    You will need to find the py-gnome directory and apply the diff to the Portfile using the ‘patch’ command. Then remove the contents of the ‘files’ directory and replace it with the contents of the patch files tarball. Oh yes, make a backup copy of the py-gnome directory before you start 🙂

    The py-gramps tarball can just be unpacked into the above directory. Or you can follow the instructions on setting up your own local ports directory (

    Best of luck.


  • randwolf

    Any reason the portfile couldn’t be stored as a download on the project site?

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