The MacPorts project was originally started in 2002 by several people at Apple, including Landon Fuller, Kevin Van Vechten?, and Jordan Hubbard, under the name "DarwinPorts." The goal was to make it easier for users to install 3rd-party UNIX software on Apple's then-new Mac OS X operating system and its open-source core, Darwin; the name was chosen as a combination of "Darwin" with "Ports" -- the name of the FreeBSD package management system which inspired DarwinPorts' development and which Jordan Hubbard had years earlier been instrumental in creating.
DarwinPorts began as part of Apple's OpenDarwin effort, which was set up to provide an interface between Apple's developers and the open-source community. The DarwinPorts web site was initially located at darwinports.opendarwin.org. In 2003 the project acquired its own domain, darwinports.org; both darwinports.opendarwin.org and www.darwinports.org continued to be used interchangeably for several years.
Someone not affiliated with the project registered the domain darwinports .com in 2004 and started a competing web site there. This matter is discussed in DarwinPortsFraud.
In 2006 the OpenDarwin project as a whole was shut down, and DarwinPorts needed a new home. Apple set up Mac OS Forge to host Mac-related open-source projects, and the DarwinPorts project accepted Apple's offer to be hosted there. In addition, in part to distance itself from the aforementioned fraudulent website, and in part to better reflect the project's focus on Mac OS X, the project's name was changed to MacPorts and the web site was moved to www.macports.org. The old address www.darwinports.org continues to redirect there. The MacPorts project also owns www.macports.com and www.macports.net.