I'd like to understand a bit better why the base layer does path normalisation 
in a number of places where its use isn't immediately obvious to me, like for 
instance the action_provides procedure in the port script. If that's not so 
broad of a question that it cannot be answered with a single, succinct 

I can see how it would probably be required in a sandboxing context, and I have 
no idea exactly what kind of sandboxing MacPorts does. (I do seem to recall 
whatever issues it had with e.g. a symlinked $prefix were resolved a while ago.)

To come back to action_provides: if the registry saves a port's "intended" 
paths (the ones stored in the software image tarball), why do a lookup of the 
actual/resolved path? That would make it impossible to check which port 
installs a symlink (to a file or directory installed by itself, some other 
port, or even to something in system space), regardless of whether there are 
"unexpected" symlinks in the path, no?

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