Norbert Hartl

mostly brackets and pipes

MacPorts and Fink

There are a lot of open source utilities that can make the life of a developer easy. Using linux it is natural to install those tools via package management. Under Mac OS however there is the Apple option to download it from their App Store.

But I want to have access to this vast amount of utilities the open source operating systems are offering. Mac OS is still a Unix, right? There are two projects that mimick the common approaches to install utilities: MacPorts and Fink. Fink mimicks the debian packet management. Even the commandline tools have the same name like apt-get etc.

MacPorts is closer to the roots of MacOS being a BSD Unix. Researching the web to find the answer which one to take is useless. The tools are really en par in the web. Even if some of those guys are biased towards one of the tools they mention that they are unsecure about their decision. So I had to decide it myself. One statement helped me making my decision. Somewhere it was mentioned that MacPorts moved to a new server that is sponsored by Apple. This sounds like Apple is in favour of MacPorts (not surprisingly). But it could also mean that we can expect MacPorts to be supported better in the future which is a good point.

At least the point was good enough to make a decision for MacPorts. I’m using it quite a while now and I’m partially satisfied. As far as I know Fink provides binary packages, MacPorts does not. I really don’t like to compile every package on my own. I used gentoo a couple of years, I’m through with it. Additionally a lot of packages won’t complie. I think this is due the move to 64 bit in Snow Leopard. Now I don’t like to waste more time with erasing MacPorts and installing Fink. The outcome will be that Fink has other drawbacks.

So I stay with it and keep being a little bit unsecure about my decision ;)After all it is still a great tool that helped me a lot. So if you need some of this great utilities from the open source community don’t hesitate and install MacPorts. The installation is an installation through .dmg and afterwards invoking a couple of copy&pasted lines on the commandline.Get it at the MacPorts site