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Installing Fink on Mac OS X
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Installing Packages from Source

If you want to install packages from source, you need Apple's XCode Tools. You can find them on the developer site of Apple. (You have to register on ADC for the Apple Developer Connection Online Program.) After installing Xcode Tools, you'll have GNU development tools like the compiler gcc available on your system. Now you can install Fink packages from source.

If you also want to install X11 programs with Fink from source, you have to install the X11 Software Development Kit. On Tiger, this is installed by default when you install the Xcode Tools. On Panther, however, it isn't installed by default. You can find the package X11SDK.pkg on the Panther Xcode CD. You have to choose a custom install in the Xcode installer and select the X11 SDK, or install it by double-clicking the package in the Finder.

If you have Xcode Tools and, optionally, X11SDK installed, you can install packages from source in FinkCommander. Just select the package and choose the menu item Source -> Install, or click on the second leftmost icon in the icon bar (a text ".h" with a green plus sign). Note that for packages where a binary install isn't available, the icon and menu item are grayed out.

You can follow the process of configuring, compiling, and installing the package in the lower half of the FinkCommander window:

figure 12
Figure 12. The package fop has been installed from source.

Removing a package installed from source can be done in the menu item Source -> Remove.

You don't need FinkCommander for this. You can use the "fink" command in To list all packages with a specified string in their name, you can use the command "fink list." Moreover, if you want to search all package descriptions as well as package names for a string, you can use the command "fink apropos." An example:

figure 13
Figure 13. Search packages with the commands "fink list" and "fink apropos."

If you want to install a package in, you can use the command "fink install." Just as with the binary equivalent, "apt-get install," you can install more than one package at a time by specifying the names of all packages. You also have to execute the fink install command with sudo. For example:

sudo fink install lftp-ssl

Removing a package goes as simple as this:

sudo fink remove lftp-ssl

Updating Fink

If you've been using Fink for some time, you have to make sure you download the newest listing of available packages from time to time. In FinkCommander, you can update the list of available binary packages in the menu item, Binary -> Update descriptions, like you did after the installation.

In you can do the same with the command "sudo apt-get update":

figure 14
Figure 14. Update the list of packages with the command "apt-get update."

The update process merely updates the list of packages. If you want to upgrade the installed packages to the newest version, you have to select Binary->Dist-upgrade packages in FinkCommander or execute sudo apt-get upgrade in This can take a while if you have a lot of packages installed.

For source packages, the same process can be done using the menu items Source->Selfupdate followed by Source->Update-all in FinkCommander. In, the same can be done with "fink selfupdate; fink update-all."

Besides, if you want to upgrade a specific package, just install it.

Final Thoughts

Fink and FinkCommander can be used to install lots of Unix programs on Mac OS X. This article showed you the basics of Fink's capabilities. For more information, see the documentation of Fink on the website. You can indeed do a lot more things with Fink and FinkCommander to manage your Unix applications.

Koen Vervloesem has a master's degree in computer science and has been freelancing as an IT journalist since 2000, primarily for Dutch IT magazines.

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