macports vs fink?

In setting up a new mac os x machine for development, I seem to fiddle with the various choices out there. In one respect, I really like linux for having 'one way' (per distribution of course) for installing all of your system packages. On the mac, however, there are a couple choices:

  • Install everything from source: most control, biggest hassle
  • Install things from various binary packages: least control, hassle monitoring updates & upgrades from different sources. Packages like MAMP lessen some of this burden, but I still need other tools like subversion, etc.
  • Fink : installs a debian-like apt-get system
  • MacPorts (formerly DarwinPorts): uses a freebsd-like ports system for managing packages.

Traditionally, I've used Fink - as I generally use Debian on servers, so I'm very familiar with apt-get, dpkg, etc. However, fink, perhaps like debian proper, seems to lag with packages in stable, and you typically have to use the ports-like fink command anyway.

This time around, too, I noticed that MacPorts is now hosted by Mac OS Forge: making it a (semi-)official Apple project. This probably bodes well for it's future and longevity. There's a port for php5, apache2 and mysql5... so I've decided to give it a whirl.

What are others using?

James Walker

James Walker (a.k.a. walkah) is an independent developer and hacker. He is a long time Drupal developer, but these days spends more time in Python, Ruby and Javascript.

You can follow him on twitter or github.

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