Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fink, DarwinPorts and Mac Gentoo

OS X has a Unix underbelly, which means that with a bit of effort you can get most unix programs to run. This is essential to me and work. To make it easier there is a variety of package managers that sort everything out for you. Up until recently I had been using fink but I was growing frustrated at the number of programs that I wanted that were either in the unstable repository or not there at all. Because of this and the fact that I would have to start from scratch with OS X Tiger, I decided to have a look at the main contenders fink, DarwinPorts and Gentoo for Mac OS X.

Gentoo is a source based linux distribution that has an excellent package mangement system called portage. I use this on my computer at home and love it. Recently they have ported portage to Mac OS X.

DarwinPorts is based on the package systems used in the opensource BSDs. It has recently reached version 1.0.

Fink is based around the debian package system.

If the amount of packages were the same I would choose to use gentoo as it is a system that I know and like. Unfortunately, the amount of packages currently available are very few and a few important ones like imagemagick, aquaterm and urlview that I need are missing. It must be remembered that this is still a young project and so I will definitely be keeping my eye on this one.

DarwinPorts has about the same number of packages that I require as fink but they are different packages. So I have come to the conclusion that I will stick with fink despite its floors, but I will look into running DarwinPorts concurrently and keep an eye on Gentoo. In a way I would like to help with the Gentoo project but I just do not have time at the moment :(.