I am a Linux/UNIX user and love the package management that comes with it. For the most part, I like Ubuntu, but just like anything else, it is the minor things that you live with daily that would be nice if they just worked. My main issue is my wacom tablet while it works, every time there is an OS update, I have to rebuild the wacom driver. The other slightly annoying issue is, my ATI video card is not fully supported. When I use the HDMI out, the sound doesn't go through it, and the screen is not entirely used.

I would happily get an Apple if it had a similar package management system like Ubuntu, Gentoo, or other Linux distribution. This takes the work out of getting the latest enhancements or fixes. It also takes all the guess work out about what you need to get something to work. I just want to use my computer, not administer it.

Aside from Apple applications, if I wanted to install the GIMP on an apple, would it go and fetch ufraw if I wanted support for that and whatever other dependencies GIMP has? If I want Netbeans installed, will it go and get a JDK and maven if I want that?

If not, is there something in the works?

I know I don't update my applications that frequently, but that is mainly because I'm not aware of the updates. The updates all happen in the background.



3 Answers 3


There are two main systems for unix software on OS X: MacPorts and Fink

Fink is akin to (and iirc based on) the Debian/Ubunutu apt system: it delivers pre-compiled binaries. MacPorts is related to the older BSD Ports collections: rather than pre-built binaries, it containers pointers to the original source + patches required to make that source work on your platform (and with the other apps that you've installed via ports).

Both will get Gimp and all its dependencies installed for you - fink will be faster as it doesn't have to compile, but macports gives you more control over what gets built.

There's also a newer tool called Homebrew which I've not used; but it claims to provide better interoperability with things you've installed by hand, and rely more on the native Mac libraries instead of just the installed libraries.

A quick search shows a variety of questions already talking about Macports and Fink and differences between them.

  • 2
    You can build from source with Fink, indeed if you want to use the bleeding edge you often have to. Jan 7, 2010 at 23:29
  • Ok - it looks like a relatively close match. It doesn't have as much as I would like, but I should be able to make do with it I think. Netbeans isn't on there, and Eclipse dates back all the way to 3.2 which is old. It does have some security tools which I'll like.
    – Walter White
    Jan 7, 2010 at 23:52
  • I guess my next computer will be a macbook pro. That will be hopefully less than 1 year away.
    – Walter White
    Jan 7, 2010 at 23:57
  • 5
    Go with homebrew!
    – cregox
    Apr 15, 2010 at 22:33
  • 1
    I found homebrew a lot more straight forward than macports to set up.
    – Magpie
    Jan 14, 2013 at 6:55

I recommend HomeBrew - Link ​​​


There is MacPorts, which is a package management system for OS X that provides ports of various linux packages. Another is Fink, but MacPorts is generally more up to date.

  • 3
    The up-to-dateness really depends on what software you want. The scientific apps and libraries that I use are much more up-to-date on Fink. Jan 7, 2010 at 23:30

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