fink link pt 1 - intro

this is the start of a form of entry that i will simply label as iceyguides. that said, don’t expect heaps of knowledge that will make you one of the intellects of the world, but it is an offering of a little bit of my knowledge (very little, but when you don’t have much, you can’t offer much). so enjoy ‘fink link pt 1 - intro.’



what is it?

this will be the first entry in a series concerning fink, the project that brings the world of open software into the mac os x world. yes, it has been around for awhile, and yes you do have other options (self compiling and darwinports, among others), but i have been using fink for the past couple of years and have come to have a fond love/hate relationship with it. this is just an intro into what fink is and later i will get into what uses i have found with it.

before going much further, fink is not something that everyone will see as useful. for those that have no need for open source, such as the gimp, openoffice, gnome (yes i know it is a desktop environment, not an app in and of itself, but it is cool to see on top an os x install), or any other open source replacement piece of software, then go ahead and pass up this suggestion.

one thing that i love about fink vs. any other form of unix software distribution is how everything is contained in one folder, /sw. now this folder can technically be named anything and placed anywhere, but the fact that removing fink involves simply deleting this folder (and maybe xdarwin stuff if you decided not to use x11.app) makes it easy to at least try. there are no worries about cramming software packages into standard *nix directories, that may ultimately not make things play well together.

how does it work?

fink is an extremely large topic to write about in a single entry, so this will be a brief overview of how things work within fink, then we will revisit the topic later to get more in depth.

first, there are a couple ways to use fink as far as installing fink and software is concerned, compiling and binaries. the fink install can be either compiled on your system or installed through the use of a binary, and yes compiling can take some time. likewise, software is installed in one of the two manners. if you choose to use a directory other than /sw, then you have no option than to compile everything, but if you use /sw, then you will simply need to use apt-get to install your software.

software installed by fink can be executed out of the /sw/bin folder either through a term (once the path is set for fink) or through x11/xdarwin (if it is an x window app). in an x environment, you can specify different window managers and even desktop environments (gnome and kde) that have been installed by fink.

that should give a very short overview at what fink is. in depth topics i plan on writing include, but are not limited to:

  • compiling vs. binaries
  • /sw location
  • stable vs. unstable
  • troubleshooting & problems


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