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Fink 0.8.1

Fink 0.8.1

Screenshots of Fink

Fink Editor's Review

'Fink' is a package manager for Mac OS X.

As the developers said, Fink is the result of a project that wants to bring the entire world of UNIX Open Source software to Darwin and Mac OS X. The original applications are modified (ported) to compile and run on the Macintosh platform.

There is another package manager for Mac OS X, MacPorts, formerly known as DarwinPorts. The main difference between these packages is that Fink can use either binary packages or source packages, unlike MacPorts which uses only source packages.

The tools provided by Fink are powered by Debian technologies. Debian is a free GNU/Linux operating system that provides an excellent package management. Its tools: dpkg, dselect, and apt-get were implemented in Fink. This means that the manager can handle .deb binary packages. If you used apt-get under Debian-based Linux distributions before, then using the package management provided by Fink shouldn't be too hard.

Fink provides its own package manager. It's called fink and this part of the Fink package handles the source distributions. It doesn't install the compiled source code. Instead, it builds its own binary packages in the .deb format. Fink can modify and patch the source code to comply with your platform, so the result should be quite stable. In fact, Fink is known for the stability of its UNIX-based solutions.

Another interesting thing is that Fink doesn't use Mac OS X's directory structure. It runs on top of this operating system and it provides its own directory tree that won't interfere with your Mac OS X installation.

Pluses: It allows you to install and run UNIX Open Source software. It provides an excellent package management powered by Debian technologies. It provides its own package manager that can patch, compile sources, or build its own binary .deb packages.

Fink provides another interesting element. This element is called Fink Commander. A GUI tool that provides you with a list of supported packages and a convenient way to install these. Usually, a package manager should use CLI. However, so far I love this GUI tool, because it has other great advantages besides menus and an easy to understand package status. It also provides a search engine that works very fast.

Drawbacks / flaws: Installing some packages into the repositories might be a real challenge. The error reporting is good, but not perfect.

In conclusion: This package manager is one of the best tools that can bring the UNIX world right on your Mac OS X desktop. If you used Linux before, and especially Debian-based distributions, then I think you won't have any problems using this tool.

version reviewed: 0.8.1

Fink Publisher's Description

Fink uses Debian tools like dpkg and apt-get to provide powerful binary package management. You can choose whether you want to download precompiled binary packages or build everything from source.

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