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2016-03-22: This site is being moved to my main site at as part of a consolidation to one domain.

As of this writing (2015-02-10) I am using OSX 10.9.

There are two kinds of FOSS install packages on the Macbook I have used: Macports and Homebrew. There is also Fink. "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." That's about all I know about it and have no experience with it. I am not a Debian commands type person so I didn't choose to go with Fink.

To quote which so eloquently and succinctly explain the purpose of these tools:

"Homebrew and macports both solve the same problem - that is the installation of common libraries and utilities that are not bundled with osx.

Typically these are development related libraries and the most common use of these tools is for developers working on osx.

They both need the xcode command line tools installed (which you can download separately from, and for some specific packages you will need the entire xcode IDE installed.

xcode can be installed from the mac app store, its a free download but it takes a while since its around 5GB (if I remember correctly)."

There are other opinions and user experiences about Macports vs Homwbrew you can read on that link as well.

For various reasons I decided on using Macports alone. I was using a mixture of both Macports and Homebrew for a while but it became confusing when it came time to update. I just simply decided to stick to one package manager. These are my notes on using Macports.

First I had to figure out how to uninstall Homebrew:

By default, Homebrew installs packages to your /usr/local and Macports as far as I can tell, all macports installation happens in /opt/local.

Some notes and the homepage for Macports: and

HOWTO's with Macports:

To list what Macports software and the versions you have installed:

(:code:) kevin@Macbook> port installed The following ports are currently installed:

  apr @1.5.1_0 (active)
  apr-util @1.5.4_0 (active)
  autoconf @2.69_2 (active)
  automake @1.14.1_2 (active)


  vim @7.4.258_0+huge (active)
  wget @1.16_0+ssl
  wget @1.16.1_0+ssl (active)
  xz @5.0.7_0 (active)
  zlib @1.2.8_0 (active)


Installing apps:

For installing Perl modules see

(:code:) kevin@Macbook> sudo port install macvim

Computing dependencies for MacVim
Fetching archive for MacVim
Attempting to fetch MacVim-7.4.snapshot73_0+huge.darwin_13.x86_64.tbz2 from
Attempting to fetch MacVim-7.4.snapshot73_0+huge.darwin_13.x86_64.tbz2.rmd160 from
Installing MacVim @7.4.snapshot73_0+huge
Activating MacVim @7.4.snapshot73_0+huge
Cleaning MacVim
Updating database of binaries
Scanning binaries for linking errors
No broken files found.


To update Macports itself and the software you have installed (if updates exist):

First update the ports tree and then see if any ports have been updated.

(:code:) kevin@Macbook> sudo port -v selfupdate ... Congratulations, you have successfully upgraded the MacPorts system.

The ports tree has been updated. To upgrade your installed ports, you should run

  port upgrade outdated

kevin@Macbook> sudo port upgrade outdated (:codeend:)

HOWTO's using Homebrew:

To see what Homebrew has installed:

(:code:) kevin@Macbook> sudo brew list autoconf cscope macvim rsync vim kevin@Macbook> brew leaves cscope rsync vim macvim (:codeend:)

How to remove apps:

Homebrew - and

(:code:) kevin@Macbook> brew remove macvim Uninstalling /usr/local/Cellar/macvim/7.4-73... (:codeend:)

To update Homebrew:

This is a particular problem I experienced leading me to go solely with Macports. This is the only screen capture I had around to illustrate "brew update".

(:code:) kevin@Macbook> sudo brew update error: The following untracked working tree files would be overwritten by merge:


Please move or remove them before you can merge. Aborting Error: Failure while executing: git pull -q origin refs/heads/master:refs/remotes/origin/master (:codeend:)

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Page last modified on July 12, 2015, at 01:01 PM EST