Package managers for Mac OS/X

MacPort 	- formerly Darwin port
		  contain lot of "unix style" software packages.
		  install to /opt/local

fink		= package manager like Ubuntu apt-get.
		  need to be installed separately.
		  more cutting edge that Mac OS Port.
		  install to /sw

rudix		= pre-compiled unix sw for OS X (Yosemite in progress, Maverick and older okay)

homebrew	=
		  install to /usr/local, which is said why it works!  changing path not recommended!
		  have not been able to get it to install/work behind a proxy :( 

nix		= from NixOS, meant to be a declarative (stateless) package management.  
		  package are build from source, but cached to provide performance close to traditional binary-based package manager.

dmg are sw image that are "mounted", accessible from /Volumes.  
Firefox can run off inside such mount.  
Other apps req copying the files there to /Applications folder.  
Yet other require an install from there.

installer -pkg Fink*pkg -target LocalSystem
	# similar to rpm -i sw.rpm 
  	# -target LocalSystem is the equiv of the GUI telling where to put the program.  Should be able to use / also.

pkgutil --pkgs 		# list packages installed on system (.pkg, not stuff that Fink install, which are .deb packages).

fink install all software to /sw
. /sw/bin/

fink selfupdate
 			# update fink db, support http_proxy env var if proxy need to be set.
fink list 
fink install ...

dpkg --list 		# list debian packages (installed by fink)

intel-based mac stuff

while booting up:
option	= select OS to boot with (when bootcamp is configured)
apple+t = target firewire disk mode  (or just press T key?)
apple+v = verbose mode (this time only)
apple+s = single user mode (but don't run fsck from here! boot from DVD for such action!)  (or just s ?)

shift   = Safe Boot mode -

command+r = recovery mode (same as a the recovery choice when "option" key boot).

Permanently disable flashy non-useful boot screen (ie, verbose unix-like booting):
go to terminal, run
	sudo nvram boot-args="-v"
To see current settings:
	nvram -p   			

Older mac stuff

key binding:

cmd key is the apple key
option = alt
ctrl  = control (^)

cmd+tab = similar to windoze alt+tab
boot, option key = boot current os
boot, c = boot from cd
apple + control + power = reboot


Enable unix mode boot:
Older Macs:
While booting, enter cmd+opt+O-F
setenv boot-args=-v
This will cause machine to boot like sun machines.

switching between XDarwin X session and Aqua:
(10.5, they can coexist together)


NIS info from

OS X can act as NIS server.
yp files are in /var/yp
init rc file (?) at

OS X NIS client.
Some minimal info in lookupd.
Leopard 10.5 has NIS client build-in.  Just need to specify NIS domain and servers.

NFS mount.  Can specify the mounts in /etc/fstab, linux format.

Troubleshooting boot up

Info from Jim.  Appicable to old Mac (PowerPC) 

If the critter won't start up with the C key held down, try the
following (with the CD in the drive)
Hold the Option key on startup, and choose the CD icon and then click
the right-pointing arrow, or
hold control-option-shift-delete on startup.

The former is an Open Firmware method, and the latter is a shortcut to
tell the MacOS Rom to boot form the next available system volume.

If both of these methods fail, restart and hold down option-apple-p-r
for four startup chimes, then try the above methods again. (this resets


iTerm : a better terminal prog than the one that comes with OS X.


  • sample startup script in location which is now deemed archaic:
    /System/Library/StartupItems - Apple's only /Library/StartupItems - User's customization
  • launchd article from ADC
  • Mac tips for Unix geeks

    [Doc URL:]
    (cc) Tin Ho. See main page for copyright info.