Fink 0.6.2 (Open Source)
The Fink Project
One of the great things about Mac OS X is the UNIX (specifically FreeBSD 5.0) core. Along with improvements in multi-tasking, stability and memory management, a UNIX foundation gives one access to a wide variety of freeware and Open Source tools. Unfortunately, getting these tools to compile and run under Mac OS X, or any UNIX environment, may require more than casual computing knowledge. Fortunately, the folks who developed Fink have created a complete system, knows as a package management system, to allow just about anyone to enjoy Open Source goodness under Mac OS X.
Before you get started with Fink, you will need to install a few developer tools, since you will be compiling your own programs. Panther users should have an XCode CD lying around somewhere; earlier versions of Mac OS X also come with some sort of developer tools. Don't worry if you can't find your CD, you can also surf on over to the Apple Developer Connection to download the tools. If you're thinking of creating graphical applications, you should install the X11 libraries and SDK.
Some of the 1298 Packages Available Via Fink
Once Fink is installed, open up a Terminal window to run it. Yes, this is a command-line tool, but don't worry. The first thing you should do is execute a "fink selfupdate" command so Fink can update itself to the latest version. Once you've done this, try to run "fink update" so you can update the packages it knows about. When we did this, we received information on 1298 packages. This should be enough software to keep you busy for quite some time!
To install a package, first get the name of it via "fink list" then install it using a command such as "fink install xv" to install the xv image viewer. Fink will then start downloading and compiling the libraries and components need to run the application. The neat thing is that if there are any optional libraries required to run your selection, they are obtained and installed automatically.
So experience the exciting world of Open Source on your Mac, and give Fink a try today!
Have any other tools that let your Mac do more? Send an e-mail to John, and he'll explore it.