Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 9th Apr 2003 03:30 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews Today, we host a mini-interview with Fink's project leader, Max Horn. The Fink project wants to bring the full world of Unix Open Source software to Darwin and Mac OS X. They modify Unix software so that it compiles and runs on Mac OS X and make it available for download as a coherent distribution. Fink uses Debian tools like dpkg and apt-get to provide powerful binary package management and you can choose whether you want to download precompiled binary packages or build everything from source.
Order by: Score:
I tried Fink
by Alex on Wed 9th Apr 2003 03:41 UTC

Its a great project, it allows you to run Unix OSS on the elgant and user friendly Mac platform. Interesting project, especially for Mac users.

If you have a PC, and a Mac its usually not worth the hassle though.

Keep up the good work
by Fred on Wed 9th Apr 2003 04:00 UTC

OS X introduced me to the world of Unix, but fink made that world seem worthwhile.

Thanks for all your hard work.

Love Fink
by Alan on Wed 9th Apr 2003 05:20 UTC

A program that introduced me to quality accomplishments,that speak for themselves. I get to be part of "Nix's" evolutionary
permaculture of inspired initiatives. How cool is that.

The Fink's a king!
by nnooiissee on Wed 9th Apr 2003 06:01 UTC

I was going to post a list of what I have off of Fink, but a quick 'fink list -i' yielded a list too long (I have 176 packages installed).

My only complaint is that fink doesn't puts (is) a nonstandard interface to apt.

There are a few packages I would like to be able to get (links, Frozen Bubble, MAME, ScummVM, Snes9x, OpenOffice, Mac OS 10.3), but wow the things that work so easily.

One warning for fink. Once you try it you may find it hard to ever justify compiling software manualy for install (and maybe even doing a D&D install).

Altivec optimizing ...
by Ludovic Hirlimann on Wed 9th Apr 2003 06:35 UTC

Auto-vec is something that's not available on compilers. Cray tried for many years to add such functionnality to their compiler and they thown the towel away.

A real project would be to write optimizing option that would vectorize code. Anyone knows of such project being put into place somewhere ?


X11 pasting
by Bascule on Wed 9th Apr 2003 09:13 UTC

Copy/paste integration is not in Fink's, but in XFree86's domain, and at least for text has been reality for a long time - see here. That document is slightly outdated though, as it doesn't mention Apple's X11. There, you can copy text via Cmd-C / Edit-Copy. For some reasons, Cmd-V / Edit-Paste doesn't work, though. So to paste text, you have to do it the X11 way with the middle mouse button (if you only have one, pressing Alt/Option while clicking will do the trick).

Argh, this is one of my biggest complaints with Apple's X11! Why don't they make Cmd-V send the middle click event to the raised application? Certainly this wouldn't work for every application, but it's better than having Cmd-V do nothing. Option-Click is very annoying, especially on an iBook with no external mouse.

Re: Altivec optimizing ...
by javi on Wed 9th Apr 2003 10:50 UTC

"Auto-vec is something that's not available on compilers. Cray tried for many years to add such functionnality to their compiler and they thown the towel away. "

Clearly you have never coded for a CRAY, haven't you? If there is something that cray compilers are good at, is vectorizing code. Grated that it deals mostly with loop intensive vectorization... esp. with Fortran code. That is also why cray compilers cost an arm and a leg.

BTW. Alti-VEC is a SIMD unit, not vectorial... marketing hype.
Quite annoying when marketroids get to ruin architecture terms.

X11 pasting
by David Burnett on Wed 9th Apr 2003 12:04 UTC

Well with Apple's X11 ctrl-c and control-v seem to cut and paste just fine.

Mind you, I only use fink for GIMP and PAN, so it may be a GNOME thing.


Rating: Worthwhile
by digitaleon on Wed 9th Apr 2003 12:41 UTC

I want to thank the authors, maintainers and contributors on the Fink and FinkCommander projects. By creating these applications, and by combining them with the powerful Dpkg and Apt-Get tools, the world of command-line utilities and X/KDE/GNOME applications has been made readily accessible to thousands of users that would otherwise, through technical inexpertise or ignorance, would not be able to harness these tools.

Being able to run these tools side-by-side with the MacOS X environment and its applications, and have some level of integration betwixt the two, and having a measure of unofficial support and technical work from Apple, means that Macintosh users are prepared for a future where open standards and open source are the rule, rather than the exception, on desktop, portal, middleware and backend systems.

The Macintosh has a chance of becoming what has eluded it since it's inception: an accepted, supported business platform outside of the niche markets that Apple currently serves. This also has benefits to the wider community as Apple has already demonstrated its' willingness to contribute to existing projects and spawn new projects that can then be adopted on compatible platforms, such as BSDs and Linux distributions.

I have read a number of stories of outfits in the scientific and multimedia markets being able to replace two computers (PC w/ Windows + PC w/ UNIX-derviative) with one (Macintosh w/ MacOS X), since the latter can run their BSD/Linux or X-based applications as well as many "standard" business applications required for administration and collaboration. I have no double that Fink played a key role in this.

I can also attest that Fink has enhanced my work as well, since I have a fully-built KDE with many applications, a number of which fill in gaps in the MacOS X software market. By combining the two, I have a full solution for all my requirements except gaming (which I have on a separate, Windows-based computer).

So, for myself, as for thousands of other Macintosh users out there, some of whom are not using Fink, but will in the future and will be glad that it is there, I want to say a big thank-you to the Fink team, and also to the FinkCommander team. Your efforts have helped the Macintosh platform remain a viable choice in markets where the odds are all stacked heavily in favor of particular players, and where the pundits have more than once left the Macintosh for dead.

by Glanz on Wed 9th Apr 2003 13:10 UTC

As a FreeBSD user and a FreeBSD ports user (OS X), I'd highly recommend Fink to those who love to tweak..., endlessly..., continually, ceaselessly, unendingly, interminably...; I think you get the idea. If you do not mind the eternally tiring tweaking required just to get most apps and libraries in order, endless trips to the terminal to "correct" inherent glitches, incessant error messages in the console, then Fink is for you.

What is darwin parts.
by Anonymous on Wed 9th Apr 2003 14:52 UTC

Is opendarwin's darwin ports a competing project or a parallel one?

Re: David Burnett
by Bascule on Wed 9th Apr 2003 16:43 UTC

Well with Apple's X11 ctrl-c and control-v seem to cut and paste just fine.

Mind you, I only use fink for GIMP and PAN, so it may be a GNOME thing.

This is application specific. It will not, for example, work with an xterm.

fink has more sense than LSB
by Anonymous on Wed 9th Apr 2003 17:10 UTC

From the article.
" Fink uses Debian tools like dpkg and apt-get to provide powerful binary package management "

Fink / Darwinports relationship
by danm on Thu 10th Apr 2003 01:48 UTC

I asked myself the same question a while ago when DarwinPorts was announced last year. Short answer, Fink is GNU-based - DarwinPorts is BSD-based. Both kids play nice in the sandbox known as your Mac. Package maintainers from both 'Distros' work together to get past difficulties in porting to Darwin/OSX, and that's where the collaboration is important. Some maintainers commit to both projects, actually.

I think this post/thread best explains it:


by Anonymous on Thu 10th Apr 2003 11:12 UTC

Aliasing Ctrl-V (Paste clipboard) to middle click (Paste current text selection) would be like someone connecting the brake and clutch lines together in your car "Well, it's pretty much the same sort of thing, anyway I usually can't remember the difference anyway". Argh!

xterm doesn't have a way to paste the clipboard contents. It doesn't on MacOS/ Fink and it doesn't on FreeBSD, or Linux or on any system. If you want such a feature you probably won't get it, but you could try asking the current xterm maintainer.

What xterm does have, as do almost all text entry type widgets, is a way to paste the current selection, that is, the last bit of text you highlighted. This is the NOT the same thing as the clipboard, it's just a power user feature and you don't NEED to learn about it. The vast majority of apps have ordinary Edit+Cut/Copy/Paste menu as well as this power user feature. That includes all the modern xterm-like Terminal emulators included with GNOME and KDE and so on.

[And Ctrl-V would be a particularly stupid thing to alias in an xterm because that Ctrl-sequence is needed...]

More on clipboard
by Anonymous on Thu 10th Apr 2003 11:23 UTC

The description linked from that Fink interview is wrong too. Cut buffers are a 1980s legacy. They're obsolete. If Apple and/or XFree engineers are trying to connect Apple's clipboard to the X11 clipboard via Cut buffers then someone needs to show them the "new features" of X11R6 (how old is that now?)

Hopefully the poor understanding is restricted to the guy who wrote the FAQ. If not I'll take a look tomorrow when I can get at an OS X machine and start filing some bugs <sigh>

die -faltivec rules
by Hans and Franzs on Mon 14th Apr 2003 11:41 UTC

"Get a life" with the real Debian. Cheers fink team.

by Anonymous on Mon 14th Apr 2003 14:27 UTC

I agree I prefer to work with Debian for most stuff.

However there's a couple of issues that force me to work in MacOS X quite often:
- Proprietay apps you need to use for work. There's not that many in my case, but Flash MX is one of em.
- Hardware that does thesame: with the new powerbooks with Nvidia hardware, there is no hw-accelerated 3D for Linux+PowerPC. That's a damn shame.
- Some of the MacOSX goodness (iCal I'm quite fond of, and there's other stuff too)

For those reasons, I really wish Fink was Debian/[Darwin|OSX] - a straight Debian Port that lives together with MacOSX. The major advantage would be that a lot of the work would be already done by the Debian community (a lot of the packages require nothing more than a recompile on OSX)

I'd assume because of the big differences there would neet to be some glue, but considering Debian is seriously working on a Debian/BSD port, I'd assume the problems are solvable. And long term, more realistic considering the 12000 packages that are in Debian right now...

try BSD Mall
by Ben Huot on Tue 15th Apr 2003 17:39 UTC

I already read this article a week ago. You can also get all these packages in an easy to install format on cd-rom from BSD Mall. It's called UNIX Utilities for OS X. I bought it and plan to install it on my eMac when I get it - the eMac- in a few days.

Re; danm
by Anonymous on Tue 15th Apr 2003 20:04 UTC

Thanks for posting the link re Darwinports/Fink. Clears up some confusion.