[R-SIG-Mac] package management system: Fink vs MacPorts?

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Mon Oct 12 16:13:51 CEST 2009

On Oct 12, 2009, at 9:10 , Christian Kleiber wrote:

> Dear all,
> I am currently configuring a Mac Pro running SL.
> https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-sig-mac/2009-September/006468.html
> suggests there are issues with Fink.

There are issues with Fink if you try to mix Fink and native system  
(see below), but that's also true for MacPorts.

> I am familiar with building R packages but I have never built R
> from source (this might change, however).

This doesn't answer your question, but why wouldn't you use the  
released R binaries?

Both MacPorts and Fink are causing trouble by design because they are  
installing a parallel system to the actual OS and use overrides to  
bypass the original system. Some people like that because they simply  
want a different system on their machine, but as soon as you use  
anything that's not in that system (without disabling Fink/MacPorts)  
or try to mix them, you run into issues. I didn't check recently, but  
MacPorts used to have issues with R because people creating the ports  
had no idea about either R or Macs, but that may have (hopefully)  
changed in the meantime.

> Question: any strong
> opinions re Fink vs MacPorts? Or other solutions?

Solutions? It depends on what is your problem ;). Personally I don't  
use Fink since OS 10.4 because that's when almost everything became  
available in native form. Fink was needed in the beginning because  
very little was ported to Mac OS X but that has changed dramatically  
since. Still, there are big beasts (such as KDE) that are not  
available otherwise, but then you're not really use Mac OS at all :).


> (I have been using
> Fink on my laptop for some time without problems but then I never  
> built R
> from source.)
> Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
> Best,
> Christian Kleiber
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> R-SIG-Mac at stat.math.ethz.ch
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