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

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Mon Oct 12 16:54:54 CEST 2009

On Mon, 12 Oct 2009, Simon Urbanek wrote:

> 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?

Because you want the very latest patches, or you want different 
configure options ....

I build R on my Macs (L and SL) all the time from the sources, and 
have neither Fink nor MacPorts installed.  If you want your builds to 
be compatible with the CRAN/r.research.att.com builds of packages you 
need to set up the configure options carefully and be careful what you 
have in /usr/local/lib, but it can be done.  (I'm not going to give 
the recipe here, as it does change from time to time and these lists 
are archived -- I have had too many emails which say 'your posting was 
wrong' when it was correct in 2007 or 2004 or 1999 ....)

> 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 :).
> Cheers,
> Simon
>> (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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Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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