Spend enough time developing software on Mac OS X, and you will eventually need to install libraries that were written for Unix, but not specifically for OS X. Fortunately we have Homebrew, which makes it easier to install Unix libraries on the Mac.
Before installing any new software, it is helpful to have a clear view of why we need it.
Homebrew is a package manager. It differs from earlier package managers like Fink and MacPorts because it is written in Ruby and based on Git. The Ruby/Git foundation means that developers from around the planet can easily contribute to Homebrew’s growth.
Before package managers, developers who needed a particular library would have to:
- Manually download source code for the library.
- Manually compile using
gcc or another compiler.
- Resolve dependencies manually.
Manually, manually, manually… The old way was long and error-prone. Max Howell created Homebrew to download, compile, and resolve dependencies automatically. Now developers can focus more attention on solving problems that are directly related to their work.