Fink is a great resource for finding compiled and compilable UNIX software that will run on the Mac. Why do you need an application to do that? Well, it takes care of all the dependencies (libraries of functions and so on) that a given program needs in order to run and allows for easy updating. The command line interface isn’t too friendly though.
For this reason a couple of GUI clients have been developed down the years, but these are not subject to regular development. Of these, I have used Fink Commander for a while.
Fink Commander stopped working after updating my MacBook Pro to Lion. The version I had there is a PPC application, so this failure is reasonable because Lion doesn’t run non-Intel software. I found that Fink Commander on my desktop iMac is Version 0.5.5 (0.5.5.release) and does run on Lion, because it’s a universal binary. I will try to install this on the Macbook later.
The greater problem is the following error upon trying to execute Fink itself from within the Terminal:
arch: /usr/bin/perl5.10.0 isn’t executable
As usual, google to the rescue. A search on this term brings up the following ominous words from the Fink BB:
You never said what you were running originally but I assume you’re on OS 10.7 now. We don’t support upgrading a Fink tree in place between 10.6 and 10.7. You’ll want to remove your Fink tree (e.g. via “sudo rm -rf /sw”) and then install Fink again. – — Alexander Hansen, Ph.D. Fink User Liaison http://finkakh.wordpress.com/
I did this last night on the Macbook. /sw is big! Gigabytes. After reinstalling and so on, it seems that only about 300 packages are available. Perhaps this has something to with the stable/unstable branch. That’s the next thing to look into.
I now have Fink Commander working on all machines. The initial lack of packages was because they were only binaries. When you include compilable packages, you are back into the thousands. To get Fink Commander running right, after reinstalling Fink, you need to delete the following 3 files/directories. The Library directory in your home directory is hidden in Lion, so you need to access it from the ‘Go’ menu of the Finder. This tip again from Alex Hansen.
>> Library/Application Support/FinkCommander
Otherwise Fink Commander will get stuck, trying to use old versions of Perl or something like that.