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Rudix, a lightweight way to add new Unix utilities

TJ Luoma, @tjluoma

Rudix offers a collection of Unix utilities which do not come with OS X by default.

When setting up a new Mac I always install these Unix utilities: wget, ncftp, lynx with SSL support, and the GNU Core Utilities. I compile them manually whenever possible, despite options like MacPorts or Fink. I don't need everything that MacPorts and Fink offer, and installing them always felt like overkill -9 (that's a commandline joke, kids). Generally they try to mimic the commandline syntax of either Linux or FreeBSD, neither of which I have used extensively.

Although Rudix offers a giant 361MB DMG with all of the packages includes, I recommend only installing what you need. You can find each program with its own OS X .pkg installer. These pkgs install to the traditional location of /usr/local/ (something both MacPorts and Fink avoid, a side effect of the volume of software they are designed to install, as well as a difference in approach).

Rudix's boon is "dependencies." Rudix tries to minimize them by making packages contain everything they need using static linking. As the Rudix webpage says: "For the end user this translates as: install and play."

The trick to using pre-compiled software like Rudix (or Fink, or Macports for that matter) is getting the right compile-time options (e.g. support for SSL in Lynx). I took a look at several Rudix packages and didn't see anything I would have done differently, but as they say "your mileage may vary." (I do wish there was an option for installing to $HOME instead of /usr/local/ for users who don't have admin permissions.)

If you like the commandline but don't always want to "roll your own," checkout the Rudix website. There is also a Twitter account at @rudix4mac for those who want to keep up with Rudix development. One important note is that Rudix does not support PowerPC; when Rudix refer to "universal binaries" they mean i386 and x86_64.

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