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Use FinkCommander to manage fink applications UNIX
It might not be new, and many may have seen the annoucement of FinkCommander on Version Tracker, but in case you missed it ... FinkCommander is a great freeware program for those who do not feel as comfortable with the command line as some others do. Even though I grew up on Unices, I do like this program.

FinkCommander makes life for those of you who want to use fink a lot easier. Not only can you set preferences for the fink.conf, you can also set up fink to use unstable packages or the packages from CVS, which can be a huge bonus.

[Editor's note: fink has been covered here before in numerous articles. It's a package manager for OS X which makes installing any one of thousands of UNIX programs as simple as typing "sudo fink install program_name". FinkCommander, which I had not seen prior to reading this hint, offers a Cocoa front-end to fink administration. Packages can be added or removed with a mouse click, and you can also update your installation to find newly added versions of all programs. FinkCommander makes it much easier to manage your fink-installed applications.]
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Use FinkCommander to manage fink applications | 12 comments | Create New Account
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VT Not Found
Authored by: kerim on Jun 15, '02 01:44:28PM

This is not, in fact, listed on Version Tracker. I just searched under "FinkCommander", and just "Fink" - neither produced any result. It should be listed.



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Warning!
Authored by: kerim on Jun 15, '02 01:58:26PM

Be very careful using this. It is great, but it doesn't have some safeguards - like confirmation dialogs for the delte command. I just clicked the wrong toolbar icon by accident and deleted about 40 files ...



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Warning!
Authored by: sjonke on Jun 16, '02 11:01:07PM

True, however, note that Fink doesn't actually delete much when you "delete" a package. If after having deleted you select to install them again, you'll find that it takes very little time even if you had installed from source originally as the compiled form is really still there. As such, that you can too easily "delete" stuff isn't as big a deal as it might other wise be. Not that FinkCommander shouldn't have confirmations for such actions anyway, of course.

I find FinkCommander to be very nice, although it does have quirks. For instance if you mis-type your password, then after that it will not ask you for the correct password, you'll simply get errors. At that point you have to manually select "Enter password" from the Tools menu. There are other similar situations you can get in to, like the search field having something in it, but the listing not reflecting it. Still, this is tons better than fink from the command line. If nothing else it makes it clear when a binary is available. Often I want to install the binary first before installing a source version of an app so that I can see if it's worth the bother. FinkCommander makes it clear when a binary is available in addition to source. That alone is worth the the (non-)price of admission.



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Search Failures
Authored by: sburr on Jun 21, '02 01:54:36PM

If you can reproduce the problem of the table not reflecting the search field text, I'd really appreciate it if you would file a bug report. The Help menu includes an item that will take you straight to FinkCommander's bug reports page on SourceForge. I haven't experienced this myself, so the more details you can provide about the sequence of events that lead to the problem and what the table looks like, the more likely it is that I'll be able to solve it.



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So submit it
Authored by: SeanAhern on Jun 17, '02 03:22:07PM

So go submit it to them.



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Forums
Authored by: crarko on Jun 15, '02 02:23:16PM

There is a thread in the forums (OS X Developer) about Fink Commander. The author of the software is a some time participant.

<http://forums.macosxhints.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2749>



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no sudo
Authored by: bhines on Jun 15, '02 05:14:38PM

Again, you don't need to type "sudo fink" ever. Fink automatically sudos itself, and prompts you for a password if necessary. If you have used sudo recently, you won't have to enter a password. So don't type sudo fink. :)



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Long Install
Authored by: bluehz on Jun 17, '02 08:06:57AM

I like the concept of Fink Commaner, but I used it to install Postfix the other day and it took over 4 hrs to complete! That seems a bit long to me. I installed the same thing on another machine using CLI manually and it took less than 30 mins.



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RE: Long Install
Authored by: kerim on Jun 17, '02 10:29:07AM

I don't think it is a Fink Commander issue, but I did a "Funk update-all" command in it and it took two full days (36 hours) to complete. I remember it taking nearly as long when I did the same thing in the terminal. Actually, Fink Commander sped things up by its ability to "assume default" whenever a promt came up, thus keeping things moving along. But I don't understand why UNIX apps take so much longer to install than mac apps. Even a full system update for OSX doesn't take anywhere near as long as updating GNOME ...



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RE: Long Install
Authored by: vasi on Jun 17, '02 10:50:01AM

Fink packages only take long to install if you compile them from source (ie: 'fink install packagename'). If you did that for Mac apps like Photoshop, that would take several days too--but you can't anyhow, since Photoshop and the rest aren't open source.

Happily, Fink also has 'binaries' for most packages, these are basically the Fink equivalent of just downloading normal Mac apps. There are two standard ways to use the binary distribution, apt-get and dselect. And of course you can just use the "Binary" menu in FinkCommander.

Dselect has something resembling a GUI, it lets you browse packages. Apt-get is good when you want just one package, and you know what it is already. Suppose you want to get a web browser--typical usage of apt-get is like this:

# Make sure you have the newest version of Fink
> fink selfupdate
> sudo apt-get update
# Make sure your packages are all the newest versions
> sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
> fink update-all
# Look for browsers
> fink apropos browser
dillo               Small simple web browser
links               Lynx-like text WWW browser with tables
lynx               Console based web browser
mozilla               Web browser and mail reader
# Install what you like
> sudo apt-get install dillo

And then it will just download, and install, it shouldn't take any longer than it would take you to download any other program.

Dave



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And don't forget...
Authored by: thinkyhead on Jun 17, '02 06:19:14PM
Good Comments
Authored by: sburr on Jun 21, '02 01:46:20PM

Thanks for posting this article. It generated some very helpful comments. Last night I fixed the password error problem. In the next release (and in the cvs version tomorrow) FC will respond to mis-typed passwords by redisplaying the password entry sheet and transmitting the new entry to sudo's stdin.

There is currently an option to generate warnings before running any command in Preferences (under the "Uniphobe" tab), but I agree that removals probably merit special treatment. They tend to zip by pretty quickly, so the user doesn't get a chance to terminate mistakes. I think I'll make the default behavior to warn before removing but include a button in the warning dialog (as well as the Preferences panel) to turn the warnings off.



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