I have recently gotten into quite a predicament with my MacBook: I'm not quite sure how many or what versions of the AMP stack I currently have installed. In addition to the default stack that comes installed in OS X 10.5, I've got copies floating around that have been installed using Fink, Darwin Ports and compiled from source. My question is:

  1. Is there any way to salvage (find versions I don't want and uninstall them) the system without doing a fresh install of OSX?

  2. What are the best practices for installing and maintaining compiled-from-source software in the OSX environment?

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Part 1:

Yes you can - the hardest part will be to track down where you have items installed. They tend to have files (configuration and other files) in subfolders as well (eg. /usr/share, etc.) The versions I have listed here are current as of May 7th, 2009. Future security updates may change the versions. For example to remove everything installed by fink/MacPorts it's just a matter of removing the /opt directory or use the respective fink or port command to remove it. If you have items installed in /usr/local, or /usr - backup first and then remove and test.


  • Default Installation: Apache 2.2.9 is installed in /usr

  • Fink / MacPorts: Dependent on version but both install their representative ports into /opt

  • Source: If you configured a different prefix then who knows but by default it installs into /usr/local


  • Default Installation: None - however on OS X Server 5.0.67 installed at /usr

  • Fink / MacPorts: /opt

  • MySQL Package: /usr/local/mysql-VERSION


  • Default Installation: 5.2.6 at /usr/bin

  • Fink / MacPorts: /opt

  • Entropy: The most common pre-packaged PHP is available from http://www.entropy.ch and it installs PHP 5.2.9 into /usr/local/php5

  • Source: Depends on your prefix used when configuring but by default /usr/local/php

Part 2:

If you're planning to install the pieces from the source I'd recommend looking at sticking with Mac Ports or documenting where you install items if compiling from the source. The added advantage to Mac Ports is that you can ignore trying to workaround or "fixing" Apple's presets for the version that comes with the OS itself. (eg. GD support in PHP).

The biggest limitation with rolling your own is that Apple does update the software it provides occasionally and that may conflict with a modification you've done. (If you'd heard of Apple "breaking" Perl on Mac OS X Server - they updated Perl for security reasons and if you had modified the system installed Perl it broke - something that a sysadmin is supposed to test for)

Alternatively if you're looking for development I'd recommend looking at MAMP or MAMP Pro - you've got a setup with all the pieces that runs on it's own.

  • 1
    Fink and Darwin Ports both have there own package managers. Fink uses 'fink' and Darwin Ports uses 'ports'. This is the best way to remove those software packages. – Simurr May 7 '09 at 20:31
  • 1
    Thanks! I've edited it to reflect that - I neglected to mention that removing the /opt folder is only good for getting rid of everything you've installed with Fink/MacPorts instead of just specific packages. – Chealion May 7 '09 at 20:46

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