Sharing the Fink

I was recently asked how to share software between more than one fink installation. This is usually because the person has 2 (or more) machines, only one of which is fast. =) It's pretty easy to share binaries you've built on one system with another. Here's how (keep in mind these instructions will generally only work if each system is running the same major version of Mac OS X):

  1. Install Fink on the "master" (build) system.

  2. (If the clients already have fink installed, you should skip this step.) Copy /sw to the "client" systems. First you must enable "Remote Login" on the "master" box. Then, run the following on each of the "client" machines:

    sudo rsync -avzr -e ssh user@otherhost:/sw/ /sw/

    Just replace user@otherhost above with the username and hostname of the system to copy from.

    This will make a clone of the fink installation on your "master" box on each of the clients.

  3. On the "master" box, build something, and then run "fink scanpackages". This will make fink generate apt indexes for all of your enabled trees.

  4. On the "master" box, enable "Personal Web Sharing" in the Sharing section of System Preferences, and then set up httpd to expose your /sw/fink directory externally. I do so by making an /etc/httpd/users/fink.conf file that contains:

    Alias /fink /sw/fink
    <Directory /sw/fink>
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks

    ...and then run "sudo /usr/sbin/apachectl graceful" to (re)start.

  5. On the "client" box(es), edit /sw/etc/apt/sources.list, and add the lines representing your fink trees. For example, if my IP address of my build box at home is, the client would add:

    deb stable main crypto
    deb unstable main crypto
    deb local main

  6. On the "client" box(es), run "sudo apt-get update". If all goes well, you should see something like:

    Hit stable/main Packages
    Hit stable/main Release
    Hit stable/crypto Packages
    ...and so on

  7. You should then be able to do "sudo apt-get install <package>" for anything that's been built on the "master" box. Any time you build more stuff there, you will need to re-run "fink scanpackages" on the master, and "sudo apt-get update" on the client(s).

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