Install Homebrew on OS X

Homebrew is a package management system that simplifies the installation of software on the Mac OS X operating system. It is a free/open source software project to simplify installation of other free/open source software. It is similar in aim and function to MacPorts and Fink. It was written by Max Howell and has gained popularity in the Ruby on Rails community and earned praise for its extensibility. In 2012, Homebrew had the largest number of new contributors on GitHub.

Official Website
Install Homebrew

$ sudo su
$ curl -L | tar xz --strip 1 -C /usr/local

Update Homebrew

$ brew update

Uninstall Homebrew

$ cd `brew --prefix`
$ rm -rf Cellar
$ brew prune
$ rm `git ls-files`
$ rm -r Library/Homebrew Library/Aliases Library/Formula Library/Contributions
$ rm -rf .git
$ rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/Homebrew

If you installed MacPorts can't install homebrew, you must first uninstall MacPorts

$ sudo port -f uninstall installed
$ sudo rm -rf \
/opt/local \
/Applications/DarwinPorts \
/Applications/MacPorts \
/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.* \
/Library/Receipts/DarwinPorts*.pkg \
/Library/Receipts/MacPorts*.pkg \
/Library/StartupItems/DarwinPortsStartup \
/Library/Tcl/darwinports1.0 \
/Library/Tcl/macports1.0 \

Fix Error: Failed to update tap: homebrew/dupes

$ brew untap homebrew/dupes
$ brew untap homebrew/versions
$ brew prune
$ brew tap homebrew/dupes
$ brew tap homebrew/versions

Starting and Stopping Background Services

launchctl loads and unloads services that start at login. In OS X, these services are represented by files ending with .plist (which stands for "property list"). These plists are usually stored in either ~/Library/LaunchAgents or /Library/LaunchAgents. You load them (i.e. tell them to start at login) with launchctl load $PATH_TO_LIST and unload them with launchctl unload $PATH_TO_LIST. Loading a plist tells the program it represents (e.g. redis) to start at login, while unloading it tells the program not to start at login.

This post-install message from Homebrew may look familiar:

To have launchd start mysql at login:
    ln -sfv /usr/local/opt/mysql/*.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
Then to load mysql now:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.mysql.plist
Or, if you don't want/need launchctl, you can just run:
    mysql.server start

Doing all that takes too long, and I can never remember where Homebrew plists are. Fortunately, Homebrew includes a lovely interface for managing this without using ln, launchctl or knowing where plists are.

brew services

Install brew services by tapping homebrew/services (one time):

$ brew tap homebrew/services

Here's an example usage:

$ brew services start mysql
==> Successfully started `mysql` (label: homebrew.mxcl.mysql)

Behind the scenes, brew services start is doing everything in the post-install message above. First it runs ln -sfv ... for you. Then it runs aunchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.mysql.plist. It Just Works.

We can easily restart a service:

brew services restart mysql
Stopping `mysql`... (might take a while)
==> Successfully stopped `mysql` (label: homebrew.mxcl.mysql)
==> Successfully started `mysql` (label: homebrew.mxcl.mysql)

See everything we've loaded:

postgresql started      305 /Users/xuri/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist
memcached  started      288 /Users/xuri/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.memcached.plist
mysql      started      299 /Users/xuri/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.mysql.plist

Note that the list of services includes services you started with launchctl load, not just services you loaded with brew services.

Let's say we uninstalled MySQL and Homebrew didn't remove the plist for some reason (it usually removes it for you). There's a command:

$ brew services cleanup
Removing unused plist /Users/gabe/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.mysql.plist

So easy.

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