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The suggested and easiest way to install Homebrew is on the homepage. We don’t duplicate it here because it is a security risk to list it on a user-editable wiki.

The standard script installs Homebrew to /usr/local so that you don’t need sudo when you brew install. It is a careful script, it can be run even if you have stuff installed to /usr/local already. It tells you exactly what it will do before it does it too. And you have to confirm everything it will do before it starts.

There are other ways to install Homebrew which provide you with more flexibility. They are listed below the requirements.

Requirements

If you want to build software that utilizes X11 components, you’ll need to install XQuartz. Apple provided a distribution of XQuartz (“X11.app”) prior to OS X 10.8. This is supported where possible, but many projects now require more up-to-date libraries than those in the Apple distribution, so installing the latest version available for your OS is recommended. On 10.8 and newer, you should install the most recent version.

If you want to build Java bindings (in software such as Subversion, Berkeley-DB, CMake, etc.) Apple’s “Java Developer Update” is required. The latest versions are “Update 10” for 10.5 and “Update 9” for 10.6.

Alternative Installs

Ignoring SSL certificate errors

The instructions on the homepage use curl to download a Ruby script from GitHub over HTTPS. On 10.5 you may not have the necessary CA certificates to verify GitHub’s SSL certificate. In that case you can add --insecure to the curl command line, telling it to ignore SSL certificate errors. Note that this makes it easier for someone tampering with your network connection during the install to compromise your machine.

Untar anywhere

Just extract (or git clone) Homebrew wherever you want. Just avoid:

  • Directories with spaces in them because build scripts are dumb and can’t handle spaces.
  • /sw and /opt/local because build scripts get confused when Homebrew is there instead of Fink or MacPorts, respectively.

However do yourself a favor and install to /usr/local. Some things may not build when installed elsewhere. One of the reasons Homebrew just works relative to the competition is because we recommend installing to /usr/local. Pick another prefix at your peril!

mkdir homebrew && curl -L https://github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/tarball/master | tar xz --strip 1 -C homebrew

Untar anywhere and then symlink the brew command elsewhere

You can also install Homebrew into e.g. ~/Developer and then symlink the brew command into /usr/local/bin .

Everything will install into ~/Developer, but your brew command is still in the path. NOTE that Homebrew will still need to create symlinks into /usr/local or nothing will work! But the actual files are installed to ~/Developer/Cellar.

Multiple installations

Create a Homebrew installation wherever you extract the tarball. Whichever brew command is called is where the packages will be installed. You can use this as you see fit, e.g. a system set of libs in /usr/local and tweaked formulae for development in ~/homebrew.

Let’s say you are developing an app that must distribute Taglib. Add Homebrew as a git submodule for your project and then make Xcode $PROJECT_ROOT/homebrew/bin/brew install taglib as part of the build process. This way you can easily build Taglib, tweak its build options as you like (brew edit taglib) and let the Homebrew community worry about keeping Taglib up to date for you.

Corporate Installs

If you use Homebrew at your company, you probably have your own fork with modifications relevant to your coworkers. Fortunately it is very easy to make Homebrew use a company fork rather than the default’s. Just change the origin remote of the git clone and Homebrew will continue to use that origin instead of the normal one. It is then up to you to update your fork as often as you see fit so that updates propagate. Feel free to fork the installation script to make it install your fork by default.

Uninstallation

Uninstallation is documented in the FAQ.

1 Not all formulae have CPU or OS requirements, but you can assume you will have trouble if you don’t conform. Also, you can find PowerPC and Tiger branches from other users in the fork network. See Interesting Taps & Branches.

2 10.7 or higher is recommended. 10.6 and 10.5 are supported on a best-effort basis.

3 Most formulae require a compiler. A handful require a full Xcode installation. You can install Xcode, the CLT, or both; Homebrew supports all three configurations.

4 The one-liner installation method found on brew.sh requires a Bourne-compatible shell (e.g. bash or zsh). Notably, fish, tcsh and csh will not work.

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