If you have worked at all with Linux, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a package manager. Type a short command and instantly install software. Programming languages even have their own these days, for managing libraries. Ruby has RubyGems, Node has NPM, PHP has Composer and Python has pip.
If you work with those tools enough, the Mac OS’s blatant lack of a package manager will leave you frustrated when you need to install a package on your Mac.
Fortunately, there is an elegant third party option. Homebrew sets up a directory (the “Cellar”) where any packages you install will live, so as not to break things if there are conflicts with versions of packages Apple pre-installed, and it adds it to your shell path. From there, you can find packages with
brew search something and install them with
brew install something. Need
brew install wget and you’re done.
The number of headaches I’ve experienced with Homebrew is far lower than that of MacPorts, an older package manager that loves to fail compiles and create conflicts.