Mac OS X and server-ish software

Mac OS X Tools

I’ve owned a Macbook Pro before…it wasn’t a great experience, but it was acceptable. It was during a period of my career when my primary job was to communicate with other developers and to evangelize Java. The Macbook worked in that environment.

Now my needs are different, but I find myself using another Macbook Pro. Fine machine, don’t get me wrong…but I have to admit that I’m a bit lost regarding how to update the tools that were preloaded with the OS. For example, I find most of the common tools on this machine:

  • perl
  • php
  • apache http server
  • java

In all cases, these tools exist but are outdated in some way. They have newer versions that have features that I’m interested in, and I want to upgrade.

The question now is simple…what is the best way to find and upgrade these types of developer tools in a Mac OS X environment? Colleagues have mentioned “fink” and “Macports”. Are there other sources of Mac OS X software ports for these common developer tools? Do those sources place the new tools in the same locations used by the old tools, effectively replacing them in the system? Or do they place the new tools in a separate, different location?

I’ll find out the answers to these questions on my own as well, but I’m curious if you have tips and suggestions before I get too far down my own newbie path.

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