Homebrew is a free and open-source software package management system that simplifies the installation of software on Apple's macOS operating system and Linux. The name is intended to suggest the idea of building software on the Mac depending on the user's taste.
Homebrew is billed as the missing package manager for Mac OSX. It simplifies the task of installing terminal utilities
and graphical applications using the terminal window. It is designed to look and act like a typical
Homebrew has spawned several sub-projects such as Linuxbrew, a Linux port now officially merged into Homebrew; Homebrew Cask, which builds upon Homebrew and focuses on the installation of GUI applications and "taps" dedicated to specific areas or programming languages and Frameworks like PHP & NodeJS etc.
There are a few reasons you might want to opt to use Linuxbrew instead of your system’s standard package manager.
First, there is no need to use
sudo to install packages. You don’t even necessarily need root privileges to install
Packages are installed in either your
$HOME directory or a Linuxbrew-specific home directory.
In order to install Linuxbrew, you will need to ensure that your system as the following dependencies are installed:
To ensure all these packages are installed use
sudo apt-get install build-essential curl file git
Once all dependencies have been installed, we can now install Linuxbrew.
Linuxbrew is not actually available in any Distro package managers and therefore we will need to make use of bash and curl to install the application. It is well worth taking the time to visit the Linuxbrew GitHub repository to check whether the instructions have changed.
At the time of writing the instructions were as follows:
sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Linuxbrew/install/master/install.sh)"
Once the command has completed then we need to add the following to our
~/.bashrc which can be done using any text
editor. Personally I tend to make use of
nano , so typically will use
nano ~/.bashrc to open the file for editing
and paste the code below, at the bottom of the file.
test -d ~/.linuxbrew && eval $(~/.linuxbrew/bin/brew shellenv) test -d /home/linuxbrew/.linuxbrew && eval $(/home/linuxbrew/.linuxbrew/bin/brew shellenv) test -r ~/.bash_profile && echo "eval \$($(brew --prefix)/bin/brew shellenv)" >>~/.bash_profile echo "eval \$($(brew --prefix)/bin/brew shellenv)" >>~/.profile
Save and exit the file, then we can simply refresh the terminal window using either
. ~/.bashrc or closing and
open a terminal window
Homebrew makes it really easy to install, update and maintain various packages on your system which is really useful for developers.
A common use case for developers is to install various compilers or frameworks. For Node.JS developers they may need to install different versions of the Node to support a number of different projects. For this purpose, Node Version Manager (nvm) helps them to easily install and switch to different versions libraries on there machine.
Homebrew helps developers to easily install nvm to their machines. To install nvm using Homebrew use
brew install nvm
Once complete you will be prompted to edit your
~/.bashrc file to add the following
export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm" [ -s "$(brew --prefix)/opt/nvm/nvm.sh" ] && . "$(brew --prefix)/opt/nvm/nvm.sh" # This loads nvm [ -s "$(brew --prefix)/opt/nvm/etc/bash_completion.d/nvm" ] && . "$(brew --prefix)/opt/nvm/etc/bash_completion.d/nvm" # This loads nvm bash_completion
Save and Exit your
~/.bashrc file and then refresh your current terminal window using
. ~/.bashrc and nvm is ready
for use. You can check your version of nvm using
Homebrew has loads of useful packages. You can view the list of packages available using
This will display a long and overwhelming list of packages that are available
The list can also be viewed at Homebrew Formulae
If you would like to search for a package via description you can use
brew search --desc "manage multiple node"
This will return all the packages that will help to manage multiple node versions. To get more information about a particular package, in our case we want to learn more about nvm we can use.
brew info nvm
If you want a list of commands that are available for use in Homebrew, you can simply use
In addition to the help command-line switch, Linuxbrew also has a detailed instruction manual available. To view it use
Homebrew is a tool that makes it even easier to install applications on Linux. It is not intended to replace the traditional package managers, but rather works as a complement to them.