I’m doing some screen-scraping using Selenium, a framework which lets you programmatically control web browsers on your system. I’m running it as part of a web app on a Linux server, and on my MacBook Pro for when I’m writing the web app.

On my server, Selenium uses Firefox headlessly (by using Xvfb instead of a real display). I’d like to do the same thing locally, so that I don’t have Firefox windows popping up all the time whilst I’m writing and testing Selenium code. In order to do this, I need to install the X11 version of Firefox on my Mac.

I’ve seen a lot of references to MacPorts and Fink, but is there a way to just install the X11 version of Firefox, rather than installing MacPorts or Fink just for this one-off?

  • Out of curiosity, why are you shying away from MacPorts? I can't speak for Fink, but I always put MacPorts on my machines right away so I can use get ports when I need to. If I get an app for one-time use, I usually just uninstall it after I'm done with it. Mar 14, 2011 at 16:38
  • 1. The website was down for a while today when I was trying to look into it — didn’t inspire confidence. 2. I get the feeling that both MacPorts and Fink are a bit hard to remove afterwards, and generally a bit faffy and not very Mac-like. (See MacPorts’ uninstall instructions and Fink’s “Fink is not a one-click-and-done thing”). I’d prefer a binary I can stick in /usr/local/bin and forget about — not sure if that’s realistic for an app like Firefox though. Mar 14, 2011 at 17:11
  • Removing fink is rm -fR /sw and nothing else should remain.
    – user588
    Mar 14, 2011 at 17:30
  • 3
    As for "not Mac-like"... you want to run X11 apps, Xvfb, etc. I'm not understanding why something un-mac-ish is a problem.
    – user588
    Mar 14, 2011 at 17:33
  • 3
    Firefox requires a Window library to be linked with e.g. QT, Gnome and so will need a lot of other code so using Macports/Fink would save time
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 15, 2011 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


Firefox requires a Window library to be linked with e.g. QT, Gnome and several other C libraries. Thus to build it will need a lot of other code so I think using Homebrew/Macports/Fink would save time.

If you want any other X11 apps then Homebrew/Macports/Fink is likely to be the easiest way to get them.

Also as per @Nathan G. I have found installing Macports not to be difficult.

  • Nowadays Homebrew is the best alternative for MacPorts/Fink. Feb 25, 2016 at 16:53
  • @ᴠɪɴᴄᴇɴᴛ why - I still think macports is better - first as it issues its own user and directory - until hombrew fixes that I can't look at it - but agreed it should be listed as an alternative
    – mmmmmm
    Feb 25, 2016 at 16:55
  • Indeed I mainly wanted to mention it as a serious alternative. ‘Best’ is subjective. I prefer it because of the user experience and the broadness of its ‘recipes’ (applications available for installation). Feb 25, 2016 at 19:57

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