Hope this is the right place to ask the following question:

I want to install Octave on my Macbook Air, which means I need a package manager. I had Homebrew installed previously, but I got the impression the manager took a huge bite out of my (rather limited) HDD space, possibly as well (or even: mainly) due to the necessary libraries.

Any advice on which OS X package manager I should get if HDD space is the main concern, and any advice how to use it to limit space impact?

  • brew is quite lightweight already because it assembles the packages from source (tgz files). You might as well use pre-compiled binaries to install Octave, though: sourceforge.net/projects/octave/files/Octave%20MacOSX%20Binary/… – beta Nov 2 '15 at 16:06
  • Thanks for both suggestions (Brew in general, and the binaries I seem to have missed...) If you care for the reputation, I will mark an answer as accepted if you add it. – Bert Zangle Nov 2 '15 at 16:30
  • It's ok I don't really care about reputation over here due to inactivity. Glad if it helped. ;) – beta Nov 3 '15 at 8:25

The size of your package manager will be trivial (20 MB) compared to the data it needs for your packages (golang clocks in at 250 MB, node at 37 MB). I'd say stick with Homebrew and work with it if you find some libraries are causing large space usages.

My thoughts are what specifically are your HDD space concerns? You could install brew and the files it needs on an external volume, but my guess is you have other files that could be co-located elsewhere - even on an SD card if you can't accommodate these files on the boot volume.

Here are some target numbers for a clean install of OS X 10.11 with the store Xcode and homebrew installed.

  • 5.4 GB for /System
  • 5.1 GB for /private _( most of that is the RAM sleep image on a 16 GB Mac)
  • 2.4 GB for /Library
  • 1.1 GB for /Applications (and you could need an additional 5 GB for the full Xcode if you wish to carry that around - most of it isn't needed for command line and open source compilation)
  • 0.3 GB for /Users

So between 14.5 GB of minimal filesystem usage to 20 GB if you carry all of Xcode simulators and SDK for iOS, tvOS, Mac OS that are easily thinned if you only want command line tools.

Basically, even if you have a high cost/low storage capacity 64 GB SSD drive to boot your Mac, it's likely not full of system or tools, but what you've brought to run.

  • Thanks. You're right of course, it's not /just/ homebrew that clogs up my disk. One additional question, if you don't mind: Can I install homebrew without installing xcode at all? because right now, i neither have xcode nor homebrew. – Bert Zangle Nov 3 '15 at 9:07
  • @BertZangle Totally, the command line tools can come from many places. Just try running clang/gcc/git from the command line and you should be prompted to install the tools. See developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/technotes/tn2339/… for more details. Feel free to ask a follow on question with a specific error message and details if you can't get the tools installed without Xcode download. – bmike Nov 3 '15 at 14:33

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