I'm wondering if it is possible (and if so, how) to install Homebrew package manager to
/usr directory rather than
/usr/local directory. I have macOS High Sierra.
One way is to modify the
install.sh script in homebrew git source and change
HOMEBREW_PREFIX to point to whereever you want homebrew to install.
In my case, I've decided to use
/usr/local2, because of some restrictions on
/usr/local in OSX Catalina, so modify
HOMEBREW_REPOSITORY=/usr/local2/Homebrew before running
Two problems you have to watch:
- Some packages insist on installing in
/usr/localunless you manually hunt down and modify the source (not trivial)
- Installing in a directory that already has similar/equal files can overwrite them and render your system unstable. Especially
/usr, where a lot of system commands exist there, which you never want to replace at all.
This is a bad idea if your goal is to be productive and use that tool as designed and documented. But you can learn a ton by disabling SIP on a test machine and seeing what breaks when you modify the tool. If your goal is to learn, go for it. Here is why it’s likely “non-optimal” or “extra work” to force your modifications into
/usr and some very good resources on the history of where to add customizations on unix.
/usr via system integrity protection and the closest place to / that’s encouraged to write files is
Debates about package managers (and the people that write and spend a lot of time using them) can be passionate (and sometimes prickly). Where to store Unix or command line files can be as opinionated in terms of preference as those debating text editors like
[ed|sed|vi|emacs|nano|pico] as compared to newer programming editors with more graphical features. Choosing for what you intend to optimize and how you prefer to learn and work is a highly personal choice and not something that is strictly right or wrong.
- What is standard for OS X filesystem? e.g. /opt/ vs. /usr/
- Has Unix directory usage or policy changed in High Sierra?
- Where should I install new (source code) software on a Mac?
This answer particularly has some good thinking and clear discussion as well as the above questions. There would have to be a very compelling basis to diverge from the standard for homebrew even if you didn’t but heads with Apple on SIP in the process (which is what happens in
With the introduction of ARM and Intel tooling to Homebrew, the defaults are now
usr/local for brewing.