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24.1. Package Managers

A package management system uses a local database to keep track of software packages installed on the machine and the dependencies that run among them. New packages consult this database to see if other packages whose presence they depend upon are already installed, and they assist with package uninstalls by remembering the location of all the files and directories involved during installation (as well as alerting you in case other installed packages depend upon this one, so that removing it would break all of them).

At the time of this writing, Mac OS X is still quite a young OS (despite its ancient Unix roots), so what few package management systems exist are still struggling down the road toward maturity. That said, users willing to spend a little extra time behind the Terminal can expand their Mac's software repetoire safely.


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