Homebrew (package management software)

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Homebrew’s logo
The help output for the brew command running in the Terminal
The help output for the brew command running in the Terminal
Original author(s)Max Howell
Initial release21 May 2009; 9 years ago (2009-05-21)[1]
Stable release
2.0.0 / 2 February 2019; 49 days ago (2019-02-02)[2]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inRuby
Operating systemmacOS, Linux
Available inEnglish
TypePackage manager
LicenseBSD license

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 means building software on your Mac depending on taste. Originally written by Max Howell, the package manager has gained popularity in the Ruby on Rails community and earned praise for its extensibility.[3] Homebrew has been recommended for its ease of use[4] as well as its integration into the command line.[5] Homebrew is a non-profit project member of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and is run entirely by unpaid volunteers.[6]

Homebrew has made extensive use of GitHub to expand the support of several packages through user contributions. In 2010, Homebrew was the third-most-forked repository on GitHub.[7] In 2012, Homebrew had the largest number of new contributors on GitHub.[8] In 2013, Homebrew had both the largest number of contributors and issues closed of any project on GitHub.[9]

Home-brew has spawned several sub-projects such as Linuxbrew, which is a Linux port,[10] Homebrew Cask, which builds upon Homebrew and focuses on the installation of GUI applications,[11] and "taps" dedicated to specific areas or programming languages like PHP.[12]


Homebrew was written by Max Howell in 2009.[1][13] In March 2013, Homebrew successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for servers to test and build formulae and managed to raise £14,859.[14] On December 13, 2013, the Homebrew repository migrated from Howell's GitHub account to its own project account.[15] In February 2015, due to downtime at SourceForge which resulted in binaries being unavailable, Homebrew moved their hosting to bintray.[16] On September 21, 2016, Homebrew version 1.0.0 was released.[17] As of December 2018, Homebrew is maintained by a team of 21 people.[6] In January 2019, Linuxbrew was merged back into Homebrew, adding beta support for Linux and the Windows Subsystem for Linux to Homebrew’s feature set.[18] On February 2, 2019, Homebrew version 2.0.0 was released.[19]


Homebrew is written in the Ruby programming language and targets the version of Ruby that comes installed with the macOS operating system. It is by default installed into /usr/local and consists of a git repository, allowing the user to update Homebrew by pulling an updated repository from GitHub. The package manager builds software from source using "formulae", Ruby scripts constructed with Homebrew's domain specific language (DSL) for managing dependencies, downloading source files, and configuring and compiling software. Binary packages called "bottles" provide pre-built formulae with default options.

Homebrew does not honor the default privileges of /usr/local; directory ownership is changed from root with group permissions for the wheel group to the installing user and the "admin" group. All files, not just the directories, have their ownership changed by the installer.

Data collection[edit]

Homebrew collects installation, build error, and operating system version statistics via Google Analytics.[20] It is possible to opt out with the command brew analytics off.[20]

Users can view analytics data from the last 30, 90, and 365 days on the Homebrew website.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Homebrew release 0.1 on GitHub
  2. ^ Homebrew release 2.0.0 on GitHub
  3. ^ Arko, Andre. "Homebrew: OS X's Missing Package Manager". Engine Yard blog. Engine Yard. Archived from the original on July 8, 2015.
  4. ^ Hoffman, Chris. "Homebrew for OS X Easily Installs Desktop Apps and Terminal Utilities". How-to Geek. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  5. ^ Terpstra, Brett. "Homebrew, the perfect gift for command line lovers". Engadget. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b McQuaid, Mike. "Homebrew/brew/README.md". GitHub. Archived from the original on 5 November 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Popular Forked Repositories". GitHub. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  8. ^ "The Octoverse in 2012". GitHub.
  9. ^ "GitHub Octoverse 2013".
  10. ^ "Linuxbrew". Linuxbrew. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  11. ^ "Homebrew-Cask". caskroom. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Homebrew/homebrew-php". GitHub. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  13. ^ Howell, Max. "I'll start with a rare Belgian yeast and Sussex hops". GitHub. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  14. ^ "brew test-bot". Kickstarter. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  15. ^ @MacHomebrew (11 December 2013). "This Saturday morning at 0100 GMT we will be migrating Homebrew" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ @MacHomebrew (23 February 2015). "Homebrew's bottles (binary packages) are now hosted by @bintray" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ Homebrew release 1.0.0 on GitHub
  18. ^ "Homebrew 1.9.0". Homebrew. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  19. ^ McQuaid, Mike. "2.0.0". Homebrew. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Homebrew's Anonymous Aggregate User Behaviour Analytics". GitHub. 20 September 2016. Archived from the original on 26 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Homebrew Analytics Data". Homebrew. Retrieved 1 November 2018.

External links[edit]