User's Guide - 5. The Fink Configuration File

This chapter explains the settings available in the Fink configuration file (fink.conf) and how they influence the behaviour of Fink, specifically the fink command-line tool (i.e. mainly working with the source distribution).

5.1 About fink.conf

When Fink is initially installed it prompts you for the answers to some questions to set up your configuration file, such as which mirrors you want to use for downloading files and how to acquire super-user rights. You can re-run this process by calling the fink configure command. In order to set some options, you may need to edit your fink.conf file by hand. In general, these options are meant for advanced users only.

The fink.conf file is located at /opt/sw/etc/fink.conf, and can be edited in your favourite text editor. You will need super-user rights to edit it.

5.2 fink.conf syntax

Your fink.conf file consists of multiple lines, in the format:

OptionName: Value

Options are one per line, and the option name is separated from its value by a : and a single space. The contents of value depends on the option, but it is normally either a boolean ("True" or "False"), a string, or a list of strings delimited by a space. For example:

BooleanOption: True
StringOption: Something
ListOption: Option1 Option2 Option3

5.3 Required Settings

Some of the settings in the fink.conf file are mandatory. Without them Fink cannot function properly. The following settings belong to this category.

5.4 Optional User Settings

There are various optional settings which users can customize to change the behaviour of Fink.

5.5 Download Settings

There are various settings which influence the way Fink downloads package data.

5.6 Mirror Settings

Getting software from the Internet can be a tedious thing and often downloads are not as fast as we would like them to be. Mirror servers host copies of files available on other servers, but may have a faster connection to the Internet or be geographically closer to you, thus enabling you to download files faster. They also help reduce load on busy primary servers, for example, and they provide an alternative should one server not be reachable.

In order for Fink to pick the best mirror for you, you must tell it which continent and which country you reside in. If downloads from one server fail, it will prompt you if you want to retry from the same mirror, a different mirror in the same country or continent, or a different mirror anywhere in the world.

The fink.conf file holds settings about which mirrors you would like to use.

5.7 Developer Settings

Some options in the fink.conf file are only useful to developers. We do not recommend that conventional Fink users modify them. The following options fall into this category.

5.8 Advanced Settings

There are some other options which may be useful, but require some knowledge to get right.

5.9 Managing apt's sources.list file

Fink actively manages the file /opt/sw/etc/apt/sources.list which is used by apt to locate binary files for installation. The default sources.list file looks something like this, adjusted to match your Distribution and Trees:

# Local modifications should either go above this line, or at the end.
# Default APT sources configuration for Fink, written by the fink program

# Local package trees - packages built from source locally
# NOTE: this is automatically kept in sync with the Trees: line in 
# /opt/sw/etc/fink.conf
# NOTE: run 'fink scanpackages' to update the corresponding Packages.gz files
deb file:/opt/sw/fink local main
deb file:/opt/sw/fink stable main crypto

# Official binary distribution: download location for packages
# from the latest release
deb 10.3/release main crypto

# Official binary distribution: download location for updated
# packages built between releases
deb 10.3/current main crypto

# Put local modifications to this file below this line, or at the top.

With this default file, apt-get first looks in your local installation for already-compiled binaries, and then looks in the official binary distribution. You can alter this by making entries at the beginning of the file (which will be searched first) or at the end of the file (which will be searched last).

If you change your Trees line or the Distribution you are using, fink will automatically modify the "default" portion of the file to correspond to the new values. Fink will, however, preserve any local modifications you have made to the file, provided that you confine your modifications to the top of the file (above the first default line) and the bottom of the file (below the last default line).

Next: 6. Using the fink Tool from the Command Line