How-To: Install Ethereal on OS X 10.4 (Tiger)

This procedure uses DarwinPorts instead of Fink for no real reason. Fink may be better than DarwinPorts, or vice versa, but I’m not interested in religious wars. You (your user account) must have admin privileges on your OS X machine to do this stuff. Whenever you are to type any ‘sudo’ command listed below, you may have to supply your account password when prompted.

Update March 6, 2007: You must have the Xcode Tools installed on your Mac for the gcc compiler. Otherwise, things won’t work. I missed this critical step in the instructions because I already had the developer tools installed on both home and work Macs, so it didn’t bark at me on the rsync step.

The first next thing you should do is install X11. This can be found on your original OS X installation discs, and involves your standard OS X installation dance (agree to the terms, type your password, choose the volume, etcetera).

Now, go download DarwinPorts:
http://darwinports.com/download/ (link fixed on July 10, 2007)

When the download finishes, double-click the DMG file to mount the disk image. Once mounted, double-click the .pkg file inside to launch the installer. Standard OS X installation dance redux.

The installation may appear to hang for a bit, but don’t interrupt it… it’s working. Once the installation is complete, launch Terminal.app.

Update June 27, 2007: Before running the selfupdate below–and if you’re using an Intel-based Mac–I had to install the X11SDK from the OS X Installation Disc before the selfupdate would complete, as it was throwing errors on Bad Headers.

Make sure your version of DarwinPorts is up-to-date by running:

sudo port -d selfupdate

Update: On the home Mac, I had to do:

sudo /opt/local/bin/port -d selfupdate

It’ll do a little bit of rsync action and finish up for you.

Next, install the ethereal package by entering:

sudo port install ethereal

Now, go have a beer or two because it will then proceed with fetching, checksum verification, extraction, configuration, building, staging, installing, activating, and finally cleaning a large number of other packages to fulfill dependencies specified for the ethereal package itself.

Running on a 1.8GHz PPC G5 with 1 gig RAM, it took well over two hours with a T1 Internet connection. Who knows how long it really takes; I left it running after leaving the office for the day.

This was the first-ever package I installed using DarwinPorts, so there may be some fundamental packages installed alongside those required by ethereal, but I have no idea. Here’s the full list and order of packages installed: expat, libiconv, gettext, pkgconfig, glib2, atk, zlib, libpng, freetype, fontconfig, render, xrender, Xft2, cairo, pango, jpeg, tiff, gtk2, libpcap, openssl, ethereal.

Launch the X11.app, which is usually found in Applications > Utilities. When the tiny terminal window (labeled xterm) appears, enter:

sudo fc-cache

That will build up the font cache, and only needs to be run once before launching ethereal for the first time.

Finally, to launch ethereal, run:

sudo /opt/local/bin/ethereal

That’s it.

You’ll have to figure out how to use ethereal on your own… because I’m going to go do that right now.

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