Mac OS X Installation Instructions That Don't Suck! (Rails, Lighttpd, MySQL, Apache2, PHP5)

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I had to reinstall my computer the other day, it’s needed it for a while (mostly because I’ve installed every stupid program I could get my hands on for the last 6 months). I haven’t wanted to reinstall because I had a “working” install of Rails and I remembered how hard it was to install last time.

After reinstalling OS X 10.4.5, I started looking for some good instructions on installing Rails. A google search will quickly find about 15 different “suggestions”. Many people suggest using Fink or Darwinports … others have different ways of doing.

Then, I found somewhere on the Rails site, a link to these instructions by Dan Benjamin. Finally, instructions for installing Rails on OS X that don’t suck! Sure, you have to compile most of the apps yourself, but in the end, you get a solid Rails, Lighttpd, MySQL install that should be safe from OS upgrades and the likes. Besides that, you get to learn something along the way.

Following Dan’s suggestion, I also wanted to find a way to install Apache 2 and PHP 5 into /usr/local/. I searched around a bit and found a tutorial by James Pelow over at I used his instructions as a base for installing Apache 2 and PHP 5. I made sure to download the newest versions of software (the ones he listed are a bit old) and also make sure to install everything in /usr/local/ — works like a charm!

So, now I have a working Apache2/PHP5/MySQL/SQLite setup and also a working Rails/Lighttpd/MySQL setup on the same mac (mini) … and for once, I actually have the feeling that I understand what I’ve done and why it works.