Acceptable Formulae

Some formulae should not go in homebrew/core. But there are additional Interesting Taps & Forks and anyone can start their own!

We try hard to avoid dupes in homebrew/core

Stuff that comes with macOS or libraries that are provided by RubyGems, CPAN or PyPi should not be duplicated. There are good reasons for this:

There are exceptions:

Examples

Formula Reason
ruby, python, perl People want newer versions
bash macOS’s bash is stuck at 3.2 because newer versions are licensed under GPLv3
zsh This was a mistake, but it’s too late to remove it
emacs, vim Too popular to move to dupes
subversion Originally added for 10.5, but people want the latest version
libcurl Some formulae require a newer version than macOS provides
openssl macOS’s openssl is deprecated & outdated
libxml2 Historically, macOS’s libxml2 has been buggy

We also maintain a tap that contains many duplicates not otherwise found in Homebrew.

We don’t like tools that upgrade themselves

Software that can upgrade itself does not integrate well with Homebrew’s own upgrade functionality.

We don’t like install-scripts that download things

Because that circumvents our hash-checks, makes finding/fixing bugs harder, often breaks patches and disables the caching. Almost always you can add a resource to the formula file to handle the separate download and then the installer script will not attempt to load that stuff on demand. Or there is a command-line switch where you can point it to the downloaded archive in order to avoid loading.

We don’t like binary formulae

Our policy is that formulae in the core tap (homebrew/core) must be open-source and either built from source or produce cross-platform binaries (e.g. Java). Binary-only formulae should go to Homebrew Cask.

Stable versions

Formulae in the core repository must have a stable version tagged by the upstream project. Tarballs are preferred to Git checkouts, and tarballs should include the version in the filename whenever possible.

We don’t accept software without a tagged version because they regularly break due to upstream changes and we can’t provide bottles for them.

Bindings

First check that there is not already a binding available via gem or pip etc.

If not, then put bindings in the formula they bind to. This is more useful to people. Just install the stuff! Having to faff around with foo-ruby, foo-perl etc. sucks.

Niche (or self-submitted) stuff

The software in question must be:

We will reject formulae that seem too obscure, partly because they won’t get maintained and partly because we have to draw the line somewhere.

We frown on authors submitting their own work unless it is very popular.

Don’t forget Homebrew is all Git underneath! Maintain your own tap if you have to!

There may be exceptions to these rules in the main repository; we may include things that don’t meet these criteria or reject things that do. Please trust that we need to use our discretion based on our experience running a package manager.

Stuff that builds an .app

Don’t make your formula build an .app (native macOS Application); we don’t want those things in Homebrew (but Homebrew Cask does). Make it build a command-line tool or a library.

Sometimes there are exceptions

Even if all criteria are met we may not accept the formula. Documentation tends to lag behind current decision-making. Although some rejections may seem arbitrary or strange they are based on years of experience making Homebrew work acceptably for our users.

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