Taps are external sources of Homebrew formulae, casks and/or external commands. They can be created by anyone to provide their own formulae, casks and/or external commands to any Homebrew user.
A tap is usually a Git repository available online, but you can use anything as long as it’s a protocol that Git understands, or even just a directory with files in it. If hosted on GitHub, we recommend that the repository’s name start with
homebrew- so the short
brew tap command can be used. See the
brew manual page for more information on repository naming.
brew tap-new command can be used to create a new tap along with some template files.
Tap formulae follow the same format as the core’s ones, and can be added under either the
Formula subdirectory, the
HomebrewFormula subdirectory or the repository’s root. The first available directory is used, other locations will be ignored. We recommend the use of subdirectories because it makes the repository organisation easier to grasp, and top-level files are not mixed with formulae.
See homebrew/core for an example of a tap with a
If a formula in your tap has the same name as a Homebrew/homebrew-core formula they cannot be installed side-by-side. If you wish to create a different version of a formula that’s in Homebrew/homebrew-core (e.g. with
options) consider giving it a different name; e.g.
nginx-full for a more full-featured
nginx formula. This will allow both
nginx-full to be installed at the same time (assuming one is
keg_only or the linked files do not clash).
If it’s on GitHub, users can install any of your formulae with
brew install user/repo/formula. Homebrew will automatically add your
github.com/user/homebrew-repo tap before installing the formula.
user/repo/formula points to the
github.com/user/homebrew-repo/**/formula.rb file here.
To install your tap without installing any formula at the same time, users can add it with the
brew tap command. If it’s on GitHub, they can use
brew tap user/repo, where
user is your GitHub username and
homebrew-repo is your repository. If it’s hosted outside of GitHub, they have to use
brew tap user/repo <URL>, where
repo will be used to refer to your tap and
<URL> is your Git clone URL.
Users can then install your formulae either with
brew install foo if there’s no core formula with the same name, or with
brew install user/repo/foo to avoid conflicts.
A tap is just a Git repository so you don’t have to do anything specific when making modifications, apart from committing and pushing your changes.
Once your tap is installed, Homebrew will update it each time a user runs
brew update. Outdated formulae will be upgraded when a user runs
brew upgrade, like core formulae.
Casks can also be installed from a tap. Casks can be included in taps with formulae, or in a tap with just casks. Place any cask files you wish to make available in a
Casks directory at the top level of your tap.
See homebrew/cask for an example of a tap with a
Unlike formulae, casks must have globally unique names to avoid clashes. This can be achieved by e.g. prepending the cask name with your github username:
You can provide your tap users with custom
brew commands by adding them in a
cmd subdirectory. Read more on external commands.
See homebrew/aliases for an example of a tap with external commands.
Some upstream software providers like to package their software in their own Homebrew tap. When their software is eligible for Homebrew/homebrew-core we prefer to maintain software there for ease of updates, improved discoverability and use of tools such as formulae.brew.sh.
We are not willing to remove software packaged in Homebrew/homebrew-core in favour of an upstream tap. We are not willing to instruct users in our formulae to use your formulae instead. If upstream projects have issues with how Homebrew packages your software: please file issues (or, ideally, pull requests) to address these problems.
There’s an increasing desire in commercial open source about “maintaining control” e.g. defining exactly what binaries are shipping to users. Not supporting users (or even software distributions) to build-from-source is antithetical to the values of open source. If you think Homebrew’s perspective is annoying on this: try and see how Debian responds to requests to ship your binaries.