With perfect password manager, I thought I had the complete set of tools in my Mac for getting things done. But today I realized, I’d overlooked ethereal. I use it sometimes and it’s a gem without which it would be very difficult to solve some network problems. Ethereal is a free and open source packet sniffer application, used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and protocol development, and education. It has all of the standard features of a protocol analyzer.
I was happy to see Ethereal for Mac OS X listed at the top of the download page. But, was confused with the choice I had to make between Fink Project and DarwinPorts. I was not sure what they meant or which one was better. So, after Googling a while and reading the FAQs, I found that the number one goal of both projects were to port open source Linux/Unix softwares to Mac OS X. They just differ in the packaging approach they’ve taken. DarwinPorts was written from scratch to try a different approach to a packaging system, where as Fink Project utilizes robust package management tools dpkg and apt-get from Debian Linux Project . So, I decided to try ethereal with Fink Project and this is how I did it.
Apple’s X11 and XCode environment
Ethereal is a GUI application that requires some flavor of X11 on your Mac and Fink will need the developer tools to compile some packages from source. I’m using Mac OS X 10.4.7 and installed the X11 and XCode from the Tiger installation disc. It’s straight forward; you just need to run the installer and follow instructions.
Download the Fink installer disk image, there’s also a quick start guide in the download page to help you install the fink. Basically what you’ve to do is double-click "Fink-0.8.1-XYZ-Installer.dmg" to mount the disk image, then double-click the "Fink 0.8.1 XYZ Installer.pkg" package inside, and follow the instructions on screen. At the end, a pathsetup utility will ask for permission before your shell’s configuration files are edited. You should answer "Yes".
Install the FinkCommander GUI application included in the Fink package. This is done by dragging and dropping the FinkCommander.app to Applications folder. Then run the FinkCommander.app and choose the following commands from its menu: Source->scanpackages followed by Source->Utilities->index. If you are comfortable with command lines, you can achieve the same thing by opening a new Terminal window and running: "fink scanpackages; fink index"
After scanning and indexing of packages are completed, you can install any of the available packages from the list. To install ethereal — highlight the ethereal from the list, and choose Binary->Install. Or you can use the following command line to install: "fink install ethereal"
Download and install AquaEthereal, which provides a convenient way to launch ethereal in Mac OSX. After the installation, you can start the AquaEthereal.app from your Applications folder. This launches the X11 environment first, then prompts you for your password. Input your password, press ok and you’re ready to capture packets with ethereal.