The Best Mac and Linux Command Line Tools And How to Install Them

This article is a short description on how to install key command line utilities that developers use everyday on Macintosh and Linux environments. The main CLI tools that will be shown are: Homebrew (Mac), Node and NPM, Bower, Gulp, Grunt and Tmux.

Installing Homebrew (Macintosh Systems)

Homebrew is ‘The missing package manager for OS X’. It is a great tool for downloading and installing packages straight from your command line. This is not needed on Linux distributions because they already have package managers installed by default such as apt-get or pacman . To install Homebrew, simply paste the following command in your terminal:

  • /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

In case you run into “Xcode Command Line Tools Missing” use the following to install it:

  • xcode-select --install

Installing NPM

NPM , or Node Package Manager, is another useful package manager for downloading mostly web tools. Downloading NPM will also install the Node.js framework.


  • Using Homebrew type: brew install node and NPM should have been installed.


  • Using apt-get first type: curl -sL | sudo -E bash - , then sudo apt-get install nodejs
  • Using pacman type: pacman -S nodejs npm
  • Using yum type: sudo yum install nodejs npm
  • Using dnf type: sudo dnf install nodejs
  • Using zypper type: sudo zypper install nodejs6

Installing Bower

Bower is a popular package manager that allows you to install front-end libraries. You can install it on Linux and Macintosh systems using npm with the following command:

  • npm install -g bower (Same command for both Linux and OS X)

Installing Gulp

Gulp is a framework and CLI tool that makes development faster and more enjoyable by automating tasks developers find themselves doing over, and over again. Also, you can install Gulp through npm :

  • npm install -g gulp-cli

And in individual project folders:

  • npm install --save-dev gulp

Installing Grunt

Grunt is another popular automation tool similar to Gulp . To install it, use npm again:

  • npm install -g grunt-cli

Installing Tmux

Tmux is a terminal multiplexer for Linux and Mac. It gives you the ability to have multiple sessions and windows in the same Bash window, and also lets you “detach” sessions that you can connect to through SSH, leaving all programs that were currently running, running.

To install on Linux:

  • sudo apt install tmux

And that’s that! With these tools your development process and content will be enjoyable and efficient. As you can see, the main tool to install is npm and it allows you to install many other great web oriented CLI tools.


Homebrew has really been helpful. Glad to see how well supported and successful it has become.

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