Uninstalling Brew to Reinstall Brew

July 31, 2012

Homebrew rocks as a package management tool for Max OS X. Except when it doesn't.

A couple of days ago when I ran

brew doctor

I got a whole slew of messages instead of the

$ brew doctor
Your system is raring to brew.

output that I expected. The primary issue centered around a file called voldemort.rb. I have no idea what in my collection of brews required that formula. Rather than go through a potentially lengthy debugging session to figure out how to untangle the mess I decided to just wipe out brew and reinstall everything.

I started by making a list of all the brews I had installed

$ brew list > ~/Desktop/brews.txt

Next quick Google search lead me to Uninstalling brew (so I can reinstall) by Eneko Alonso. His posting neatly outlined these steps for removing brew from your system:

$ cd `brew --prefix`
$ rm -rf Cellar
$ brew prune
$ rm -rf Library .git .gitignore bin/brew README.md share/man/man1/brew
$ rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/Homebrew

To install brew again:

$ /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(/usr/bin/curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/master/Library/Contributions/install_homebrew.rb)"

Next up you need to reinstall any brews you had on hand. Since doing this to my laptop my brew doctor output is clean and raring to go.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.