Goodbye Old Proprietary Friend...
I've been using MAMP Pro for some years now for my local Drupal development environment in Mac OS X. The prospect of MAMP is alluring, it promises point and click creation of website environments locally on your Mac with database, Apache and all. But the reality is that MAMP is a proprietary software wrapper which in the end turns out to be pretty buggy. This past year, the MAMP website was down for several days with not a peep out of them on Twitter so this was probably a sign to move on. With the latest upgrade for Mac OS X (10.8.2), my MAMP Pro installation broke and I was not able to fix it after hours of hair pulling. I checked in the MAMP forums and several users were having similar issues but there were no real answers to be had. I am sure I could have emailed for support but at this point, I was so done with MAMP.
Hurrah For Open Source, Long Live Open Source!
So I got fed up with all this malarkey and I figured that if I am developing using open source software with Drupal, it would be a good idea to make the effort to be all open source with my local server stack. It turns out this was not that much of a stretch and there is a great tutorial for Mac OS X 10.8 I followed the steps in that post and it worked well. Props to Apple for having Apache and PHP built in to Mountain Lion and pretty easy to get going. Activating PHP involves the 'ardious' task of uncommenting out one line of code but you will probably want to tweak your php.ini as well.
I created my own custom my.cnf file for better MySQL defaults, but I had to use a bit of Google-Foo to find some optimal settings. I placed the file in /etc and restarted MySQL and now my custom my.cnf settings were recognized. I also created a launch page in my "Sites" directory with all my local Drupal dev sites. If I go to localhost/~my_username/ in my browser, my custom launch page comes up. To achieve this, simply place an index.html page at the root of that directory, edit it by adding all your local dev links and you are good to go. In OS X, if you are not sure of your actual username, go to terminal and type whoami and you will then see your username.
Stable and Fast
So far, this new setup seems really stable and fast. I am using and getting more comfortable with Terminal to run some mysql and apache commands but I am used to this after finally getting dialed in to Drush and Git. The bottom line is, it feels more cool now when I am theming with Drupal knowing that I have left the ungainly mess of proprietary behind.