The Ports Collection is a set of
, patches, and description files.
Each set of these files is used to compile and install an individual application on FreeBSD, and is called a port.
By default, the Ports Collection itself is stored as a subdirectory of
Before an application can be compiled using a port, the Ports Collection must first be installed.
If it was not installed during the installation of FreeBSD, use one of the following methods to install it:
Procedure: Portsnap Method
The base system of FreeBSD includes
This is a fast and user-friendly tool for retrieving the Ports Collection and is the recommended choice for most users.
This utility connects to a FreeBSD site, verifies the secure key, and downloads a new copy of the Ports Collection.
The key is used to verify the integrity of all downloaded files.
. To download a compressed snapshot of the Ports Collection into
Portsnap for the first time, extract the snapshot into
After the first use of
Portsnap has been completed as shown above,
/usr/ports can be updated as needed by running:
# portsnap fetch
# portsnap update
extract or the
update operation may be run consecutively, like so:
Procedure: Subversion Method
If more control over the ports tree is needed or if local changes need to be maintained,
Subversion can be used to obtain the Ports Collection.
Refer to the
Subversion Primer for a detailed description of
Subversion must be installed before it can be used to check out the ports tree. If a copy of the ports tree is already present, install
Subversion like this:
# cd /usr/ports/devel/subversion
# make install clean
If the ports tree is not available, or
pkg is being used to manage packages,
Subversion can be installed as a package:
Check out a copy of the ports tree:
# svn checkout https://svn.FreeBSD.org/ports/head /usr/ports
As needed, update
/usr/ports after the initial
The Ports Collection contains directories for software categories.
Inside each category are subdirectories for individual applications.
Each application subdirectory contains a set of files that tells FreeBSD how to compile and install that program, called a ports skeleton.
Each port skeleton includes these files and directories:
Makefile : contains statements that specify how the application should be compiled and where its components should be installed.
distinfo : contains the names and checksums of the files that must be downloaded to build the port.
files/ : this directory contains any patches needed for the program to compile and install on FreeBSD. This directory may also contain other files used to build the port.
pkg-descr : provides a more detailed description of the program.
pkg-plist : a list of all the files that will be installed by the port. It also tells the ports system which files to remove upon deinstallation.
Some ports include
or other files to handle special situations.
For more details on these files, and on ports in general, refer to the FreeBSD
The port does not include the actual source code, also known as a
The extract portion of building a port will automatically save the downloaded source to
5.1. Installing Ports
This section provides basic instructions on using the Ports Collection to install or remove software.
The detailed description of available
make targets and environment variables is available in ports(7)
Before compiling any port, be sure to update the Ports Collection as described in the previous section.
Since the installation of any third-party software can introduce security vulnerabilities, it is recommended to first check https://vuxml.freebsd.org/ for known security issues related to the port.
pkg audit -F before installing a new port.
This command can be configured to automatically perform a security audit and an update of the vulnerability database during the daily security system check.
For more information, refer to pkg-audit(8)
Using the Ports Collection assumes a working Internet connection.
It also requires superuser privilege.
To compile and install the port, change to the directory of the port to be installed, then type
install at the prompt.
Messages will indicate the progress:
# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/lsof
# make install>> lsof_4.88D.freebsd.tar.gz doesn't seem to exist in /usr/ports/distfiles/.
>> Attempting to fetch from ftp://lsof.itap.purdue.edu/pub/tools/unix/lsof/.
===> Extracting for lsof-4.88
[extraction output snipped]
>> Checksum OK for lsof_4.88D.freebsd.tar.gz.
===> Patching for lsof-4.88.d,8
===> Applying FreeBSD patches for lsof-4.88.d,8
===> Configuring for lsof-4.88.d,8
[configure output snipped]
===> Building for lsof-4.88.d,8
[compilation output snipped]
===> Installing for lsof-4.88.d,8
[installation output snipped]
===> Generating temporary packing list
===> Compressing manual pages for lsof-4.88.d,8
===> Registering installation for lsof-4.88.d,8
===> SECURITY NOTE:
This port has installed the following binaries which execute with
lsof is a program that runs with increased privileges, a security warning is displayed as it is installed.
Once the installation is complete, the prompt will be returned.
Some shells keep a cache of the commands that are available in the directories listed in the
PATH environment variable, to speed up lookup operations for the executable file of these commands.
Users of the
tcsh shell should type
rehash so that a newly installed command can be used without specifying its full path.
hash -r instead for the
Refer to the documentation for the shell for more information.
During installation, a working subdirectory is created which contains all the temporary files used during compilation.
Removing this directory saves disk space and minimizes the chance of problems later when upgrading to the newer version of the port:
# make clean===> Cleaning for lsof-88.d,8
To save this extra step, instead use
install clean when compiling the port.
5.1.1. Customizing Ports Installation
Some ports provide build options which can be used to enable or disable application components, provide security options, or allow for other customizations.
Examples include www/firefox
, and mail/sylpheed-claws
If the port depends upon other ports which have configurable options, it may pause several times for user interaction as the default behavior is to prompt the user to select options from a menu.
To avoid this and do all of the configuration in one batch, run
make config-recursive within the port skeleton.
[clean] to compile and install the port.
config-recursive, the list of ports to configure are gathered by the
It is recommended to run
config-recursive until all dependent ports options have been defined, and ports options screens no longer appear, to be certain that all dependency options have been configured.
There are several ways to revisit a port’s build options menu in order to add, remove, or change these options after a port has been built.
One method is to
cd into the directory containing the port and type
Another option is to use
Another option is to execute
rmconfig which will remove all selected options and allow you to start over.
All of these options, and others, are explained in great detail in ports(7)
The ports system uses fetch(1)
to download the source files, which supports various environment variables.
FTP_PASSWORD variables may need to be set if the FreeBSD system is behind a firewall or FTP/HTTP proxy.
for the complete list of supported variables.
For users who cannot be connected to the Internet all the time,
make fetch can be run within
, to fetch all distfiles, or within a category, such as
, or within the specific port skeleton.
Note that if a port has any dependencies, running this command in a category or ports skeleton will not fetch the distfiles of ports from another category.
fetch-recursive to also fetch the distfiles for all the dependencies of a port.
In rare cases, such as when an organization has a local distfiles repository, the
MASTER_SITES variable can be used to override the download locations specified in the
When using, specify the alternate location:
# cd /usr/ports/directory
# make MASTER_SITE_OVERRIDE= \
PREFIX variables can override the default working and target directories.
# make WRKDIRPREFIX=/usr/home/example/ports install
will compile the port in
and install everything under
# make PREFIX=/usr/home/example/local install
will compile the port in
and install it in
# make WRKDIRPREFIX=../ports PREFIX=../local install
These can also be set as environmental variables.
Refer to the manual page for your shell for instructions on how to set an environmental variable.
5.2. Removing Installed Ports
Installed ports can be uninstalled using
Examples for using this command can be found in the pkg-delete(8)
make deinstall can be run in the port’s directory:
# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/lsofmake deinstall===> Deinstalling for sysutils/lsof
Deinstallation has been requested for the following 1 packages:
The deinstallation will free 229 kB
[1/1] Deleting lsof-4.88.d,8... done
It is recommended to read the messages as the port is uninstalled.
If the port has any applications that depend upon it, this information will be displayed but the uninstallation will proceed.
In such cases, it may be better to reinstall the application in order to prevent broken dependencies.
5.3. Upgrading Ports
Over time, newer versions of software become available in the Ports Collection.
This section describes how to determine which software can be upgraded and how to perform the upgrade.
To determine if newer versions of installed ports are available, ensure that the latest version of the ports tree is installed, using the updating command described in either Procedure: Portsnap Method or Procedure: Subversion Method.
On FreeBSD 10 and later, or if the system has been converted to
pkg, the following command will list the installed ports which are out of date:
For FreeBSD 9.
X and lower, the following command will list the installed ports that are out of date:
Before attempting an upgrade, read
from the top of the file to the date closest to the last time ports were upgraded or the system was installed.
This file describes various issues and additional steps users may encounter and need to perform when updating a port, including such things as file format changes, changes in locations of configuration files, or any incompatibilities with previous versions.
Make note of any instructions which match any of the ports that need upgrading and follow these instructions when performing the upgrade.
The Ports Collection contains several utilities to perform the actual upgrade.
Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Historically, most installations used either
Synth is a newer alternative.
The choice of which tool is best for a particular system is up to the system administrator.
It is recommended practice to back up your data before using any of these tools.
5.3.2. Upgrading Ports Using Portmaster
is a very small utility for upgrading installed ports.
It is designed to use the tools installed with the FreeBSD base system without depending on other ports or databases.
To install this utility as a port:
# cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portmaster
# make install clean
Portmaster defines four categories of ports:
Root port: has no dependencies and is not a dependency of any other ports.
Trunk port: has no dependencies, but other ports depend upon it.
Branch port: has dependencies and other ports depend upon it.
Leaf port: has dependencies but no other ports depend upon it.
To list these categories and search for updates:
# portmaster -L===>>> Root ports (No dependencies, not depended on)
===>>> New version available: screen-4.0.3_1
===>>> 7 root ports
===>>> Branch ports (Have dependencies, are depended on)
===>>> New version available: apache22-2.2.8
===>>> Leaf ports (Have dependencies, not depended on)
===>>> New version available: bash-3.2.33
===>>> 32 leaf ports
===>>> 137 total installed ports
===>>> 83 have new versions available
This command is used to upgrade all outdated ports:
Portmaster makes a backup package before deleting the existing port.
If the installation of the new version is successful,
Portmaster deletes the backup.
Portmaster not to automatically delete the backup.
Portmaster in interactive mode, prompting for confirmation before upgrading each port.
Many other options are available.
Read through the manual page for portmaster(8)
for details regarding their usage.
If errors are encountered during the upgrade process, add
-f to upgrade and rebuild all ports:
Portmaster can also be used to install new ports on the system, upgrading all dependencies before building and installing the new port.
To use this function, specify the location of the port in the Ports Collection:
More information about ports-mgmt/portmaster
may be found in its
5.3.3. Upgrading Ports Using Portupgrade
is another utility that can be used to upgrade ports.
It installs a suite of applications which can be used to manage ports.
However, it is dependent upon Ruby.
To install the port:
# cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portupgrade
# make install clean
Before performing an upgrade using this utility, it is recommended to scan the list of installed ports using
pkgdb -F and to fix all the inconsistencies it reports.
To upgrade all the outdated ports installed on the system, use
-i to be asked for confirmation of every individual upgrade:
To upgrade only a specified application instead of all available ports, use
to first upgrade all the ports required by the given application:
It is very important to include [option]-R`
-P is included,
Portupgrade searches for available packages in the local directories listed in
If none are available locally, it then fetches packages from a remote site.
If packages can not be found locally or fetched remotely,
Portupgrade will use ports.
To avoid using ports entirely, specify
This last set of options tells
Portupgrade to abort if no packages are available:
To just fetch the port distfiles, or packages, if
-P is specified, without building or installing anything, use
For further information on all of the available switches, refer to the manual page for
More information about ports-mgmt/portupgrade
may be found in its
5.4. Ports and Disk Space
Using the Ports Collection will use up disk space over time.
After building and installing a port, running
make clean within the ports skeleton will clean up the temporary
Portmaster is used to install a port, it will automatically remove this directory unless
-K is specified.
Portupgrade is installed, this command will remove all
directories found within the local copy of the Ports Collection:
In addition, outdated source distribution files accumulate in
Portupgrade to delete all the distfiles that are no longer referenced by any ports:
Portupgrade can remove all distfiles not referenced by any port currently installed on the system:
Portmaster is installed, use:
# portmaster --clean-distfiles
By default, this command is interactive and prompts the user to confirm if a distfile should be deleted.
In addition to these commands, ports-mgmt/pkg_cutleaves
automates the task of removing installed ports that are no longer needed.