FreeBSD Using the Ports Collection

The Ports Collection is a set of Makefiles, 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 /usr/ports.

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:

Portsnap Method:

The base system of FreeBSD includes Portsnap. 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.

  1. To download a compressed snapshot of the Ports Collection into /var/db/portsnap:

    # portsnap fetch
  2. When running Portsnap for the first time, extract the snapshot into /usr/ports:

    # portsnap extract
  3. 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

    When using fetch, the extract or the update operation may be run consecutively, like so:

    # portsnap fetch update