How to tailor installation set?

Bill Moran wmoran at
Fri Jun 13 06:55:31 PDT 2003

Steve Coile wrote:
> I'm relatively new to FreeBSD, having come into a position administering
> it only a few months ago.  My experience is primarily with Red Hat Linux
> and Solaris.  Please bear with me.
> On several other Unix variants which which I have experience, I could
> safely remove components of the operating system using the package
> management system.
> For instance, if I don't want Emacs installed, I could instruct the
> package management system (e.g. RPM) to remove Emacs, and all of the
> files associated with Emacs would be removed.
> Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a way to remove individual
> components from FreeBSD.  I noticed that I can choose not to install some
> (broad-based) components at the initial system installation.
> Is there a way to cleanly remove select components from the system
> after installation?

Depends on the component and how the previous admin handled things.  Most
FreeBSD users use the ports/package system to add/remove programs.  The
docs are very good:

However, some parts of FreeBSD are part of "distribution sets" (such as
man pages, source and ports tree)  I don't know of any automated way to
remove these from the system.

Some things are fairly straightforward.  If you want to remove the ports
tree, it's just 'rm -r /usr/ports/*'.  Others may be more involved.

Since FreeBSD comes with all the tools necessary to build your own software,
it's also possible that the previous admin didn't use ports/packages, which
means removing the software will depend on the particular software itself.
But this is a danger with all Unix-like systems.

Bill Moran
Potential Technologies

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