updated ports tree

Danny MacMillan flowers at users.sourceforge.net
Fri Apr 23 18:38:42 PDT 2004

On Fri, 23 Apr 2004 23:41:36 +0000, Killermink ! <killermink at hotmail.com> 

> I see what your saying and i suppose I have two points:
> 1) Can you install a port without installing the ports tree?

Ports can not be installed without first being built, and the ports tree 
is what enables you to build a port.  Short answer: no.

Somewhat longer answer:  If your concern is disk space, in theory it would 
be possible, I think, to install only that subset of the ports tree 
required to build the port you are interested in, but that task is 
non-trivial.  Most ports depend on other ports, which themselves depend on 
other ports, and so on.  One of the advantages of the ports tree is that 
having it available means you do not have to resolve those dependencies 
manually.  I don't think if you install an individual port it would be 
smart enough to resolve these dependencies automatically (but I've never 
tried to do it that way).  If not, you would have to untar the part of the 
ports tree containing the port you wish to build, then attempt to install 
it.  Then handle each of the inevitable errors in turn, untarring 
progressively more of the ports tree until you get it to the point where 
it will install your port. I don't think this is the best way to go, but I 
would be interested to know if and how well it works.

If you go to http://www.freebsd.org/ports/ you can browse the ports 
collection online and download individual tarballs for each port.  Each 
port also lists its dependencies so you can see how big of a task you 
might be letting yourself in for.

Alternative answer:  The ports tree, while generally very efficient, is 
just one way of installing software on your FreeBSD system.  If source is 
available for the software you want to install, you can try downloading it 
directly from the developer and building it yourself.  If they haven't 
built with FreeBSD in mind, you may have to patch the source to get it to 
build and you'll still have to resolve dependencies manually.  That's why 
most people prefer ports :)

> 2) If you must install the ports tree, what is the best way to keep it 
> up to date?

I use CVSup and I think most others do, too:


> I am still new at this, and can't seem to find packages for all the 
> ports in the tree...

My understanding is this:  That there aren't packages for all the ports in 
the tree, but that there are many more packages available on the ftp 
site(s) than ship on the CD.  If you browse the ports collection online 
you'll be able to download packages for many (most?) of the ports.  If you 
would really rather not install the ports tree, I'd invest some time in 
looking for the package you want to install.  Odds are pretty good it's 


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