Makefile knobs

Randy Pratt bsd-unix at
Tue Feb 6 14:57:14 UTC 2007

On Tue, 6 Feb 2007 14:14:29 +0100
"n j" <nino80 at> wrote:

> Hello,
> I have a question regarding the various knobs one can set while
> building a port. The problem as I see it is that the user usually has
> to be a makefile lingo expert (okay, not an expert, but you catch my
> drift) to decipher all the various options and set perhaps only the
> one he really needs. So, my question is: is there a port that does
> that for you? Reads makefile options from a makefile and prints them
> out in a nicely ordered way to you? If there's no such port, is it
> actually possible to create one (meaning is it possible to get needed
> information from a makefile in an automated fashion)?

The "portsopt" might be what you're looking for:

  Shows WITH(OUT)-knobs of a port makefile and if you want also
  the knobs of all port dependencies.


It has recently moved from the sysutils category to ports-mgmt
category.  Its location will depend on when you last updated your
ports tree.  While it will show various knobs, their purpose may
not be apparent without further investigation.

There are quite a few ports that have an options screen which you
can access by first doing a "make config" before building and
selecting options. It will store those options in /var/db/ports/...
directories and use them for future builds ("man 7 ports" for more
info).  I would suspect that more ports will use this approach in the



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