Questions regarding portmaster's man page

Doug Barton dougb at
Fri Oct 2 19:27:52 UTC 2009

Christer Solskogen wrote:
> Hi!
> The man page for portmaster say this:
>  Alternatively you could use portmaster -a -f -D to do an ``in place''
>  update of your ports.  If that process is interrupted for any reason you
>  can use portmaster -a -f -D -R to avoid rebuilding ports already rebuilt
>  on previous runs.  However the first method (delete everything and rein-
>  stall) is preferred.
> I'm wondering why the first method is preferred.

First before I forget, in general it's always a good idea to send a
message to freebsd-questions at first if you're not sure what
list to send it to, so you didn't do anything wrong here. On the other
hand, if you have a question about a ports-related issue you should
probably send it to freebsd-ports at where you are more
likely to get a focused response.

That said, there are a couple of answers to your question. Even though
we try to be thorough with the ports system removing files after a
port is deinstalled there are occasionally problems so if you've had a
/usr/local populated with ports for a few years there is probably old
cruft in there that it would be good to remove.

The other answer is that doing an "in place" upgrade will inevitably
end up with some ports compiled against old libs, which is not a good
thing. Not to mention that there will likely be some dependencies left
over on your system that you don't need. The method described in
portmaster's man page encourages you to save a list of the "root" and
"leaf" ports you're using. These are the ports that are not depended
on by other ports, which generally means that they are the actual
applications you're using (like firefox, etc.). By telling portmaster
to install only these ports and letting the ports system handle the
dependencies for the new conditions you're likely to get a cleaner

Those are the two main reasons. There are occasionally other reasons,
such as the libusb problems with hal that people are experiencing
after upgrades to 8.0 that just make "delete and reinstall" the
cleaner option and the one that should be recommended most highly.

hope this helps,



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