The following sections cover some of the more frequently asked questions about the Ports collection and some basic troubleshooting techniques, and what do to if a port is broken.
A: Ah, you must be thinking of the serial ports on the back of your computer. We are using ``port'' here to mean the result of ``porting'' a program from one version of UNIX to another.
A: Yes, that is usually the quickest and easiest way of doing it.
A: Several reasons:
The licensing conditions of some software distributions forbids binary distribution. They must be distributed as source code.
Some people do not trust binary distributions. At least with source code, you can (in theory) read through it and look for potential problems yourself.
If you have local patches, you will need the source in order to apply them.
You might have opinions on how a program should be compiled that differ from the person who did the package---some people have strong views on what optimization settings should be used, whether to build debug versions and then strip them or not, etc., etc..
Some people like having code around, so they can read it if they get bored, hack it, borrow from it (license permitting, of course), and so on.
If you ain't got the source, it ain't software! ;-)
A: A patch is a small file that specifies how to go from one version of a file to another. It contains plain text, and basically says things like ``delete line 23'', ``add these two lines after line 468'', or ``change line 197 to this''. They are also known as diffs because they are generated by the diff program.
A: It is a file ending in .tar, or with variations such as .tar.gz, .tar.Z, .tar.bz2, and even .tgz.
Basically, it is a directory tree that has been archived into a single file (.tar) and optionally compressed (.gz). This technique was originally used for Tape ARchives (hence the name tar), but it is a widely used way of distributing program source code around the Internet.
You can see what files are in them, or even extract them yourself by using the standard UNIX tar program, which comes with the base FreeBSD system, like this:
% tar tvzf foobar.tar.gz % tar xzvf foobar.tar.gz % tar tvf foobar.tar % tar xvf foobar.tar
A: It is a number generated by adding up all the data in the file you want to check. If any of the characters change, the checksum will no longer be equal to the total, so a simple comparison will allow you to spot the difference.
# make install >> cku190.tar.gz doesn't seem to exist on this system. >> Attempting to fetch from ftp://kermit.columbia.edu/kermit/archives/.
Why can it not be found? Have I got a dud CDROM?
A: As was explained in the compiling ports from CDROM section, some ports are unable to be put on the CDROM set due to licensing restrictions. Kermit is an example of that. The licensing terms for kermit do not allow us to put the tarball for it on the CDROM, so you will have to fetch it by hand---sorry!
The reason why you got all those error messages was because you were not connected to the Internet at the time. Once you have downloaded it from any of the MASTER_SITES (listed in the Makefile), you can restart the install process.
A: The ports mechanism looks for the tarball in /usr/ports/distfiles, but you will not be able to copy anything there because it is symlinked to the CDROM, which is read-only. You can tell it to look somewhere else by doing:
# make DISTDIR=/where/you/put/it install
A: You can use the PORTSDIR and PREFIX variables to tell the ports mechanism to use different directories. For instance,
# make PORTSDIR=/u/people/guests/wurzburger/ports install
will compile the port in /u/people/guests/wurzburger/ports and install everything under /usr/local.
# make PREFIX=/u/people/guests/wurzburger/local install
will compile it in /usr/ports and install it in /u/people/guests/wurzburger/local.
And of course,
# make PORTSDIR=.../ports PREFIX=.../local install
will combine the two (it is too long to write fully on the page, but it should give you the general idea).
If you do not fancy typing all that in every time you install a port, it is a good idea to put these variables into your environment. Read the man page for your shell for instructions on doing so.
Q: I do not have a FreeBSD CDROM, but I would like to have all the tarballs handy on my system so I do not have to wait for a download every time I install a port. Is there any way to get them all at once?
A: To get every single tarball for the Ports collection, do:
# cd /usr/ports # make fetch
For all the tarballs for a single ports directory, do:
# cd /usr/ports/directory # make fetch
and for just one port---well, I think you have guessed already.
Q: I know it is probably faster to fetch the tarballs from one of the FreeBSD mirror sites close by. Is there any way to tell the port to fetch them from servers other than the ones listed in the MASTER_SITES?
A: Yes. If you know, for example, ftp.FreeBSD.org is much closer than sites listed MASTER_SITES, do as follows:
# cd /usr/ports/directory # make MASTER_SITE_OVERRIDE=ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/distfiles/ fetch
A: make fetch-list will display a list of the files needed for a port.
A: Doing make extract will stop it after it has fetched and extracted the source code.
A: Yep, make patch is what you want. You will probably find the PATCH_DEBUG option useful as well. And by the way, thank you for your efforts!
A: Yes, with version 2.6.3 of gcc (the version shipped with FreeBSD 2.1.0 and 2.1.5), the -O2 option could result in buggy code unless you used the -fno-strength-reduce option as well. (Most of the ports do not use -O2). You should be able to specify the compiler options used by something like:
# make CFLAGS='-O2 -fno-strength-reduce' install
or by editing /etc/make.conf, but unfortunately not all ports respect this. The surest way is to do make configure, then go into the source directory and inspect the Makefiles by hand, but this can get tedious if the source has lots of sub-directories, each with their own Makefiles.
A: Look in the INDEX file in /usr/ports. If you would like to search the ports collection for a keyword, you can do that too. For example, you can find ports relevant to the LISP programming language using:
% cd /usr/ports % make search key=lisp
A: The foo port needs something that is supplied with bar --- for instance, if foo uses graphics, bar might have a library with useful graphics processing routines. Or bar might be a tool that is needed to compile the foo port.
A: No problem, just do:
# pkg_delete grizzle-6.5
Alternatively, you can do:
# cd /usr/ports/somewhere/grizzle # make deinstall
A: Not at all, you can find it out by doing:
# pkg_info -a | grep grizzleInformation for grizzle-6.5: grizzle-6.5 - the combined piano tutorial, LOGO interpreter and shoot 'em up arc ade game.
A: Yes, if you have installed the program and are fairly certain you will not need the source again, there is no point in keeping it hanging around. The best way to do this is:
# cd /usr/ports # make clean
which will go through all the ports subdirectories and delete everything except the skeletons for each port.
A: Yes, if you are sure you have finished with them, those can go as well. They can be removed manually, or by using make distclean.
A: Just do:
# cd /usr/ports # make install
Q: OK, I tried that, but I thought it would take a very long time so I went to bed and left it to get on with it. When I looked at the computer this morning, it had only done three and a half ports. Did something go wrong?
A: No, the problem is that some of the ports need to ask you questions that we cannot answer for you (eg ``Do you want to print on A4 or US letter sized paper?'') and they need to have someone on hand to answer them.
A: OK, do this before you go to bed/work/the local park:
# cd /usr/ports # make -DBATCH install
This will install every port that does not require user input. Then, when you come back, do:
# cd /usr/ports # make -DIS_INTERACTIVE install
to finish the job.
Q: At work, we are using frobble, which is in your Ports collection, but we have altered it quite a bit to get it to do what we need. Is there any way of making our own packages, so we can distribute it more easily around our sites?
A: No problem, assuming you know how to make patches for your changes:
# cd /usr/ports/somewhere/frobble # make extract # cd work/frobble-2.8 [Apply your patches] # cd ../.. # make package
A: Nothing secret about it at all, just look at the bsd.port.mk and bsd.port.subdir.mk files in your makefiles directory.
Readers with an aversion to intricate shell-scripts are advised not to follow this link...)
If you come across a port that doesn't work for you, there are a few things you can do, including:
Fix it! The ``how to make a port'' section should help you do this.
Gripe---by email only! Send email to the maintainer of the port first. Type make maintainer or read the Makefile to find the maintainter's email address. Remember to include the name and version of the port (sending the $FreeBSD: line from the Makefile and the output leading up to the error when you email the maintainer. If you do not get a response from the maintainer, you can use send-pr to submit a bug report.
Forget about it. This is the easiest route---very few ports can be classified as ``essential''. There's also a good chance any problems will be fixed in the next version when the port is updated.
Grab the package from an ftp site near you. The ``master'' package collection is on ftp.FreeBSD.org in the packages directory, but be sure to check your local mirror first! These are more likely to work than trying to compile from source and are alot faster as well. Use the pkg_add(1) program to install the package on your system.