Rewritten by Jim Mock <jim@FreeBSD.org>, 22 November 1999. Original work by various people.
The FreeBSD Ports collection allows you to compile and install a very wide range of applications with a minimum amount of effort.
In general, it is a group of skeletons which contain a minimal set of items needed to make an application compile and install cleanly on FreeBSD.
Even with all the hype about open standards, getting a program to compile on various UNIX platforms can be a tricky task. Occasionally, you might be lucky enough to find that the program you want compiles cleanly on your system, install everything into all the right directories, and run flawlessly ``out-of-the-box'', but this behavior is somewhat rare. Most of the time, you find yourself needing to make modifications in order to get the program to work. This is where the FreeBSD Ports collection comes to the rescue.
The general idea behind the Ports collection is to eliminate all of the messy steps involved with making things work properly so that the installation is simple and very painless. With the Ports collection, all of the hard work has already been done for you, and you are able to install any of the Ports collection ports by simply typing make install.