Install or Uninstall Software from FreeBSD Ports Collection

In this guide, we are going to learn how to install or uninstall software from FreeBSD Ports Collection. Ports Collection is is a set of Makefiles, patches, and description files which are used to compile and install an individual application on FreeBSD. An application/software being compiled is called a port.

Installing or Uninstalling Software from FreeBSD Ports Collection

To install or uninstall a software using Ports collections, you first need to install Ports Collection if at all they were not installed with the OS.

Install Ports Collection using Portsnap on FreeBSD 12

The recommended way of installing Ports Collection on FreeBSD is to use Portsnap. Portsnap is a fast and user-friendly tool for retrieving the Ports Collection. It connects to a FreeBSD site, verifies the secure key, and downloads a new copy of the Ports Collection.

To begin with, run system update and upgrade

pkg update
pkg upgrade -f

download a compressed snapshot of the Ports Collection. The snapshot will be stored under /var/db/portsnap.

portsnap fetch
Looking up mirrors... 6 mirrors found.
Fetching public key from done.
Fetching snapshot tag from done.
Fetching snapshot metadata... done.
Fetching snapshot generated at Fri Jun 21 03:03:21 EAT 2019:
be72cc6990cd51c776b41c1a4e848af2b5516e4667ccc8          84 MB  126 kBps 11m20s
Extracting snapshot... done.
Verifying snapshot integrity... done.
Fetching snapshot tag from done.
Fetching snapshot metadata... done.
Updating from Fri Jun 21 03:03:21 EAT 2019 to Fri Jun 21 15:32:36 EAT 2019.
Fetching 5 metadata patches... done.
Applying metadata patches... done.
Fetching 0 metadata files... done.
Fetching 51 patches. 
(51/51) 100.00%  done.                                 
Applying patches... 
Fetching 0 new ports or files... done.

Once the fetching completes, extract Ports Collection snapshot to /usr/ports. This can only be done if the snapshot was being fetched for the first time.

portsnap extract

If the Ports Collection snapshot has been downloaded before, you can simply update it by running the commands below;

portsnap fetch
portsnap update

You can however run this as a single command;

portsnap fetch update

Installing Software using Ports Collection

Before you can compile a software/application, here in called a port, ensure that you have GNU make (gmake)utility installed. To verify if gmake is installed;

which gmake

Installing GNU make utility

If gmake is not installed, see below on how to install.

pkg install gmake
Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue...
FreeBSD repository is up to date.
All repositories are up to date.
The following 1 package(s) will be affected (of 0 checked):

New packages to be INSTALLED:
	gmake: 4.2.1_3

Number of packages to be installed: 1

The process will require 2 MiB more space.
382 KiB to be downloaded.

Proceed with this action? [y/N]: y
[1/1] Fetching gmake-4.2.1_3.txz: 100%  382 KiB 390.7kB/s    00:01    
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
[1/1] Installing gmake-4.2.1_3...
[1/1] Extracting gmake-4.2.1_3: 100%

Next, navigate to the specific sub-directory of the software/port to be installed. For example, in this guide, we are going to demonstrate how to install neofetch, command-line tool for fetching system information.

cd /usr/ports/sysutils/neofetch

Next, compile the port or software as shown below;

make install
===> Building/installing dialog4ports as it is required for the config dialog
===>  Cleaning for dialog4ports-0.1.6
===>  License BSD2CLAUSE accepted by the user
===>   dialog4ports-0.1.6 depends on file: /usr/local/sbin/pkg - found
=> dialog4ports-0.1.6.tar.gz doesn't seem to exist in /usr/ports/distfiles/.
=> Attempting to fetch
dialog4ports-0.1.6.tar.gz                               10 kB 5073 kBps    00s
===> Fetching all distfiles required by dialog4ports-0.1.6 for building
===>  Extracting for dialog4ports-0.1.6
=> SHA256 Checksum OK for dialog4ports-0.1.6.tar.gz.
===>  Patching for dialog4ports-0.1.6
===>  Configuring for dialog4ports-0.1.6
===>  Building for dialog4ports-0.1.6
cc  -O2 -pipe  -fstack-protector-strong -fno-strict-aliasing  -Wall -pedantic -c dialog4ports.c -o dialog4ports.o
cc  -O2 -pipe  -fstack-protector-strong -fno-strict-aliasing  -Wall -pedantic -c mixedlist.c -o mixedlist.o
gzip -cn dialog4ports.1 > dialog4ports.1.gz
cc -O2 -pipe  -fstack-protector-strong -fno-strict-aliasing  -Wall -pedantic dialog4ports.o mixedlist.o -o dialog4ports -lncursesw -lm -ldialog
===>  Staging for dialog4ports-0.1.6
===>   Generating temporary packing list
install  -s -m 555 dialog4ports /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/dialog4ports/work/stage/usr/local/bin
install  -m 0644 dialog4ports.1.gz /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/dialog4ports/work/stage/usr/local/man/man1
====> Compressing man pages (compress-man)
===>  Installing for dialog4ports-0.1.6
===>  Checking if dialog4ports is already installed
====> Compressing man pages (compress-man)
===>  Installing for bash-5.0.7
===>  Checking if bash is already installed
===>   Registering installation for bash-5.0.7 as automatic
Installing bash-5.0.7...
===>   neofetch-6.0.0 depends on executable: bash - found
===>   Returning to build of neofetch-6.0.0
===>   Generating temporary packing list
install  -m 0644 /usr/ports/sysutils/neofetch/work/neofetch-6.0.0/ /usr/ports/sysutils/neofetch/work/stage/usr/local/share/doc/neofetch
install  -m 0644 /usr/ports/sysutils/neofetch/work/neofetch-6.0.0/ /usr/ports/sysutils/neofetch/work/stage/usr/local/share/doc/neofetch
====> Compressing man pages (compress-man)
===>  Installing for neofetch-6.0.0
===>  Checking if neofetch is already installed
===>   Registering installation for neofetch-6.0.0
Installing neofetch-6.0.0...

Neofetch is now installed.

which neofetch
```                        `       [email protected] 
  ` `.....---.......--.```   -/    -------------------------- 
  +o   .--`         /y:`      +.   OS: FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE amd64 
   yo`:.            :o      `+-    Uptime: 2 hours, 15 mins 
    y/               -/`   -o/     Packages: 134 (pkg) 
   .-                  ::/sy+:.    Shell: csh tcsh 6.20.00 
   /                     `--  /    Terminal: /dev/pts/0 
  `:                          :`   CPU: Intel i5-8250U (1) @ 1.800GHz 
  `:                          :`   GPU: VirtualBox Graphics Adapter 
   /                          /    Memory: 334MiB / 985MiB 
   .-                        -.
    --                      -.                             
     `:`                  `:`
       .--             `--.

After the installation, run make clean to remove temporary files that were created during the installation to save space.

make clean

You can also check how to install MySQL 8 on FreeBSD 12 as another example.

Install MySQL 8 on FreeBSD 12

Uninstalling Software using Ports Collection

To uninstall any software or port installed via the Ports Collection on FreeBSD 12, simply navigate to the port subdirectory and run make deinstall. For example, to remove neofetch installed above;

make deinstall
===>  Deinstalling for neofetch
===>   Deinstalling neofetch-6.0.0
Updating database digests format: 100%
Checking integrity... done (0 conflicting)
Deinstallation has been requested for the following 1 packages (of 0 packages in the universe):

Installed packages to be REMOVED:

Number of packages to be removed: 1
[1/1] Deinstalling neofetch-6.0.0...
[1/1] Deleting files for neofetch-6.0.0: 100%

Well, that is all on installing/uninstall software from FreeBSD Ports collection.

Related Tutorials:

How to Install FreeBSD 12 on VirtualBox

Install Apache, MySQL, PHP (FAMP) Stack on FreeBSD 12

How to Install phpMyAdmin on FreeBSD 12

Install and Configure OpenVPN Server FreeBSD 12

Install Nginx, MySQL, PHP (FEMP) Stack on FreeBSD 12

Install phpMyAdmin with Nginx on FreeBSD 12

Install and Configure Telegraf on FreeBSD 12

Install Apache with Self-signed Certificate on FreeBSD 12


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Jay Decrame
Linux Certified Engineer, Technology and Linux/Unix enthusiast.

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