FreeBSD Porter's Handbook

The FreeBSD Documentation Project

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Table of Contents
1 Introduction
2 Making a port yourself
3 Quick Porting
3.1 Writing the Makefile
3.2 Writing the description files
3.2.1 pkg-descr
3.2.2 pkg-plist
3.3 Creating the checksum file
3.4 Testing the port
3.5 Checking your port with portlint
3.6 Submitting the port
4 Slow Porting
4.1 How things work
4.2 Getting the original sources
4.3 Modifying the port
4.4 Patching
4.5 Configuring
4.6 Handling user input
5 Configuring the Makefile
5.1 The original source
5.2 Naming
5.2.4 Package Naming Conventions
5.3 Categorization
5.3.2 Current list of categories
5.3.3 Choosing the right category
5.3.4 Proposing a new category
5.3.5 Proposing reorganizing all the categories
5.4 The distribution files
5.4.7 Multiple distribution files or patches from different sites and subdirectories (MASTER_SITES:n)
5.7 Dependencies
5.7.8 USE_*
5.7.9 Minimal version of a dependency
5.7.10 Notes on dependencies
5.7.11 Circular dependencies are fatal
5.9 Manpages
5.10 Info files
5.11 Makefile Options
5.11.1 KNOBS
5.11.2 OPTIONS
5.11.3 Feature auto-activation
5.12 Specifying the working directory
5.12.1 WRKSRC
6 Special considerations
6.1 Shared Libraries
6.2 Ports with distribution restrictions
6.2.2 NO_CDROM
6.3 Building mechanisms
6.3.1 make, gmake, and imake
6.3.2 configure script
6.3.3 Using scons
6.4 Using GNU autotools
6.4.1 Introduction
6.4.2 libtool
6.4.3 libltdl
6.4.4 autoconf and autoheader
6.4.5 automake and aclocal
6.5 Using GNU gettext
6.5.1 Basic usage
6.5.2 Optional usage
6.5.3 Handling message catalog directories
6.6 Using perl
6.7 Using X11
6.7.1 Variable definitions
6.7.2 Ports that require Motif
6.7.3 X11 fonts
6.7.4 Getting fake DISPLAY using Xvfb
6.7.5 Desktop entries
6.8 Using GNOME
6.9 Using KDE
6.10 Using Java
6.10.1 Variable definitions
6.10.2 Building with Ant
6.10.3 Best practices
6.11 Using Apache and PHP
6.11.1 Apache
6.11.2 PHP
6.11.3 PEAR modules
6.12 Using Python
6.13 Using Emacs
6.14 Using Ruby
6.15 Using SDL
6.16 Using wxWidgets
6.16.1 Introduction
6.16.2 Version selection
6.16.3 Component selection
6.16.4 Unicode
6.16.5 Detecting installed versions
6.16.6 Defined variables
6.16.7 Processing in
6.16.8 Additional configure arguments
6.17 Using Lua
6.17.1 Introduction
6.17.2 Version selection
6.17.3 Component selection
6.17.4 Detecting installed versions
6.17.5 Defined variables
6.17.6 Processing in
6.18 Starting and stopping services (rc scripts)
7 Advanced pkg-plist practices
7.1 Changing pkg-plist based on make variables
7.2 Empty directories
7.2.1 Cleaning up empty directories
7.2.2 Creating empty directories
7.3 Configuration files
7.4 Dynamic vs. static package list
7.5 Automated package list creation
8 The pkg-* files
8.1 pkg-message
8.2 pkg-install
8.3 pkg-deinstall
8.4 pkg-req
8.5 Changing the names of pkg-* files
8.6 Making use of SUB_FILES and SUB_LIST
9 Testing your port
9.1 Running make describe
9.2 Portlint
9.4 Tinderbox
10 Upgrading
11 Ports security
11.1 Why security is so important
11.2 Fixing security vulnerabilities
11.3 Keeping the community informed
11.3.1 The VuXML database
11.3.2 A short introduction to VuXML
11.3.3 Testing your changes to the VuXML database
12 Dos and Don'ts
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Stripping Binaries
12.3 INSTALL_* macros
12.6 Differentiating operating systems and OS versions
12.7 __FreeBSD_version values
12.8 Writing something after
12.9 Install additional documentation
12.10 Subdirectories
12.11 Use the exec statement in wrapper scripts
12.12 UIDs and GIDs
12.13 Do things rationally
12.14 Respect both CC and CXX
12.15 Respect CFLAGS
12.16 Threading libraries
12.17 Feedback
12.18 README.html
12.19 Marking a port not installable with BROKEN, FORBIDDEN, or IGNORE
12.19.1 Variables
12.19.2 Implementation Notes
12.20 Marking a port for removal with DEPRECATED or EXPIRATION_DATE
12.21 Avoid use of the .error construct
12.22 Usage of sysctl
12.23 Rerolling distfiles
12.24 Necessary workarounds
12.25 Miscellanea
13 A Sample Makefile
14 Keeping Up
14.1 FreshPorts
14.2 The Web Interface to the Source Repository
14.3 The FreeBSD Ports Mailing List
14.4 The FreeBSD Port Building Cluster on
14.5 The FreeBSD Port Distfile Survey
14.6 The FreeBSD Ports Monitoring System
List of Tables
5-1. The USE_* variables
5-2. The WITH_* and WITHOUT_* variables
6-1. Variables for ports related to gmake
6-2. Variables for ports that use configure
6-3. Variables for ports that use scons
6-4. Variables for ports that use perl
6-5. Variables for ports that use X
6-6. Variables for depending on individual parts of X11
6-7. Variables for ports that use KDE
6-8. Variables that may be set by ports that use Java
6-9. Variables provided to ports that use Java
6-10. Constants defined for ports that use Java
6-11. Variables for ports that use Apache
6-12. Useful variables for porting Apache modules
6-13. Variables for ports that use PHP
6-14. Most useful variables for ports that use Python
6-15. Useful variables for ports that use Ruby
6-16. Selected read-only variables for ports that use Ruby
6-17. Variables to select wxWidgets versions
6-18. Available wxWidgets versions
6-19. wxWidgets version specifications
6-20. Variables to select preferred wxWidgets versions
6-21. Available wxWidgets components
6-22. Available wxWidgets dependency types
6-23. Default wxWidgets dependency types
6-24. Variables to select Unicode in wxWidgets versions
6-25. Variables defined for ports that use wxWidgets
6-26. Legal values for WX_CONF_ARGS
6-27. Variables to select Lua versions
6-28. Available Lua versions
6-29. Lua version specifications
6-30. Variables to select preferred Lua versions
6-31. Available Lua components
6-32. Available Lua dependency types
6-33. Default Lua dependency types
6-34. Variables defined for ports that use Lua
12-1. __FreeBSD_version values
List of Examples
5-1. Simplified use of MASTER_SITES:n with 1 file per site
5-2. Simplified use of MASTER_SITES:n with more than 1 file per site
5-3. Detailed use of MASTER_SITES:n in MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR
5-4. Detailed use of MASTER_SITES:n with comma operator, multiple files, multiple sites and multiple subdirectories
5-6. Simplified use of MASTER_SITES:n with PATCH_SITES.
5-8. Simple use of OPTIONS
5-9. Wrong handling of an option
5-10. Correct handling of an option
6-1. Using X11 related variables in port
6-2. Example Makefile for PEAR class
6-3. Selecting wxWidgets components
6-4. Detecting installed wxWidgets versions and components
6-5. Using wxWidgets variables in commands
6-6. Selecting the Lua version
6-7. Selecting Lua components
6-8. Detecting installed Lua versions and components
6-9. Telling the port where to find Lua
6-10. Using Lua variables in commands
12-1. How to avoid using .error

Chapter 1 Introduction

The FreeBSD ports collection is the way almost everyone installs applications ("ports") on FreeBSD. Like everything else about FreeBSD, it is primarily a volunteer effort. It is important to keep this in mind when reading this document.

In FreeBSD, anyone may submit a new port, or volunteer to maintain an existing port if it is unmaintained--you do not need any special commit privileges to do so.

Chapter 2 Making a port yourself

So, you are interested in making your own port or upgrading an existing one? Great!

What follows are some guidelines for creating a new port for FreeBSD. If you want to upgrade an existing port, you should read this and then read Chapter 10.

When this document is not sufficiently detailed, you should refer to /usr/ports/Mk/, which all port Makefiles include. Even if you do not hack Makefiles daily, it is well commented, and you will still gain much knowledge from it. Additionally, you may send specific questions to the FreeBSD ports mailing list.

Note: Only a fraction of the variables (VAR) that can be overridden are mentioned in this document. Most (if not all) are documented at the start of /usr/ports/Mk/; the others probably ought to be. Note that this file uses a non-standard tab setting: Emacs and Vim should recognize the setting on loading the file. Both vi(1) and ex(1) can be set to use the correct value by typing :set tabstop=4 once the file has been loaded.

Chapter 3 Quick Porting

This section tells you how to do a quick port. In many cases, it is not sufficient, so you will have to read further on into the document.

First, get the original tarball and put it into DISTDIR, which defaults to /usr/ports/distfiles.

Note: The following assumes that the software compiled out-of-the-box, i.e., there was absolutely no change required for the port to work on your FreeBSD box. If you needed to change something, you will have to refer to the next section too.

3.1 Writing the Makefile

The minimal Makefile would look something like this:

# New ports collection makefile for:   oneko
# Date created:        5 December 1994
# Whom:                asami
# $FreeBSD$

PORTNAME=      oneko
CATEGORIES=    games

COMMENT=       A cat chasing a mouse all over the screen

MAN1=          oneko.1
USE_IMAKE=     yes

.include <>

See if you can figure it out. Do not worry about the contents of the $FreeBSD$ line, it will be filled in automatically by CVS when the port is imported to our main ports tree. You can find a more detailed example in the sample Makefile section.

3.2 Writing the description files

There are two description files that are required for any port, whether they actually package or not. They are pkg-descr and pkg-plist. Their pkg- prefix distinguishes them from other files.

3.2.1 pkg-descr

This is a longer description of the port. One to a few paragraphs concisely explaining what the port does is sufficient.

Note: This is not a manual or an in-depth description on how to use or compile the port! Please be careful if you are copying from the README or manpage; too often they are not a concise description of the port or are in an awkward format (e.g., manpages have justified spacing). If the ported software has an official WWW homepage, you should list it here. Prefix one of the websites with WWW: so that automated tools will work correctly.

The following example shows how your pkg-descr should look:

This is a port of oneko, in which a cat chases a poor mouse all over
the screen.


3.2.2 pkg-plist

This file lists all the files installed by the port. It is also called the ``packing list'' because the package is generated by packing the files listed here. The pathnames are relative to the installation prefix (usually /usr/local or /usr/X11R6). If you are using the MANn variables (as you should be), do not list any manpages here. If the port creates directories during installation, make sure to add @dirrm lines to remove them when the package is deleted.

Here is a small example:

@dirrm lib/X11/oneko

Refer to the pkg_create(1) manual page for details on the packing list.

Note: It is recommended that you keep all the filenames in this file sorted alphabetically. It will make verifying the changes when you upgrade the port much easier.

Note: Creating a packing list manually can be a very tedious task. If the port installs a large numbers of files, creating the packing list automatically might save time.

There is only one case when pkg-plist can be omitted from a port. If the port installs just a handful of files, and perhaps directories, the files and directories may be listed in the variables PLIST_FILES and PLIST_DIRS, respectively, within the port's Makefile. For instance, we could get along without pkg-plist in the above oneko port by adding the following lines to the Makefile:

PLIST_FILES=    bin/oneko \
                lib/X11/app-defaults/Oneko \
                lib/X11/oneko/cat1.xpm \
                lib/X11/oneko/cat2.xpm \
PLIST_DIRS=     lib/X11/oneko

Of course, PLIST_DIRS should be left unset if a port installs no directories of its own.

The price for this way of listing port's files and directories is that you cannot use command sequences described in pkg_create(1). Therefore, it is suitable only for simple ports and makes them even simpler. At the same time, it has the advantage of reducing the number of files in the ports collection. Please consider using this technique before you resort to pkg-plist.

Later we will see how pkg-plist and PLIST_FILES can be used to fulfil more sophisticated tasks.

3.3 Creating the checksum file

Just type make makesum. The ports make rules will automatically generate the file distinfo.

If a file fetched has its checksum changed regularly and you are certain the source is trusted (i.e. it comes from manufacturer CDs or documentation generated daily), you should specify these files in the IGNOREFILES variable. Then the checksum is not calculated for that file when you run make makesum, but set to IGNORE.

3.4 Testing the port

You should make sure that the port rules do exactly what you want them to do, including packaging up the port. These are the important points you need to verify.

  • pkg-plist does not contain anything not installed by your port

  • pkg-plist contains everything that is installed by your port

  • Your port can be installed multiple times using the reinstall target

  • Your port cleans up after itself upon deinstall

Recommended test ordering

  1. make install

  2. make package

  3. make deinstall

  4. pkg_add package-name

  5. make deinstall

  6. make reinstall

  7. make package

Make sure that there are not any warnings issued in any of the package and deinstall stages. After step 3, check to see if all the new directories are correctly deleted. Also, try using the software after step 4, to ensure that it works correctly when installed from a package.

3.5 Checking your port with portlint

Please use portlint to see if your port conforms to our guidelines. The devel/portlint program is part of the ports collection. In particular, you may want to check if the Makefile is in the right shape and the package is named appropriately.

3.6 Submitting the port

First, make sure you have read the DOs and DON'Ts section.

Now that you are happy with your port, the only thing remaining is to put it in the main FreeBSD ports tree and make everybody else happy about it too. We do not need your work directory or the pkgname.tgz package, so delete them now. Next, simply include the output of shar `find port_dir` in a bug report and send it with the send-pr(1) program (see Bug Reports and General Commentary for more information about send-pr(1)). Be sure to classify the bug report as category ports and class change-request (Do not mark the report confidential!). Also add a short description of the program you ported to the ``Description'' field of the PR and the shar to the ``Fix'' field.

Note: You can make our work a lot easier, if you use a good description in the synopsis of the problem report. We prefer something like ``New port: <category>/<portname> <short description of the port>'' for new ports and ``Update port: <category>/<portname> <short description of the update>'' for port updates. If you stick to this scheme, the chance that someone will take a look at your PR soon is much better.

One more time, do not include the original source distfile, the work directory, or the package you built with make package.

After you have submitted your port, please be patient. Sometimes it can take a few months before a port is included in FreeBSD, although it might only take a few days. You can view the list of ports waiting to be committed to FreeBSD.

Once we have looked at your port, we will get back to you if necessary, and put it in the tree. Your name will also appear in the list of Additional FreeBSD Contributors and other files. Isn't that great?!? :-)

Chapter 4 Slow Porting

Ok, so it was not that simple, and the port required some modifications to get it to work. In this section, we will explain, step by step, how to modify it to get it to work with the ports paradigm.

4.1 How things work

First, this is the sequence of events which occurs when the user first types make in your port's directory. You may find that having in another window while you read this really helps to understand it.

But do not worry if you do not really understand what is doing, not many people do... :->

  1. The fetch target is run. The fetch target is responsible for making sure that the tarball exists locally in DISTDIR. If fetch cannot find the required files in DISTDIR it will look up the URL MASTER_SITES, which is set in the Makefile, as well as our main FTP site at, where we put sanctioned distfiles as backup. It will then attempt to fetch the named distribution file with FETCH, assuming that the requesting site has direct access to the Internet. If that succeeds, it will save the file in DISTDIR for future use and proceed.

  2. The extract target is run. It looks for your port's distribution file (typically a gzip'd tarball) in DISTDIR and unpacks it into a temporary subdirectory specified by WRKDIR (defaults to work).

  3. The patch target is run. First, any patches defined in PATCHFILES are applied. Second, if any patch files named patch-* are found in PATCHDIR (defaults to the files subdirectory), they are applied at this time in alphabetical order.

  4. The configure target is run. This can do any one of many different things.

    1. If it exists, scripts/configure is run.

    2. If HAS_CONFIGURE or GNU_CONFIGURE is set, WRKSRC/configure is run.

    3. If USE_IMAKE is set, XMKMF (default: xmkmf -a) is run.

  5. The build target is run. This is responsible for descending into the port's private working directory (WRKSRC) and building it. If USE_GMAKE is set, GNU make will be used, otherwise the system make will be used.

The above are the default actions. In addition, you can define targets pre-something or post-something, or put scripts with those names, in the scripts subdirectory, and they will be run before or after the default actions are done.

For example, if you have a post-extract target defined in your Makefile, and a file pre-build in the scripts subdirectory, the post-extract target will be called after the regular extraction actions, and the pre-build script will be executed before the default build rules are done. It is recommended that you use Makefile targets if the actions are simple enough, because it will be easier for someone to figure out what kind of non-default action the port requires.

The default actions are done by the targets do-something. For example, the commands to extract a port are in the target do-extract. If you are not happy with the default target, you can fix it by redefining the do-something target in your Makefile.

Note: The ``main'' targets (e.g., extract, configure, etc.) do nothing more than make sure all the stages up to that one are completed and call the real targets or scripts, and they are not intended to be changed. If you want to fix the extraction, fix do-extract, but never ever change the way extract operates!

Now that you understand what goes on when the user types make, let us go through the recommended steps to create the perfect port.

4.2 Getting the original sources

Get the original sources (normally) as a compressed tarball (foo.tar.gz or foo.tar.Z) and copy it into DISTDIR. Always use mainstream sources when and where you can.

You will need to set the variable MASTER_SITES to reflect where the original tarball resides. You will find convenient shorthand definitions for most mainstream sites in Please use these sites--and the associated definitions--if at all possible, to help avoid the problem of having the same information repeated over again many times in the source base. As these sites tend to change over time, this becomes a maintenance nightmare for everyone involved.

If you cannot find a FTP/HTTP site that is well-connected to the net, or can only find sites that have irritatingly non-standard formats, you might want to put a copy on a reliable FTP or HTTP server that you control (e.g., your home page).

If you cannot find somewhere convenient and reliable to put the distfile we can ``house'' it ourselves on; however, this is the least-preferred solution. The distfile must be placed into ~/public_distfiles/ of someone's freefall account. Ask the person who commits your port to do this. This person will also set MASTER_SITES to MASTER_SITE_LOCAL and MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR to their freefall username.

If your port's distfile changes all the time without any kind of version update by the author, consider putting the distfile on your home page and listing it as the first MASTER_SITES. If you can, try to talk the port author out of doing this; it really does help to establish some kind of source code control. Hosting your own version will prevent users from getting “checksum mismatch” errors, and also reduce the workload of maintainers of our FTP site. Also, if there is only one master site for the port, it is recommended that you house a backup at your site and list it as the second MASTER_SITES.

If your port requires some additional `patches' that are available on the Internet, fetch them too and put them in DISTDIR. Do not worry if they come from a site other than where you got the main source tarball, we have a way to handle these situations (see the description of PATCHFILES below).

4.3 Modifying the port

Unpack a copy of the tarball in a private directory and make whatever changes are necessary to get the port to compile properly under the current version of FreeBSD. Keep careful track of everything you do, as you will be automating the process shortly. Everything, including the deletion, addition, or modification of files should be doable using an automated script or patch file when your port is finished.

If your port requires significant user interaction/customization to compile or install, you should take a look at one of Larry Wall's classic Configure scripts and perhaps do something similar yourself. The goal of the new ports collection is to make each port as ``plug-and-play'' as possible for the end-user while using a minimum of disk space.

Note: Unless explicitly stated, patch files, scripts, and other files you have created and contributed to the FreeBSD ports collection are assumed to be covered by the standard BSD copyright conditions.

4.4 Patching

In the preparation of the port, files that have been added or changed can be picked up with a diff(1) for later feeding to patch(1). Each patch you wish to apply should be saved into a file named patch-* where * indicates the pathname of the file that is patched, such as patch-Imakefile or patch-src-config.h. These files should be stored in PATCHDIR (usually files/, from where they will be automatically applied. All patches must be relative to WRKSRC (generally the directory your port's tarball unpacks itself into, that being where the build is done). To make fixes and upgrades easier, you should avoid having more than one patch fix the same file (e.g., patch-file and patch-file2 both changing WRKSRC/foobar.c).

Please only use characters [-+._a-zA-Z0-9] for naming your patches. Do not use any other characters besides them. Do not name your patches like patch-aa or patch-ab etc, always mention path and file name in patch names.

Do not put RCS strings in patches. CVS will mangle them when we put the files into the ports tree, and when we check them out again, they will come out different and the patch will fail. RCS strings are surrounded by dollar ($) signs, and typically start with $Id or $RCS.

Using the recurse (-r) option to diff(1) to generate patches is fine, but please take a look at the resulting patches to make sure you do not have any unnecessary junk in there. In particular, diffs between two backup files, Makefiles when the port uses Imake or GNU configure, etc., are unnecessary and should be deleted. If you had to edit and run autoconf to regenerate configure, do not take the diffs of configure (it often grows to a few thousand lines!); define USE_AUTOTOOLS=autoconf:253 and take the diffs of

If you had to delete a file, then you can do it in the post-extract target rather than as part of the patch.

Simple replacements can be performed directly from the port Makefile using the in-place mode of sed(1). This is very useful when you need to patch in a variable value. Example:

    @${REINPLACE_CMD} -e 's|for Linux|for FreeBSD|g' ${WRKSRC}/README
    @${REINPLACE_CMD} -e 's|-pthread|${PTHREAD_LIBS}|' ${WRKSRC}/configure

Quite often, there is a situation when the software being ported, especially if it is primarily developed on Windows®, uses the CR/LF convention for most of its source files. This may cause problems with further patching, compiler warnings, scripts execution (/bin/sh^M not found), etc. To quickly convert all files from CR/LF to just LF, add USE_DOS2UNIX=yes to the port Makefile. A list of files to convert can be specified:

USE_DOS2UNIX=  util.c util.h

4.5 Configuring

Include any additional customization commands in your configure script and save it in the scripts subdirectory. As mentioned above, you can also do this with Makefile targets and/or scripts with the name pre-configure or post-configure.

4.6 Handling user input

If your port requires user input to build, configure, or install, you must set IS_INTERACTIVE in your Makefile. This will allow ``overnight builds'' to skip your port if the user sets the variable BATCH in his environment (and if the user sets the variable INTERACTIVE, then only those ports requiring interaction are built). This will save a lot of wasted time on the set of machines that continually build ports (see below).

It is also recommended that if there are reasonable default answers to the questions, you check the PACKAGE_BUILDING variable and turn off the interactive script when it is set. This will allow us to build the packages for CDROMs and FTP.

Chapter 5 Configuring the Makefile

Configuring the Makefile is pretty simple, and again we suggest that you look at existing examples before starting. Also, there is a sample Makefile in this handbook, so take a look and please follow the ordering of variables and sections in that template to make your port easier for others to read.

Now, consider the following problems in sequence as you design your new Makefile:

5.1 The original source

Does it live in DISTDIR as a standard gzip'd tarball named something like foozolix-1.2.tar.gz? If so, you can go on to the next step. If not, you should look at overriding any of the DISTVERSION, DISTNAME, EXTRACT_CMD, EXTRACT_BEFORE_ARGS, EXTRACT_AFTER_ARGS, EXTRACT_SUFX, or DISTFILES variables, depending on how alien a format your port's distribution file is. (The most common case is EXTRACT_SUFX=.tar.Z, when the tarball is condensed by regular compress, not gzip.)

In the worst case, you can simply create your own do-extract target to override the default, though this should be rarely, if ever, necessary.

5.2 Naming

The first part of the port's Makefile names the port, describes its version number, and lists it in the correct category.


You should set PORTNAME to the base name of your port, and PORTVERSION to the version number of the port.


The PORTREVISION variable is a monotonically increasing value which is reset to 0 with every increase of PORTVERSION (i.e. every time a new official vendor release is made), and appended to the package name if non-zero. Changes to PORTREVISION are used by automated tools (e.g. pkg_version(1)) to highlight the fact that a new package is available.

PORTREVISION should be increased each time a change is made to the port which significantly affects the content or structure of the derived package.

Examples of when PORTREVISION should be bumped:

  • Addition of patches to correct security vulnerabilities, bugs, or to add new functionality to the port.

  • Changes to the port Makefile to enable or disable compile-time options in the package.

  • Changes in the packing list or the install-time behavior of the package (e.g. change to a script which generates initial data for the package, like ssh host keys).

  • Version bump of a port's shared library dependency (in this case, someone trying to install the old package after installing a newer version of the dependency will fail since it will look for the old libfoo.x instead of libfoo.(x+1)).

  • Silent changes to the port distfile which have significant functional differences, i.e. changes to the distfile requiring a correction to distinfo with no corresponding change to PORTVERSION, where a diff -ru of the old and new versions shows non-trivial changes to the code.

Examples of changes which do not require a PORTREVISION bump:

  • Style changes to the port skeleton with no functional change to what appears in the resulting package.

  • Changes to MASTER_SITES or other functional changes to the port which do not affect the resulting package.

  • Trivial patches to the distfile such as correction of typos, which are not important enough that users of the package should go to the trouble of upgrading.

  • Build fixes which cause a package to become compilable where it was previously failing (as long as the changes do not introduce any functional change on any other platforms on which the port did previously build). Since PORTREVISION reflects the content of the package, if the package was not previously buildable then there is no need to increase PORTREVISION to mark a change.

A rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether a change committed to a port is something which everyone would benefit from having (either because of an enhancement, fix, or by virtue that the new package will actually work at all), and weigh that against that fact that it will cause everyone who regularly updates their ports tree to be compelled to update. If yes, the PORTREVISION should be bumped. PORTEPOCH

From time to time a software vendor or FreeBSD porter will do something silly and release a version of their software which is actually numerically less than the previous version. An example of this is a port which goes from foo-20000801 to foo-1.0 (the former will be incorrectly treated as a newer version since 20000801 is a numerically greater value than 1).

In situations such as this, the PORTEPOCH version should be increased. If PORTEPOCH is nonzero it is appended to the package name as described in section 0 above. PORTEPOCH must never be decreased or reset to zero, because that would cause comparison to a package from an earlier epoch to fail (i.e. the package would not be detected as out of date): the new version number (e.g. 1.0,1 in the above example) is still numerically less than the previous version (20000801), but the ,1 suffix is treated specially by automated tools and found to be greater than the implied suffix ,0 on the earlier package.

Dropping or resetting PORTEPOCH incorrectly leads to no end of grief; if you do not understand the above discussion, please keep after it until you do, or ask questions on the mailing lists.

It is expected that PORTEPOCH will not be used for the majority of ports, and that sensible use of PORTVERSION can often pre-empt it becoming necessary if a future release of the software should change the version structure. However, care is needed by FreeBSD porters when a vendor release is made without an official version number -- such as a code ``snapshot'' release. The temptation is to label the release with the release date, which will cause problems as in the example above when a new ``official'' release is made.

For example, if a snapshot release is made on the date 20000917, and the previous version of the software was version 1.2, the snapshot release should be given a PORTVERSION of 1.2.20000917 or similar, not 20000917, so that the succeeding release, say 1.3, is still a numerically greater value. Example of PORTREVISION and PORTEPOCH usage

The gtkmumble port, version 0.10, is committed to the ports collection:

PORTNAME=       gtkmumble

PKGNAME becomes gtkmumble-0.10.

A security hole is discovered which requires a local FreeBSD patch. PORTREVISION is bumped accordingly.

PORTNAME=       gtkmumble

PKGNAME becomes gtkmumble-0.10_1

A new version is released by the vendor, numbered 0.2 (it turns out the author actually intended 0.10 to actually mean 0.1.0, not ``what comes after 0.9'' - oops, too late now). Since the new minor version 2 is numerically less than the previous version 10, the PORTEPOCH must be bumped to manually force the new package to be detected as ``newer''. Since it is a new vendor release of the code, PORTREVISION is reset to 0 (or removed from the Makefile).

PORTNAME=       gtkmumble

PKGNAME becomes gtkmumble-0.2,1

The next release is 0.3. Since PORTEPOCH never decreases, the version variables are now:

PORTNAME=       gtkmumble

PKGNAME becomes gtkmumble-0.3,1

Note: If PORTEPOCH were reset to 0 with this upgrade, someone who had installed the gtkmumble-0.10_1 package would not detect the gtkmumble-0.3 package as newer, since 3 is still numerically less than 10. Remember, this is the whole point of PORTEPOCH in the first place.


Two optional variables, PKGNAMEPREFIX and PKGNAMESUFFIX, are combined with PORTNAME and PORTVERSION to form PKGNAME as ${PKGNAMEPREFIX}${PORTNAME}${PKGNAMESUFFIX}-${PORTVERSION}. Make sure this conforms to our guidelines for a good package name. In particular, you are not allowed to use a hyphen (-) in PORTVERSION. Also, if the package name has the language- or the -compiled.specifics part (see below), use PKGNAMEPREFIX and PKGNAMESUFFIX, respectively. Do not make them part of PORTNAME.

5.2.4 Package Naming Conventions

The following are the conventions you should follow in naming your packages. This is to have our package directory easy to scan, as there are already thousands of packages and users are going to turn away if they hurt their eyes!

The package name should look like [language[_region]]-name[[-]compiled.specifics]-version.numbers.

The package name is defined as ${PKGNAMEPREFIX}${PORTNAME}${PKGNAMESUFFIX}-${PORTVERSION}. Make sure to set the variables to conform to that format.

  1. FreeBSD strives to support the native language of its users. The language- part should be a two letter abbreviation of the natural language defined by ISO-639 if the port is specific to a certain language. Examples are ja for Japanese, ru for Russian, vi for Vietnamese, zh for Chinese, ko for Korean and de for German.

    If the port is specific to a certain region within the language area, add the two letter country code as well. Examples are en_US for US English and fr_CH for Swiss French.

    The language- part should be set in the PKGNAMEPREFIX variable.

  2. The first letter of name part should be lowercase. (The rest of the name can contain capital letters, so use your own discretion when you are converting a software name that has some capital letters in it.) There is a tradition of naming perl 5 modules by prepending p5- and converting the double-colon separator to a hyphen; for example, the Data::Dumper module becomes p5-Data-Dumper. If the software in question has numbers, hyphens, or underscores in its name, you may include them as well (like kinput2).

  3. If the port can be built with different hardcoded defaults (usually part of the directory name in a family of ports), the -compiled.specifics part should state the compiled-in defaults (the hyphen is optional). Examples are papersize and font units.

    The -compiled.specifics part should be set in the PKGNAMESUFFIX variable.

  4. The version string should follow a dash (-) and be a period-separated list of integers and single lowercase alphabetics. In particular, it is not permissible to have another dash inside the version string. The only exception is the string pl (meaning ``patchlevel''), which can be used only when there are no major and minor version numbers in the software. If the software version has strings like ``alpha'', ``beta'', ``rc'', or ``pre'', take the first letter and put it immediately after a period. If the version string continues after those names, the numbers should follow the single alphabet without an extra period between them.

    The idea is to make it easier to sort ports by looking at the version string. In particular, make sure version number components are always delimited by a period, and if the date is part of the string, use the format, not or the non-Y2K compliant format.

Here are some (real) examples on how to convert the name as called by the software authors to a suitable package name:

mule-2.2.2 (empty) mule (empty) 2.2.2 No changes required
XFree86-3.3.6 (empty) XFree86 (empty) 3.3.6 No changes required
EmiClock-1.0.2 (empty) emiclock (empty) 1.0.2 No uppercase names for single programs
rdist-1.3alpha (empty) rdist (empty) 1.3.a No strings like alpha allowed
es-0.9-beta1 (empty) es (empty) 0.9.b1 No strings like beta allowed
mailman-2.0rc3 (empty) mailman (empty) 2.0.r3 No strings like rc allowed
v3.3beta021.src (empty) tiff (empty) 3.3 What the heck was that anyway?
tvtwm (empty) tvtwm (empty) pl11 Version string always required
piewm (empty) piewm (empty) 1.0 Version string always required
xvgr-2.10pl1 (empty) xvgr (empty) 2.10.1 pl allowed only when no major/minor version numbers
gawk-2.15.6 ja- gawk (empty) 2.15.6 Japanese language version
psutils-1.13 (empty) psutils -letter 1.13 Papersize hardcoded at package build time
pkfonts (empty) pkfonts 300 1.0 Package for 300dpi fonts

If there is absolutely no trace of version information in the original source and it is unlikely that the original author will ever release another version, just set the version string to 1.0 (like the piewm example above). Otherwise, ask the original author or use the date string ( as the version.

5.3 Categorization


When a package is created, it is put under /usr/ports/packages/All and links are made from one or more subdirectories of /usr/ports/packages. The names of these subdirectories are specified by the variable CATEGORIES. It is intended to make life easier for the user when he is wading through the pile of packages on the FTP site or the CDROM. Please take a look at the current list of categories and pick the ones that are suitable for your port.

This list also determines where in the ports tree the port is imported. If you put more than one category here, it is assumed that the port files will be put in the subdirectory with the name in the first category. See below for more discussion about how to pick the right categories.

5.3.2 Current list of categories

Here is the current list of port categories. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are virtual categories--those that do not have a corresponding subdirectory in the ports tree. They are only used as secondary categories, and only for search purposes.

Note: For non-virtual categories, you will find a one-line description in the COMMENT in that subdirectory's Makefile.

Category Description Notes
accessibility Ports to help disabled users.  
afterstep* Ports to support the AfterStep window manager.  
arabic Arabic language support.  
archivers Archiving tools.  
astro Astronomical ports.  
audio Sound support.  
benchmarks Benchmarking utilities.  
biology Biology-related software.  
cad Computer aided design tools.  
chinese Chinese language support.  
comms Communication software. Mostly software to talk to your serial port.
converters Character code converters.  
databases Databases.  
deskutils Things that used to be on the desktop before computers were invented.  
devel Development utilities. Do not put libraries here just because they are libraries--unless they truly do not belong anywhere else, they should not be in this category.
dns DNS-related software.  
editors General editors. Specialized editors go in the section for those tools (e.g., a mathematical-formula editor will go in math).
elisp* Emacs-lisp ports.  
emulators Emulators for other operating systems. Terminal emulators do not belong here--X-based ones should go to x11 and text-based ones to either comms or misc, depending on the exact functionality.
finance Monetary, financial and related applications.  
french French language support.  
ftp FTP client and server utilities. If your port speaks both FTP and HTTP, put it in ftp with a secondary category of www.
games Games.  
german German language support.  
gnome* Ports from the GNOME Project.  
graphics Graphics utilities.  
hamradio* Software for amateur radio.  
haskell* Software related to the Haskell language.  
hebrew Hebrew language support.  
hungarian Hungarian language support.  
ipv6* IPv6 related software.  
irc Internet Relay Chat utilities.  
japanese Japanese language support.  
java Software related to the Java language. The java category shall not be the only one for a port. Save for ports directly related to the Java language, porters are also encouraged not to use java as the main category of a port.
kde* Ports from the K Desktop Environment (KDE) Project.  
korean Korean language support.  
lang Programming languages.  
linux* Linux applications and support utilities.  
lisp* Software related to the Lisp language.  
mail Mail software.  
math Numerical computation software and other utilities for mathematics.  
mbone MBone applications.  
misc Miscellaneous utilities Basically things that do not belong anywhere else. If at all possible, try to find a better category for your port than misc, as ports tend to get overlooked in here.
multimedia Multimedia software.  
net Miscellaneous networking software.  
net-im Instant messaging software.  
net-mgmt Networking management software.  
net-p2p Peer to peer network applications.  
news USENET news software.  
palm Software support for the Palm™ series.  
parallel* Applications dealing with parallelism in computing.  
pear* Ports related to the Pear PHP framework.  
perl5* Ports that require Perl version 5 to run.  
plan9* Various programs from Plan9.  
polish Polish language support.  
portuguese Portuguese language support.  
print Printing software. Desktop publishing tools (previewers, etc.) belong here too.
python* Software related to the Python language.  
ruby* Software related to the Ruby language.  
rubygems* Ports of RubyGems packages.  
russian Russian language support.  
scheme* Software related to the Scheme language.  
science Scientific ports that do not fit into other categories such as astro, biology and math.  
security Security utilities.  
shells Command line shells.  
sysutils System utilities.  
tcl80* Ports that use Tcl version 8.0 to run.  
tcl81* Ports that use Tcl version 8.1 to run.  
tcl82* Ports that use Tcl version 8.2 to run.  
tcl83* Ports that use Tcl version 8.3 to run.  
tcl84* Ports that use Tcl version 8.4 to run.  
textproc Text processing utilities. It does not include desktop publishing tools, which go to print.
tk80* Ports that use Tk version 8.0 to run.  
tk82* Ports that use Tk version 8.2 to run.  
tk83* Ports that use Tk version 8.3 to run.  
tk84* Ports that use Tk version 8.4 to run.  
tkstep80* Ports that use TkSTEP version 8.0 to run.  
ukrainian Ukrainian language support.  
vietnamese Vietnamese language support.  
windowmaker* Ports to support the WindowMaker window manager.  
www Software related to the World Wide Web. HTML language support belongs here too.
x11 The X Window System and friends. This category is only for software that directly supports the window system. Do not put regular X applications here; most of them should go into other x11-* categories (see below). If your port is an X application, define USE_XLIB (implied by USE_IMAKE) and put it in the appropriate category.
x11-clocks X11 clocks.  
x11-fm X11 file managers.  
x11-fonts X11 fonts and font utilities.  
x11-servers X11 servers.  
x11-themes X11 themes.  
x11-toolkits X11 toolkits.  
x11-wm X11 window managers.  
xfce* Ports relating to the Xfce desktop environment.  
zope* Zope support.  

5.3.3 Choosing the right category

As many of the categories overlap, you often have to choose which of the categories should be the primary category of your port. There are several rules that govern this issue. Here is the list of priorities, in decreasing order of precedence:

  • The first category must be a physical category (see above). This is necessary to make the packaging work. Virtual categories and physical categories may be intermixed after that.

  • Language specific categories always come first. For example, if your port installs Japanese X11 fonts, then your CATEGORIES line would read japanese x11-fonts.

  • Specific categories are listed before less-specific ones. For instance, an HTML editor should be listed as www editors, not the other way around. Also, you should not list net when the port belongs to any of irc, mail, mbone, news, security, or www, as net is included implicitly.

  • x11 is used as a secondary category only when the primary category is a natural language. In particular, you should not put x11 in the category line for X applications.

  • Emacs modes should be placed in the same ports category as the application supported by the mode, not in editors. For example, an Emacs mode to edit source files of some programming language should go into lang.

  • misc should not appear with any other non-virtual category. If you have misc with something else in your CATEGORIES line, that means you can safely delete misc and just put the port in that other subdirectory!

  • If your port truly does not belong anywhere else, put it in misc.

If you are not sure about the category, please put a comment to that effect in your send-pr(1) submission so we can discuss it before we import it. If you are a committer, send a note to the FreeBSD ports mailing list so we can discuss it first. Too often, new ports are imported to the wrong category only to be moved right away. This causes unnecessary and undesirable bloat in the master source repository.

5.3.4 Proposing a new category

As the Ports Collection has grown over time, various new categories have been introduced. New categories can either be virtual categories--those that do not have a corresponding subdirectory in the ports tree-- or physical categories--those that do. The following text discusses the issues involved in creating a new physical category so that you can understand them before you propose one.

Our existing practice has been to avoid creating a new physical category unless either a large number of ports would logically belong to it, or the ports that would belong to it are a logically distinct group that is of limited general interest (for instance, categories related to spoken human languages), or preferably both.

The rationale for this is that such a change creates a fair amount of work for both the committers and also for all users who track changes to the Ports Collection. In addition, proposed category changes just naturally seem to attract controversy. (Perhaps this is because there is no clear consensus on when a category is ``too big'', nor whether categories should lend themselves to browsing (and thus what number of categories would be an ideal number), and so forth.)

Here is the procedure:

  1. Propose the new category on FreeBSD ports mailing list. You should include a detailed rationale for the new category, including why you feel the existing categories are not sufficient, and the list of existing ports proposed to move. (If there are new ports pending in GNATS that would fit this category, list them too.) If you are the maintainer and/or submitter, respectively, mention that as it may help you to make your case.

  2. Participate in the discussion.

  3. If it seems that there is support for your idea, file a PR which includes both the rationale and the list of existing ports that need to be moved. Ideally, this PR should also include patches for the following:

    • Makefiles for the new ports once they are repocopied

    • Makefile for the new category

    • Makefile for the old ports' categories

    • Makefiles for ports that depend on the old ports

    • (for extra credit, you can include the other files that have to change, as per the procedure in the Committer's Guide.)

  4. Since it affects the ports infrastructure and involves not only performing repo-copies but also possibly running regression tests on the build cluster, the PR should be assigned to the Ports Management Team .

  5. If that PR is approved, a committer will need to follow the rest of the procedure that is outlined in the Committer's Guide.

Proposing a new virtual category should be similar to the above but much less involved, since no ports will actually have to move. In this case, the only patches to include in the PR would be those to add the new category to the CATEGORIESs of the affected ports.

5.3.5 Proposing reorganizing all the categories

Occasionally someone proposes reorganizing the categories with either a 2-level structure, or some other kind of keyword structure. To date, nothing has come of any of these proposals because, while they are very easy to make, the effort involved to retrofit the entire existing ports collection with any kind of reorganization is daunting to say the very least. Please read the history of these proposals in the mailing list archives before you post this idea; furthermore, you should be prepared to be challenged to offer a working prototype.

5.4 The distribution files

The second part of the Makefile describes the files that must be downloaded in order to build the port, and where they can be downloaded from.


DISTNAME is the name of the port as called by the authors of the software. DISTNAME defaults to ${PORTNAME}-${PORTVERSION}, so override it only if necessary. DISTNAME is only used in two places. First, the distribution file list (DISTFILES) defaults to ${DISTNAME}${EXTRACT_SUFX}. Second, the distribution file is expected to extract into a subdirectory named WRKSRC, which defaults to work/${DISTNAME}.

Some vendor's distribution names which do not fit into the ${PORTNAME}-${PORTVERSION}-scheme can be handled automatically by setting DISTVERSION. PORTVERSION and DISTNAME will be derived automatically, but can of course be overridden. The following table lists some examples:

0.7.1d 0.7.1.d
10Alpha3 10.a3
3Beta7-pre2 3.b7.p2
8:f_17 8f.17

Note: PKGNAMEPREFIX and PKGNAMESUFFIX do not affect DISTNAME. Also note that if WRKSRC is equal to work/${PORTNAME}-${PORTVERSION} while the original source archive is named something other than ${PORTNAME}-${PORTVERSION}${EXTRACT_SUFX}, you should probably leave DISTNAME alone-- you are better off defining DISTFILES than having to set both DISTNAME and WRKSRC (and possibly EXTRACT_SUFX).


Record the directory part of the FTP/HTTP-URL pointing at the original tarball in MASTER_SITES. Do not forget the trailing slash (/)!

The make macros will try to use this specification for grabbing the distribution file with FETCH if they cannot find it already on the system.

It is recommended that you put multiple sites on this list, preferably from different continents. This will safeguard against wide-area network problems. We are even planning to add support for automatically determining the closest master site and fetching from there; having multiple sites will go a long way towards helping this effort.

If the original tarball is part of one of the popular archives such as X-contrib, GNU, or Perl CPAN, you may be able refer to those sites in an easy compact form using MASTER_SITE_* (e.g., MASTER_SITE_XCONTRIB, MASTER_SITE_GNU and MASTER_SITE_PERL_CPAN). Simply set MASTER_SITES to one of these variables and MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR to the path within the archive. Here is an example:

MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR=   applications

These variables are defined in /usr/ports/Mk/ There are new entries added all the time, so make sure to check the latest version of this file before submitting a port.

The user can also set the MASTER_SITE_* variables in /etc/make.conf to override our choices, and use their favorite mirrors of these popular archives instead.


If you have one distribution file, and it uses an odd suffix to indicate the compression mechanism, set EXTRACT_SUFX.

For example, if the distribution file was named foo.tgz instead of the more normal foo.tar.gz, you would write:

DISTNAME=      foo

The USE_BZIP2 and USE_ZIP variables automatically set EXTRACT_SUFX to .tar.bz2 or .zip as necessary. If neither of these are set then EXTRACT_SUFX defaults to .tar.gz.

Note: You never need to set both EXTRACT_SUFX and DISTFILES.


Sometimes the names of the files to be downloaded have no resemblance to the name of the port. For example, it might be called source.tar.gz or similar. In other cases the application's source code might be in several different archives, all of which must be downloaded.

If this is the case, set DISTFILES to be a space separated list of all the files that must be downloaded.

DISTFILES=     source1.tar.gz source2.tar.gz

If not explicitly set, DISTFILES defaults to ${DISTNAME}${EXTRACT_SUFX}.


If only some of the DISTFILES must be extracted--for example, one of them is the source code, while another is an uncompressed document--list the filenames that must be extracted in EXTRACT_ONLY.

DISTFILES=     source.tar.gz manual.html
EXTRACT_ONLY=  source.tar.gz

If none of the DISTFILES should be uncompressed then set EXTRACT_ONLY to the empty string.



If your port requires some additional patches that are available by FTP or HTTP, set PATCHFILES to the names of the files and PATCH_SITES to the URL of the directory that contains them (the format is the same as MASTER_SITES).

If the patch is not relative to the top of the source tree (i.e., WRKSRC) because it contains some extra pathnames, set PATCH_DIST_STRIP accordingly. For instance, if all the pathnames in the patch have an extra foozolix-1.0/ in front of the filenames, then set PATCH_DIST_STRIP=-p1.

Do not worry if the patches are compressed; they will be decompressed automatically if the filenames end with .gz or .Z.

If the patch is distributed with some other files, such as documentation, in a gzip'd tarball, you cannot just use PATCHFILES. If that is the case, add the name and the location of the patch tarball to DISTFILES and MASTER_SITES. Then, use the EXTRA_PATCHES variable to point to those files and will automatically apply them for you. In particular, do not copy patch files into the PATCHDIR directory--that directory may not be writable.

Note: The tarball will have been extracted alongside the regular source by then, so there is no need to explicitly extract it if it is a regular gzip'd or compress'd tarball. If you do the latter, take extra care not to overwrite something that already exists in that directory. Also, do not forget to add a command to remove the copied patch in the pre-clean target.

5.4.7 Multiple distribution files or patches from different sites and subdirectories (MASTER_SITES:n)

(Consider this to be a somewhat ``advanced topic''; those new to this document may wish to skip this section at first).

This section has information on the fetching mechanism known as both MASTER_SITES:n and MASTER_SITES_NN. We will refer to this mechanism as MASTER_SITES:n hereon.

A little background first. OpenBSD has a neat feature inside both DISTFILES and PATCHFILES variables, both files and patches can be postfixed with :n identifiers where n both can be [0-9] and denote a group designation. For example:

DISTFILES=      alpha:0 beta:1

In OpenBSD, distribution file alpha will be associated with variable MASTER_SITES0 instead of our common MASTER_SITES and beta with MASTER_SITES1.

This is a very interesting feature which can decrease that endless search for the correct download site.

Just picture 2 files in DISTFILES and 20 sites in MASTER_SITES, the sites slow as hell where beta is carried by all sites in MASTER_SITES, and alpha can only be found in the 20th site. It would be such a waste to check all of them if maintainer knew this beforehand, would it not? Not a good start for that lovely weekend!

Now that you have the idea, just imagine more DISTFILES and more MASTER_SITES. Surely our ``distfiles survey meister'' would appreciate the relief to network strain that this would bring.

In the next sections, information will follow on the FreeBSD implementation of this idea. We improved a bit on OpenBSD's concept. Simplified information

This section tells you how to quickly prepare fine grained fetching of multiple distribution files and patches from different sites and subdirectories. We describe here a case of simplified MASTER_SITES:n usage. This will be sufficient for most scenarios. However, if you need further information, you will have to refer to the next section.

Some applications consist of multiple distribution files that must be downloaded from a number of different sites. For example, Ghostscript consists of the core of the program, and then a large number of driver files that are used depending on the user's printer. Some of these driver files are supplied with the core, but many others must be downloaded from a variety of different sites.

To support this, each entry in DISTFILES may be followed by a colon and a ``tag name''. Each site listed in MASTER_SITES is then followed by a colon, and the tag that indicates which distribution files should be downloaded from this site.

For example, consider an application with the source split in two parts, source1.tar.gz and source2.tar.gz, which must be downloaded from two different sites. The port's Makefile would include lines like Example 5-1.

Example 5-1. Simplified use of MASTER_SITES:n with 1 file per site

DISTFILES=      source1.tar.gz:source1 \

Multiple distribution files can have the same tag. Continuing the previous example, suppose that there was a third distfile, source3.tar.gz, that should be downloaded from The Makefile would then be written like Example 5-2.

Example 5-2. Simplified use of MASTER_SITES:n with more than 1 file per site

DISTFILES=      source1.tar.gz:source1 \
        source2.tar.gz:source2 \
        source3.tar.gz:source2 Detailed information

Okay, so the previous section example did not reflect your needs? In this section we will explain in detail how the fine grained fetching mechanism MASTER_SITES:n works and how you can modify your ports to use it.

  1. Elements can be postfixed with :n where n is [^:,]+, i.e., n could conceptually be any alphanumeric string but we will limit it to [a-zA-Z_][0-9a-zA-Z_]+ for now.

    Moreover, string matching is case sensitive; i.e., n is different from N.

    However, the following words cannot be used for postfixing purposes since they yield special meaning: default, all and ALL (they are used internally in item ii). Furthermore, DEFAULT is a special purpose word (check item 3).

  2. Elements postfixed with :n belong to the group n, :m belong to group m and so forth.

  3. Elements without a postfix are groupless, i.e., they all belong to the special group DEFAULT. If you postfix any elements with DEFAULT, you are just being redundant unless you want to have an element belonging to both DEFAULT and other groups at the same time (check item 5).

    The following examples are equivalent but the first one is preferred:

    MASTER_SITES=   alpha
  4. Groups are not exclusive, an element may belong to several different groups at the same time and a group can either have either several different elements or none at all. Repeated elements within the same group will be simply that, repeated elements.

  5. When you want an element to belong to several groups at the same time, you can use the comma operator (,).

    Instead of repeating it several times, each time with a different postfix, we can list several groups at once in a single postfix. For instance, :m,n,o marks an element that belongs to group m, n and o.

    All the following examples are equivalent but the last one is preferred:

    MASTER_SITES=   alpha alpha:SOME_SITE
  6. All sites within a given group are sorted according to MASTER_SORT_AWK. All groups within MASTER_SITES and PATCH_SITES are sorted as well.

  7. Group semantics can be used in any of the following variables MASTER_SITES, PATCH_SITES, MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR, PATCH_SITE_SUBDIR, DISTFILES, and PATCHFILES according to the following syntax:

    1. All MASTER_SITES, PATCH_SITES, MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR and PATCH_SITE_SUBDIR elements must be terminated with the forward slash / character. If any elements belong to any groups, the group postfix :n must come right after the terminator /. The MASTER_SITES:n mechanism relies on the existence of the terminator / to avoid confusing elements where a :n is a valid part of the element with occurrences where :n denotes group n. For compatibility purposes, since the / terminator was not required before in both MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR and PATCH_SITE_SUBDIR elements, if the postfix immediate preceding character is not a / then :n will be considered a valid part of the element instead of a group postfix even if an element is postfixed with :n. See both Example 5-3 and Example 5-4.

      Example 5-3. Detailed use of MASTER_SITES:n in MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR

      MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR=     old:n new/:NEW
      • Directories within group DEFAULT -> old:n

      • Directories within group NEW -> new

      Example 5-4. Detailed use of MASTER_SITES:n with comma operator, multiple files, multiple sites and multiple subdirectories

      MASTER_SITES=   http://site1/%SUBDIR%/ http://site2/:DEFAULT \
              http://site3/:group3 http://site4/:group4 \
              http://site5/:group5 http://site6/:group6 \
              http://site7/:DEFAULT,group6 \
              http://site8/%SUBDIR%/:group6,group7 \
      DISTFILES=      file1 file2:DEFAULT file3:group3 \
              file4:group4,group5,group6 file5:grouping \
      MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR=     directory-trial:1 directory-n/:groupn \
                  directory-one/:group6,DEFAULT \

      The previous example results in the following fine grained fetching. Sites are listed in the exact order they will be used.

      • file1 will be fetched from


        • http://site1/directory-trial:1/

        • http://site1/directory-one/

        • http://site1/directory/

        • http://site2/

        • http://site7/


      • file2 will be fetched exactly as file1 since they both belong to the same group


        • http://site1/directory-trial:1/

        • http://site1/directory-one/

        • http://site1/directory/

        • http://site2/

        • http://site7/


      • file3 will be fetched from


        • http://site3/


      • file4 will be fetched from


        • http://site4/

        • http://site5/

        • http://site6/

        • http://site7/

        • http://site8/directory-one/


      • file5 will be fetched from



      • file6 will be fetched from


        • http://site8/


  8. How do I group one of the special variables from, e.g., MASTER_SITE_SOURCEFORGE?

    See Example 5-5.

    Example 5-5. Detailed use of MASTER_SITES:n with MASTER_SITE_SOURCEFORGE

    MASTER_SITES=   http://site1/ ${MASTER_SITE_SOURCEFORGE:S/$/:sourceforge,TEST/}
    DISTFILES=      something.tar.gz:sourceforge

    something.tar.gz will be fetched from all sites within MASTER_SITE_SOURCEFORGE.

  9. How do I use this with PATCH* variables?

    All examples were done with MASTER* variables but they work exactly the same for PATCH* ones as can be seen in Example 5-6.

    Example 5-6. Simplified use of MASTER_SITES:n with PATCH_SITES.

    PATCH_SITES=    http://site1/ http://site2/:test
    PATCHFILES=     patch1:test What does change for ports? What does not?

  1. All current ports remain the same. The MASTER_SITES:n feature code is only activated if there are elements postfixed with :n like elements according to the aforementioned syntax rules, especially as shown in item 7.

  2. The port targets remain the same: checksum, makesum, patch, configure, build, etc. With the obvious exceptions of do-fetch, fetch-list, master-sites and patch-sites.

    • do-fetch: deploys the new grouping postfixed DISTFILES and PATCHFILES with their matching group elements within both MASTER_SITES and PATCH_SITES which use matching group elements within both MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR and PATCH_SITE_SUBDIR. Check Example 5-4.

    • fetch-list: works like old fetch-list with the exception that it groups just like do-fetch.

    • master-sites and patch-sites: (incompatible with older versions) only return the elements of group DEFAULT; in fact, they execute targets master-sites-default and patch-sites-default respectively.

      Furthermore, using target either master-sites-all or patch-sites-all is preferred to directly checking either MASTER_SITES or PATCH_SITES. Also, directly checking is not guaranteed to work in any future versions. Check item iii.ii for more information on these new port targets.

  3. New port targets

    1. There are master-sites-n and patch-sites-n targets which will list the elements of the respective group n within MASTER_SITES and PATCH_SITES respectively. For instance, both master-sites-DEFAULT and patch-sites-DEFAULT will return the elements of group DEFAULT, master-sites-test and patch-sites-test of group test, and thereon.

    2. There are new targets master-sites-all and patch-sites-all which do the work of the old master-sites and patch-sites ones. They return the elements of all groups as if they all belonged to the same group with the caveat that it lists as many MASTER_SITE_BACKUP and MASTER_SITE_OVERRIDE as there are groups defined within either DISTFILES or PATCHFILES; respectively for master-sites-all and patch-sites-all.


Do not let your port clutter /usr/ports/distfiles. If your port requires a lot of files to be fetched, or contains a file that has a name that might conflict with other ports (e.g., Makefile), set DIST_SUBDIR to the name of the port (${PORTNAME} or ${PKGNAMEPREFIX}${PORTNAME} should work fine). This will change DISTDIR from the default /usr/ports/distfiles to /usr/ports/distfiles/DIST_SUBDIR, and in effect puts everything that is required for your port into that subdirectory.

It will also look at the subdirectory with the same name on the backup master site at (Setting DISTDIR explicitly in your Makefile will not accomplish this, so please use DIST_SUBDIR.)

Note: This does not affect the MASTER_SITES you define in your Makefile.


If your port uses binary distfiles and has a license that requires that the source code is provided with packages distributed in binary form, e.g. GPL, ALWAYS_KEEP_DISTFILES will instruct the FreeBSD build cluster to keep a copy of the files specified in DISTFILES. Users of these ports will generally not need these files, so it is a good idea to only add the source distfiles to DISTFILES when PACKAGE_BUILDING is defined.

Example 5-7. Use of ALWAYS_KEEP_DISTFILES.

DISTFILES+=             foo.tar.gz

When adding extra files to DISTFILES, make sure you also add them to distinfo. Also, the additional files will normally be extracted into WRKDIR as well, which for some ports may lead to undesirable sideeffects and require special handling.


Set your mail-address here. Please. :-)

Note that only a single address without the comment part is allowed as a MAINTAINER value. The format used should be user@hostname.domain. Please do not include any descriptive text such as your real name in this entry--that merely confuses

The maintainer is responsible for keeping the port up to date, and ensuring the port works correctly. For a detailed description of the responsibilities of a port maintainer, refer to the The challenge for port maintainers section.

Changes to the port will be sent to the maintainer of a port for a review and an approval before being committed. If the maintainer does not respond to an update request after two weeks (excluding major public holidays), then that is considered a maintainer timeout, and the update may be made without explicit maintainer approval. If the maintainer does not respond within three months, then that maintainer is considered absent without leave, and can be replaced as the maintainer of the particular port in question. Exceptions to this are anything maintained by the Ports Management Team , or the Security Officer Team . No unauthorized commits may ever be made to ports maintained by those groups.

We reserve the right to modify the maintainer's submission to better match existing policies and style of the Ports Collection without explicit blessing from the submitter. Also, large infrastructural changes can result in a port being modified without maintainer's consent. This kind of changes will never affect the port's functionality.

The Ports Management Team reserves the right to revoke or override anyone's maintainership for any reason, and the Security Officer Team reserves the right to revoke or override maintainership for security reasons.


This is a one-line description of the port. Please do not include the package name (or version number of the software) in the comment. The comment should begin with a capital and end without a period. Here is an example:

COMMENT=       A cat chasing a mouse all over the screen

The COMMENT variable should immediately follow the MAINTAINER variable in the Makefile.

Please try to keep the COMMENT line less than 70 characters, as it is displayed to users as a one-line summary of the port.

5.7 Dependencies

Many ports depend on other ports. There are seven variables that you can use to ensure that all the required bits will be on the user's machine. There are also some pre-supported dependency variables for common cases, plus a few more to control the behavior of dependencies.


This variable specifies the shared libraries this port depends on. It is a list of lib:dir[:target] tuples where lib is the name of the shared library, dir is the directory in which to find it in case it is not available, and target is the target to call in that directory. For example,

LIB_DEPENDS=   jpeg.9:${PORTSDIR}/graphics/jpeg
will check for a shared jpeg library with major version 9, and descend into the graphics/jpeg subdirectory of your ports tree to build and install it if it is not found. The target part can be omitted if it is equal to DEPENDS_TARGET (which defaults to install).

Note: The lib part is a regular expression which is being looked up in the ldconfig -r output. Values such as intl.[5-7] and intl are allowed. The first pattern, intl.[5-7], will match any of: intl.5, intl.6 or intl.7. The second pattern, intl, will match any version of the intl library.

The dependency is checked twice, once from within the extract target and then from within the install target. Also, the name of the dependency is put into the package so that pkg_add(1) will automatically install it if it is not on the user's system.


This variable specifies executables or files this port depends on during run-time. It is a list of path:dir[:target] tuples where path is the name of the executable or file, dir is the directory in which to find it in case it is not available, and target is the target to call in that directory. If path starts with a slash (/), it is treated as a file and its existence is tested with test -e; otherwise, it is assumed to be an executable, and which -s is used to determine if the program exists in the search path.

For example,

RUN_DEPENDS=   ${LOCALBASE}/etc/innd:${PORTSDIR}/news/inn \

will check if the file or directory /usr/local/etc/innd exists, and build and install it from the news/inn subdirectory of the ports tree if it is not found. It will also see if an executable called wish8.0 is in the search path, and descend into the x11-toolkits/tk80 subdirectory of your ports tree to build and install it if it is not found.

Note: In this case, innd is actually an executable; if an executable is in a place that is not expected to be in the search path, you should use the full pathname.

Note: The official search PATH used on the ports build cluster is


The dependency is checked from within the install target. Also, the name of the dependency is put into the package so that pkg_add(1) will automatically install it if it is not on the user's system. The target part can be omitted if it is the same as DEPENDS_TARGET.


This variable specifies executables or files this port requires to build. Like RUN_DEPENDS, it is a list of path:dir[:target] tuples. For example,

will check for an executable called unzip, and descend into the archivers/unzip subdirectory of your ports tree to build and install it if it is not found.

Note: ``build'' here means everything from extraction to compilation. The dependency is checked from within the extract target. The target part can be omitted if it is the same as DEPENDS_TARGET


This variable specifies executables or files this port requires to fetch. Like the previous two, it is a list of path:dir[:target] tuples. For example,

will check for an executable called ncftp2, and descend into the net/ncftp2 subdirectory of your ports tree to build and install it if it is not found.

The dependency is checked from within the fetch target. The target part can be omitted if it is the same as DEPENDS_TARGET.


This variable specifies executables or files this port requires for extraction. Like the previous, it is a list of path:dir[:target] tuples. For example,

will check for an executable called unzip, and descend into the archivers/unzip subdirectory of your ports tree to build and install it if it is not found.

The dependency is checked from within the extract target. The target part can be omitted if it is the same as DEPENDS_TARGET.

Note: Use this variable only if the extraction does not already work (the default assumes gzip) and cannot be made to work using USE_ZIP or USE_BZIP2 described in Section 5.7.8.


This variable specifies executables or files this port requires to patch. Like the previous, it is a list of path:dir[:target] tuples. For example,

will descend into the java/jfc subdirectory of your ports tree to extract it.

The dependency is checked from within the patch target. The target part can be omitted if it is the same as DEPENDS_TARGET.


If there is a dependency that does not fall into either of the above categories, or your port requires having the source of the other port extracted in addition to having it installed, then use this variable. This is a list of dir[:target], as there is nothing to check, unlike the previous four. The target part can be omitted if it is the same as DEPENDS_TARGET.

5.7.8 USE_*

A number of variables exist in order to encapsulate common dependencies that many ports have. Although their use is optional, they can help to reduce the verbosity of the port Makefiles. Each of them is styled as USE_*. The usage of these variables is restricted to the port Makefiles and ports/Mk/bsd.*.mk and is not designed to encapsulate user-settable options -- use WITH_* and WITHOUT_* for that purpose.

Note: It is always incorrect to set any USE_* in /etc/make.conf. For instance, setting

would adds a dependency on gcc32 for every port, including gcc32 itself!

Table 5-1. The USE_* variables

Variable Means
USE_BZIP2 The port's tarballs are compressed with bzip2.
USE_ZIP The port's tarballs are compressed with zip.
USE_BISON The port uses bison for building.
USE_GCC The port requires a specific version of gcc to build. The exact version can be specified with value such as 3.2. The minimal required version can be specified as 3.2+. The gcc from the base system is used when it satisfies the requested version, otherwise an appropriate gcc is compiled from ports and the CC and CXX variables are adjusted.

Variables related to gmake and the configure script are described in Section 6.3, while autoconf, automake and libtool are described in Section 6.4. Perl related variables are described in Section 6.6. X11 variables are listed in Section 6.7. Section 6.8 deals with GNOME and Section 6.9 with KDE related variables. Section 6.10 documents Java variables, while Section 6.11 contains information on Apache, PHP and PEAR modules. Python is discussed in Section 6.12, while Ruby in Section 6.14. Finally, Section 6.15 provides variables used for SDL applications.

5.7.9 Minimal version of a dependency

A minimal version of a dependency can be specified in any *_DEPENDS variable using the following syntax:


The first field contains a dependent package name, which must match the entry in the package database, a comparison sign, and a package version. The dependency is satisfied if p5-Spiffy-0.26 or newer is installed on the machine.

5.7.10 Notes on dependencies

As mentioned above, the default target to call when a dependency is required is DEPENDS_TARGET. It defaults to install. This is a user variable; it is never defined in a port's Makefile. If your port needs a special way to handle a dependency, use the :target part of the *_DEPENDS variables instead of redefining DEPENDS_TARGET.

When you type make clean, its dependencies are automatically cleaned too. If you do not wish this to happen, define the variable NOCLEANDEPENDS in your environment. This may be particularly desirable if the port has something that takes a long time to rebuild in its dependency list, such as KDE, GNOME or Mozilla.

To depend on another port unconditionally, use the variable ${NONEXISTENT} as the first field of BUILD_DEPENDS or RUN_DEPENDS. Use this only when you need to get the source of the other port. You can often save compilation time by specifying the target too. For instance

BUILD_DEPENDS=   ${NONEXISTENT}:${PORTSDIR}/graphics/jpeg:extract
will always descend to the jpeg port and extract it.

Do not use DEPENDS unless there is no other way the behavior you want can be accomplished. It will cause the other port to always be built (and installed, by default), and the dependency will go into the packages as well. If this is really what you need, you should probably write it as BUILD_DEPENDS and RUN_DEPENDS instead--at least the intention will be clear.

5.7.11 Circular dependencies are fatal

Important: Do not introduce any circular dependencies into the ports tree!

The ports building technology does not tolerate circular dependencies. If you introduce one, you will have someone, somewhere in the world, whose FreeBSD installation will break almost immediately, with many others quickly to follow. These can really be hard to detect; if in doubt, before you make that change, make sure you have done the following: cd /usr/ports; make index. That process can be quite slow on older machines, but you may be able to save a large number of people--including yourself-- a lot of grief in the process.


If your port needs to build slightly different versions of packages by having a variable (for instance, resolution, or paper size) take different values, create one subdirectory per package to make it easier for users to see what to do, but try to share as many files as possible between ports. Typically you only need a very short Makefile in all but one of the directories if you use variables cleverly. In the sole Makefile, you can use MASTERDIR to specify the directory where the rest of the files are. Also, use a variable as part of PKGNAMESUFFIX so the packages will have different names.

This will be best demonstrated by an example. This is part of japanese/xdvi300/Makefile;

PORTNAME=       xdvi
# default
.if ${RESOLUTION} != 118 && ${RESOLUTION} != 240 && \
       ${RESOLUTION} != 300 && ${RESOLUTION} != 400
       @${ECHO_MSG} "Error: invalid value for RESOLUTION: \"${RESOLUTION}\""
       @${ECHO_MSG} "Possible values are: 118, 240, 300 (default) and 400."

japanese/xdvi300 also has all the regular patches, package files, etc. If you type make there, it will take the default value for the resolution (300) and build the port normally.

As for other resolutions, this is the entire xdvi118/Makefile:

MASTERDIR=      ${.CURDIR}/../xdvi300

.include "${MASTERDIR}/Makefile"

(xdvi240/Makefile and xdvi400/Makefile are similar). The MASTERDIR definition tells that the regular set of subdirectories like FILESDIR and SCRIPTDIR are to be found under xdvi300. The RESOLUTION=118 line will override the RESOLUTION=300 line in xdvi300/Makefile and the port will be built with resolution set to 118.

5.9 Manpages

The MAN[1-9LN] variables will automatically add any manpages to pkg-plist (this means you must not list manpages in the pkg-plist--see generating PLIST for more). It also makes the install stage automatically compress or uncompress manpages depending on the setting of NOMANCOMPRESS in /etc/make.conf.

If your port tries to install multiple names for manpages using symlinks or hardlinks, you must use the MLINKS variable to identify these. The link installed by your port will be destroyed and recreated by to make sure it points to the correct file. Any manpages listed in MLINKS must not be listed in the pkg-plist.

To specify whether the manpages are compressed upon installation, use the MANCOMPRESSED variable. This variable can take three values, yes, no and maybe. yes means manpages are already installed compressed, no means they are not, and maybe means the software already respects the value of NOMANCOMPRESS so does not have to do anything special.

MANCOMPRESSED is automatically set to yes if USE_IMAKE is set and NO_INSTALL_MANPAGES is not set, and to no otherwise. You do not have to explicitly define it unless the default is not suitable for your port.

If your port anchors its man tree somewhere other than PREFIX, you can use the MANPREFIX to set it. Also, if only manpages in certain sections go in a non-standard place, such as some perl modules ports, you can set individual man paths using MANsectPREFIX (where sect is one of 1-9, L or N).

If your manpages go to language-specific subdirectories, set the name of the languages to MANLANG. The value of this variable defaults to "" (i.e., English only).

Here is an example that puts it all together.

MAN1=          foo.1
MAN3=          bar.3
MAN4=          baz.4
MLINKS=        foo.1 alt-name.8
MANLANG=       "" ja
MAN3PREFIX=    ${PREFIX}/share/foobar

This states that six files are installed by this port;


Additionally ${PREFIX}/man/man8/alt-name.8.gz may or may not be installed by your port. Regardless, a symlink will be made to join the foo(1) manpage and alt-name(8) manpage.

5.10 Info files

If your package needs to install GNU info files, they should be listed in the INFO variable (without the trailing .info), and appropriate installation/de-installation code will be automatically added to the temporary pkg-plist before package registration.

5.11 Makefile Options

Some large applications can be built in a number of configurations, adding functionality if one of a number of libraries or applications is available. Examples include choice of natural (human) language, GUI versus command-line, or type of database to support. Since not all users want those libraries or applications, the ports system provides hooks that the port author can use to control which configuration should be built. Supporting these properly will make users happy, and effectively provide 2 or more ports for the price of one.

5.11.1 KNOBS WITH_* and WITHOUT_*

These variables are designed to be set by the system administrator. There are many that are standardized in ports/Mk/bsd.*.mk; others are not, which can be confusing. If you need to add such a configuration variable, please consider using one of the ones from the following list.

Note: You should not assume that a WITH_* necessarily has a corresponding WITHOUT_* variable and vice versa. In general, the default is simply assumed.

Note: Unless otherwise specified, these variables are only tested for being set or not set, rather than being set to some kind of variable such as YES or NO.

Table 5-2. The WITH_* and WITHOUT_* variables

Variable Means
WITH_APACHE2 If set, use www/apache20 instead of the default of www/apache13.
WITH_BERKELEY_DB Define this variable to specify the ability to use a variant of the Berkeley database package such as databases/db41. An associated variable, WITH_BDB_VER, may be set to values such as 2, 3, 4, 41 or 42.
WITH_MYSQL Define this variable to specify the ability to use a variant of the MySQL database package such as databases/mysql40-server. An associated variable, WANT_MYSQL_VER, may be set to values such as 323, 40, 41, or 50.
WITHOUT_NLS If set, says that internationalization is not needed, which can save compile time. By default, internationalization is used.
WITH_OPENSSL_BASE Use the version of OpenSSL in the base system.
WITH_OPENSSL_PORT Use the version of OpenSSL from security/openssl, overwriting the version that was originally installed in the base system.
WITH_POSTGRESQL Define this variable to specify the ability to use a variant of the PostGreSQL database package such as databases/postgresql72.
WITHOUT_X11 If the port can be built both with and without X support, then it should normally be built with X support. If this variable is defined, then the version that does not have X support should be built instead. Knob naming

It is recommended that porters use like-named knobs, for the benefit of end-users and to help keep the number of knob names down. A list of popular knob names can be found in the KNOBS file.

Knob names should reflect what the knob is and does. When a port has a lib-prefix in the PORTNAME the lib-prefix should be dropped in knob naming.

5.11.2 OPTIONS Background

The OPTIONS variable gives the user who installs the port a dialog with the available options and saves them to /var/db/ports/portname/options. Next time when the port has to be rebuild, the options are reused. Never again you will have to remember all the twenty WITH_* and WITHOUT_* options you used to build this port!

When the user runs make config (or runs make build for the first time), the framework will check for /var/db/ports/portname/options. If that file does not exist, it will use the values of OPTIONS to create a dialogbox where the options can be enabled or disabled. Then the options file is saved and the selected variables will be used when building the port.

Use make showconfig to see the saved configuration. Use make rmconfig to remove the saved configuration. Syntax

The syntax for the OPTIONS variable is:

OPTIONS=   OPTION  "descriptive text" default ...
The value for default is either ON or OFF. Multiple repetitions of these three fields are allowed.

OPTIONS definition must appear before the inclusion of The WITH_* and WITHOUT_* variables can only be tested after the inclusion of

Due to a deficiency in the infrastructure, you can only test WITH_* variables for options which are OFF by default, and WITHOUT_* variables for options which default to ON. The reasoning behind this: when packages are built with PACKAGE_BUILDING or BATCH defined, the config target is not run, and therefore no OPTIONS are selected. This would cause make depends and make describe to break for ports not following the aforementioned rule. Example

Example 5-8. Simple use of OPTIONS

OPTIONS=      FOO "Enable option foo" On \
              BAR "Support feature bar" Off

.include <>

.if defined(WITHOUT_FOO)
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --without-foo
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --with-foo

.if defined(WITH_BAR)
RUN_DEPENDS+=   bar:${PORTSDIR}/bar/bar

.include <>

5.11.3 Feature auto-activation

When using a GNU configure script, keep an eye on which optional features are activated by auto-detection. Explicitly disable optional features you do not wish to be used by passing respective --without-xxx or --disable-xxx in CONFIGURE_ARGS.

Example 5-9. Wrong handling of an option

.if defined(WITH_FOO)
LIB_DEPENDS+=       foo.0:${PORTSDIR}/devel/foo
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --enable-foo

In the example above, imagine a library libfoo is installed on the system. User does not want this application to use libfoo, so he toggled the option off in the make config dialog. But the application's configure script detects the library present in the system and includes its support in the resulting executable. Now when user decides to remove libfoo from the system, the ports system does not protest (no dependency on libfoo was recorded) but the application breaks.

Example 5-10. Correct handling of an option

.if defined(WITH_FOO)
LIB_DEPENDS+=       foo.0:${PORTSDIR}/devel/foo
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --enable-foo
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=    --disable-foo

In the second example, the library libfoo is explicitly disabled. The configure script does not enable related features in the application, despite library's presence in the system.

5.12 Specifying the working directory

Each port is extracted in to a working directory, which must be writable. The ports system defaults to having the DISTFILES unpack in to a directory called ${DISTNAME}. In other words, if you have set:

PORTNAME=      foo

then the port's distribution files contain a top-level directory, foo-1.0, and the rest of the files are located under that directory.

There are a number of variables you can override if that is not the case.

5.12.1 WRKSRC

The variable lists the name of the directory that is created when the application's distfiles are extracted. If our previous example extracted into a directory called foo (and not foo-1.0) you would write:

WRKSRC=      ${WRKDIR}/foo

or possibly



If the port does not extract in to a subdirectory at all then you should set NO_WRKSUBDIR to indicate that.



If your package cannot coexist with other packages (because of file conflicts, runtime incompatibility, etc.), list the other package names in the CONFLICTS variable. You can use shell globs like * and ? here. Packages names should be enumerated the same way they appear in /var/db/pkg. Please make sure that CONFLICTS does not match this port's package itself, or else forcing its installation with FORCE_PKG_REGISTER will no longer work.

Note: CONFLICTS automatically sets IGNORE, which is more fully documented in Section 12.19.

Chapter 6 Special considerations

There are some more things you have to take into account when you create a port. This section explains the most common of those.

6.1 Shared Libraries

If your port installs one or more shared libraries, define a USE_LDCONFIG make variable, which will instruct a to run ${LDCONFIG} -m on the directory where the new library is installed (usually PREFIX/lib) during post-install target to register it into the shared library cache. This variable, when defined, will also facilitate addition of an appropriate @exec /sbin/ldconfig -m and @unexec /sbin/ldconfig -R pair into your pkg-plist file, so that a user who installed the package can start using the shared library immediately and de-installation will not cause the system to still believe the library is there.


If you need, you can override the default directory by setting the USE_LDCONFIG value to a list of directories into which shared libraries are to be installed. For example if your port installs shared libraries into PREFIX/lib/foo and PREFIX/lib/bar directories you could use the following in your Makefile:

USE_LDCONFIG= ${PREFIX}/lib/foo ${PREFIX}/lib/bar

Please double-check, often this is not necessary at all or can be avoided through -rpath or setting LD_RUN_PATH during linking (see lang/moscow_ml for an example), or through a shell-wrapper which sets LD_LIBRARY_PATH before invoking the binary, like www/mozilla does.

When installing 32-bit libraries on 64-bit system, use USE_LDCONFIG32 instead.

Try to keep shared library version numbers in the format. Our runtime linker only cares for the major (first) number.

When the major library version number increments in the update to the new port version, all other ports that link to the affected library should have their PORTREVISION incremented, to force recompilation with the new library version.

If the port installs shared libraries with long version numbers, e.g., the ports infrastructure will try to rename the files. Define NO_FILTER_SHLIBS to disable this functionality.

6.2 Ports with distribution restrictions

Licenses vary, and some of them place restrictions on how the application can be packaged, whether it can be sold for profit, and so on.

Important: It is your responsibility as a porter to read the licensing terms of the software and make sure that the FreeBSD project will not be held accountable for violating them by redistributing the source or compiled binaries either via FTP/HTTP or CD-ROM. If in doubt, please contact the FreeBSD ports mailing list.

In situations like this, the variables described in the following sections can be set.


This variable indicates that we may not generate a binary package of the application. For instance, the license may disallow binary redistribution, or it may prohibit distribution of packages created from patched sources.

However, the port's DISTFILES may be freely mirrored on FTP/HTTP. They may also be distributed on a CD-ROM (or similar media) unless NO_CDROM is set as well.

NO_PACKAGE should also be used if the binary package is not generally useful, and the application should always be compiled from the source code. For example, if the application has configuration information that is site specific hard coded in to it at compile time, set NO_PACKAGE.

NO_PACKAGE should be set to a string describing the reason why the package should not be generated.

6.2.2 NO_CDROM

This variable alone indicates that, although we are allowed to generate binary packages, we may put neither those packages nor the port's DISTFILES onto a CD-ROM (or similar media) for resale. However, the binary packages and the port's DISTFILES will still be available via FTP/HTTP.

If this variable is set along with NO_PACKAGE, then only the port's DISTFILES will be available, and only via FTP/HTTP.

NO_CDROM should be set to a string describing the reason why the port cannot be redistributed on CD-ROM. For instance, this should be used if the port's license is for ``non-commercial'' use only.


Files defined in the NOFETCHFILES variable are not fetchable from any of the MASTER_SITES. An example of such a file is when the file is supplied on CD-ROM by the vendor.

Tools which check for the availability of these files on the MASTER_SITES should ignore these files and not report about them.


Set this variable alone if the application's license permits neither mirroring the application's DISTFILES nor distributing the binary package in any way.

NO_CDROM or NO_PACKAGE should not be set along with RESTRICTED since the latter variable implies the former ones.

RESTRICTED should be set to a string describing the reason why the port cannot be redistributed. Typically, this indicates that the port contains proprietary software and that the user will need to manually download the DISTFILES, possibly after registering for the software or agreeing to accept the terms of an EULA.


When RESTRICTED or NO_CDROM is set, this variable defaults to ${DISTFILES} ${PATCHFILES}, otherwise it is empty. If only some of the distribution files are restricted, then set this variable to list them.

Note that the port committer should add an entry to /usr/ports/LEGAL for every listed distribution file, describing exactly what the restriction entails.

6.3 Building mechanisms

6.3.1 make, gmake, and imake

If your port uses GNU make, set USE_GMAKE=yes.

Table 6-1. Variables for ports related to gmake

Variable Means
USE_GMAKE The port requires gmake to build.
GMAKE The full path for gmake if it is not in the PATH.

If your port is an X application that creates Makefile files from Imakefile files using imake, then set USE_IMAKE=yes. This will cause the configure stage to automatically do an xmkmf -a. If the -a flag is a problem for your port, set XMKMF=xmkmf. If the port uses imake but does not understand the target, NO_INSTALL_MANPAGES=yes should be set.

If your port's source Makefile has something else than all as the main build target, set ALL_TARGET accordingly. Same goes for install and INSTALL_TARGET.

6.3.2 configure script

If your port uses the configure script to generate Makefile files from files, set GNU_CONFIGURE=yes. If you want to give extra arguments to the configure script (the default argument is --prefix=${PREFIX} ${CONFIGURE_TARGET}), set those extra arguments in CONFIGURE_ARGS. Extra environment variables can be passed using CONFIGURE_ENV variable.

If your package uses GNU configure, and the resulting executable file has a ``strange'' name like i386-portbld-freebsd4.7-appname, you will need to additionally override the CONFIGURE_TARGET variable to specify the target in the way required by scripts generated by recent versions of autoconf. Add the following line immediately after the GNU_CONFIGURE=yes line in your Makefile:


Table 6-2. Variables for ports that use configure

Variable Means
GNU_CONFIGURE The port uses configure script to prepare build.
HAS_CONFIGURE Same as GNU_CONFIGURE, except default configure target is not added to CONFIGURE_ARGS.
CONFIGURE_ARGS Additional arguments passed to configure script.
CONFIGURE_ENV Additional environment variables to be set for configure script run.
CONFIGURE_TARGET Override default configure target. Default value is ${MACHINE_ARCH}-portbld-freebsd${OSREL}.

6.3.3 Using scons

If your port uses SCons, define USE_SCONS=yes.

Table 6-3. Variables for ports that use scons

Variable Means
SCONS_ARGS Port specific SCons flags passed to the SCons environment.
SCONS_BUILDENV Variables to be set in system environment.
SCONS_ENV Variables to be set in SCons environment.
SCONS_TARGET Last argument passed to SCons, similar to MAKE_TARGET.

6.4 Using GNU autotools

6.4.1 Introduction

The various GNU autotools provide an abstraction mechanism for building a piece of software over a wide variety of operating systems and machine architectures. Within the Ports Collection, an individual port can make use of these tools via a simple construct:

USE_AUTOTOOLS= tool:version[:operation] ...

At the time of writing, tool can be one of libtool, libltdl, autoconf, autoheader, automake or aclocal.

version specifies the particular tool revision to be used (see devel/{automake,autoconf,libtool}[0-9]+ for valid versions).

operation is an optional extension to modify how the tool is used.

Multiple tools can be specified at once, either by including them all on a single line, or using the += Makefile construct.

Before proceeding any further, it cannot be stressed highly enough that the constructs discussed here are for use ONLY in building other ports. For cross-development work, the devel/gnu-{automake,autoconf,libtool} ports should be used, such as within an IDE. devel/anjuta and devel/kdevelop (GNOME and KDE respectively) are good examples of how to achieve this.

6.4.2 libtool

Shared libraries using the GNU building framework usually use libtool to adjust the compilation and installation of shared libraries to match the specifics of the underlying operating system. The usual practice is to use copy of libtool bundled with the application. In case you need to use external libtool, you can use the version provided by The Ports Collection:

USE_AUTOTOOLS= libtool:version[:env]

With no additional operations, libtool:version tells the building framework to patch the configure script with the system-installed copy of libtool. The GNU_CONFIGURE is implied. Further, a number of make and shell variables will be assigned for onward use by the port. See for details.

With the :env operation, only the environment will be set up.

Previously USE_AUTOTOOLS construct
USE_LIBTOOL_VER=15 libtool:15
USE_INC_LIBTOOL_VER=15 not in use anymore
WANT_LIBTOOL_VER=15 libtool:15:env

Finally, LIBTOOLFLAGS and LIBTOOLFILES can be optionally set to override the most likely arguments to, and files patched by, libtool. Most ports are unlikely to need this. See for further details.

6.4.3 libltdl

Some ports make use of the libltdl library package, which is part of the libtool suite. Use of this library does not automatically necessitate the use of libtool itself, so a separate construct is provided.

USE_AUTOTOOLS= libltdl:version

Currently, all this does is to bring in a LIB_DEPENDS on the appropriate libltdl port, and is provided as a convenience function to help eliminate any dependencies on the autotools ports outside of the USE_AUTOTOOLS framework. There are no optional operations for this tool.

Previously USE_AUTOTOOLS construct
USE_LIBLTDL=YES libltdl:15

6.4.4 autoconf and autoheader

Some ports do not contain a configure script, but do contain an autoconf template in the file. You can use the following assignments to let autoconf create the configure script, and also have autoheader create template headers for use by the configure script.

USE_AUTOTOOLS= autoconf:version[:env]


USE_AUTOTOOLS= autoheader:version

which also implies the use of autoconf:version.

Similarly to libtool, the inclusion of the optional :env operation simply sets up the environment for further use. Without it, patching and reconfiguration of the port is carried out.

Previously USE_AUTOTOOLS construct
USE_AUTOCONF_VER=213 autoconf:213
WANT_AUTOCONF_VER=259 autoconf:259:env
USE_AUTOHEADER_VER=253 autoheader:253 (implies autoconf:253)

The additional optional variables AUTOCONF_ARGS and AUTOHEADER_ARGS can be overridden by the port Makefile if specifically requested. As with the libtool equivalents, most ports are unlikely to need this.

6.4.5 automake and aclocal

Some packages only contain files. These have to be converted into files using automake, and the further processed by configure to generate an actual Makefile.

Similarly, packages occasionally do not ship with included aclocal.m4 files, again required to build the software. This can be achieved with aclocal, which scans or

aclocal has a similar relationship to automake as autoheader does to autoconf, described in the previous section. aclocal implies the use of automake, thus we have:

USE_AUTOTOOLS= automake:version[:env]


USE_AUTOTOOLS= aclocal:version

which also implies the use of automake:version.

Similarly to libtool and autoconf, the inclusion of the optional :env operation simply sets up the environment for further use. Without it, reconfiguration of the port is carried out.

Previously USE_AUTOTOOLS construct
USE_AUTOMAKE_VER=14 automake:14
WANT_AUTOMAKE_VER=15 automake:15:env
USE_ACLOCAL_VER=19 aclocal:19 (implies automake:19)

As with autoconf and autoheader, both automake and aclocal have optional argument variables, AUTOMAKE_ARGS and ACLOCAL_ARGS respectively, which may be overriden by the port Makefile if required.

6.5 Using GNU gettext

6.5.1 Basic usage

If your port requires gettext, just set USE_GETTEXT to yes, and your port will grow the dependency on devel/gettext. The value of USE_GETTEXT can also specify the required version of the libintl library, the basic part of gettext, but using this feature is strongly discouraged: Your port should work with just the current version of devel/gettext.

A rather common case is a port using gettext and configure. Generally, GNU configure should be able to locate gettext automatically. If it ever fails to, hints at the location of gettext can be passed in CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS as follows:

CPPFLAGS+=      -I${LOCALBASE}/include
LDFLAGS+=       -L${LOCALBASE}/lib


Of course, the code can be more compact if there are no more flags to pass to configure:


6.5.2 Optional usage

Some software products allow for disabling NLS, e.g., through passing --disable-nls to configure. In that case, your port should use gettext conditionally, depending on the status of WITHOUT_NLS. For ports of low to medium complexity, you can rely on the following idiom:

GNU_CONFIGURE=          yes

.if !defined(WITHOUT_NLS)
USE_GETTEXT=            yes
PLIST_SUB+=             NLS=""
CONFIGURE_ARGS+=        --disable-nls
PLIST_SUB+=             NLS="@comment "

The next item on your to-do list is to arrange so that the message catalog files are included in the packing list conditionally. The Makefile part of this task is already provided by the idiom. It is explained in the section on advanced pkg-plist practices. In a nutshell, each occurrence of %%NLS%% in pkg-plist will be replaced by ``@comment '' if NLS is disabled, or by a null string if NLS is enabled. Consequently, the lines prefixed by %%NLS%% will become mere comments in the final packing list if NLS is off; otherwise the prefix will be just left out. All you need to do now is insert %%NLS%% before each path to a message catalog file in pkg-plist. For example:


In high complexity cases, you may need to use more advanced techniques than the recipe given here, such as dynamic packing list generation.

6.5.3 Handling message catalog directories

There is a point to note about installing message catalog files. The target directories for them, which reside under LOCALBASE/share/locale, should rarely be created and removed by your port. The most popular languages have their respective directories listed in /etc/mtree/BSD.local.dist; that is, they are a part of the base system. The directories for many other languages are governed by the devel/gettext port. You may want to consult its pkg-plist and see whether your port is going to install a message catalog file for a unique language.

6.6 Using perl

If MASTER_SITES is set to MASTER_SITE_PERL_CPAN, then preferred value of MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR is top-level hierarchy name. For example, the recommend value for p5-Module-Name is Module. The top-level hierarchy can be examined at This keeps the port working when the author of the module changes.

The exception to this rule is when the relevant directory does not exist or the distfile does not exist in the directory. In such case, using author's id as MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR is allowed.

Table 6-4. Variables for ports that use perl

Variable Means
USE_PERL5 Says that the port uses perl 5 to build and run.
USE_PERL5_BUILD Says that the port uses perl 5 to build.
USE_PERL5_RUN Says that the port uses perl 5 to run.
PERL The full path of perl 5, either in the system or installed from a port, but without the version number. Use this if you need to replace ``#!''lines in scripts.
PERL_CONFIGURE Configure using Perl's MakeMaker. It implies USE_PERL5.
PERL_MODBUILD Configure, build and install using Module::Build. It implies PERL_CONFIGURE.
Read only variables  
PERL_VERSION The full version of perl installed (e.g., 5.00503).
PERL_VER The short version of perl installed (e.g., 5.005).
PERL_LEVEL The installed perl version as an integer of the form MNNNPP (e.g., 500503).
PERL_ARCH Where perl stores architecture dependent libraries. Defaults to ${ARCH}-freebsd.
PERL_PORT Name of the perl port that is installed (e.g., perl5).
SITE_PERL Directory name where site specific perl packages go. This value is added to PLIST_SUB.

Note: Ports of Perl modules, which do not have an official website, should link in the WWW line of a pkg-descr file. The preferred URL form is (including the trailing slash).

6.7 Using X11

6.7.1 Variable definitions

Table 6-5. Variables for ports that use X

USE_X_PREFIX The port installs in X11BASE_REL, not PREFIX.
USE_XLIB The port uses the X libraries.
USE_MOTIF The port uses the Motif toolkit. Implies USE_XPM.
USE_IMAKE The port uses imake. Implies USE_X_PREFIX.
XMKMF Set to the path of xmkmf if not in the PATH. Defaults to xmkmf -a.

Table 6-6. Variables for depending on individual parts of X11

X_IMAKE_PORT Port providing imake and several other utilities used to build X11.
X_LIBRARIES_PORT Port providing X11 libraries.
X_CLIENTS_PORT Port providing X clients.
X_SERVER_PORT Port providing X server.
X_FONTSERVER_PORT Port providing font server.
X_PRINTSERVER_PORT Port providing print server.
X_VFBSERVER_PORT Port providing virtual framebuffer server.
X_NESTSERVER_PORT Port providing a nested X server.
X_FONTS_ENCODINGS_PORT Port providing encodings for fonts.
X_FONTS_MISC_PORT Port providing miscellaneous bitmap fonts.
X_FONTS_100DPI_PORT Port providing 100dpi bitmap fonts.
X_FONTS_75DPI_PORT Port providing 75dpi bitmap fonts.
X_FONTS_CYRILLIC_PORT Port providing cyrillic bitmap fonts.
X_FONTS_TTF_PORT Port providing TrueType® fonts.
X_FONTS_TYPE1_PORT Port providing Type1 fonts.
X_MANUALS_PORT Port providing developer oriented manual pages

Example 6-1. Using X11 related variables in port

# Use X11 libraries and depend on
# font server as well as cyrillic fonts.

USE_XLIB=      yes

6.7.2 Ports that require Motif

If your port requires a Motif library, define USE_MOTIF in the Makefile. Default Motif implementation is x11-toolkits/open-motif. Users can choose x11-toolkits/lesstif instead by setting WANT_LESSTIF variable.

The MOTIFLIB variable will be set by to reference the appropriate Motif library. Please patch the source of your port to use ${MOTIFLIB} wherever the Motif library is referenced in the original Makefile or Imakefile.

There are two common cases:

  • If the port refers to the Motif library as -lXm in its Makefile or Imakefile, simply substitute ${MOTIFLIB} for it.

  • If the port uses XmClientLibs in its Imakefile, change it to ${MOTIFLIB} ${XTOOLLIB} ${XLIB}.

Note that MOTIFLIB (usually) expands to -L/usr/X11R6/lib -lXm or /usr/X11R6/lib/libXm.a, so there is no need to add -L or -l in front.

6.7.3 X11 fonts

If your port installs fonts for the X Window System, put them in X11BASE/lib/X11/fonts/local.

6.7.4 Getting fake DISPLAY using Xvfb

Some applications require a working X11 display for compilation to succeed. This pose a problem for the FreeBSD package building cluster, which operates headless. When the following canonical hack is used, the package cluster will start the virtual framebuffer X server. The working DISPLAY is then passed to the build.


6.7.5 Desktop entries

Desktop Entries (Freedesktop standard) can be easily created in your port using DESKTOP_ENTRIES variable. These entries do show up in application menus of compliant desktop environments like GNOME or KDE. The .desktop file will be created, installed, and added to the pkg-plist automatically. Syntax is:


The list of possible categories is available on the Freedesktop website. The StartupNotify indicates, if the application will clear the status in startup notification aware environment.


DESKTOP_ENTRIES=  "ToME" "Roguelike game based on JRR Tolkien's work" \
                  "${DATADIR}/xtra/graf/tome-128.png" \
                  "tome -v -g" "Application;Game;RolePlaying" \

6.8 Using GNOME

The FreeBSD/GNOME project uses its own set of variables to define which GNOME components a particular port uses. A comprehensive list of these variables exists within the FreeBSD/GNOME project's homepage.

6.9 Using KDE

Table 6-7. Variables for ports that use KDE

USE_QT_VER The port uses the Qt toolkit. Possible values are 1 and 3; each specify the major version of Qt to use. Sets both MOC and QTCPPFLAGSto default appropriate values.
USE_KDELIBS_VER The port uses KDE libraries. Possible values are 3; each specify the major version of KDE to use. Implies USE_QT_VER of the appropriate version.
USE_KDEBASE_VER The port uses KDE base. Possible values are 3; each specify the major version of KDE to use. Implies USE_KDELIBS_VER of the appropriate version.
MOC Set to the path of moc. Default set according to USE_QT_VER value.
QTCPPFLAGS Set the CPPFLAGS to use when processing Qt code. Default set according to USE_QT_VER value.

6.10 Using Java

6.10.1 Variable definitions

If your port needs a Java™ Development Kit (JDK) to either build, run or even extract the distfile, then it should define USE_JAVA.

There are several JDKs in the ports collection, from various vendors, and in several versions. If your port must use one of these versions, you can define which one. The most current version is java/jdk15.

Table 6-8. Variables that may be set by ports that use Java

Variable Means
USE_JAVA Should be defined for the remaining variables to have any effect.
JAVA_VERSION List of space-separated suitable Java versions for the port. An optional "+" allows you to specify a range of versions (allowed values: 1.1[+] 1.2[+] 1.3[+] 1.4[+]).
JAVA_OS List of space-separated suitable JDK port operating systems for the port (allowed values: native linux).
JAVA_VENDOR List of space-separated suitable JDK port vendors for the port (allowed values: freebsd bsdjava sun ibm blackdown).
JAVA_BUILD When set, it means that the selected JDK port should be added to the build dependencies of the port.
JAVA_RUN When set, it means that the selected JDK port should be added to the run dependencies of the port.
JAVA_EXTRACT When set, it means that the selected JDK port should be added to the extract dependencies of the port.
USE_JIKES Whether the port should or should not use the jikes bytecode compiler to build. When no value is set for this variable, the port will use jikes to build if available. You may also explicitly forbid or enforce the use of jikes (by setting 'no' or 'yes'). In the later case, devel/jikes will be added to build dependencies of the port. In any case that jikes is actually used in place of javac, then the HAVE_JIKES variable is defined by

Below is the list of all settings a port will receive after setting USE_JAVA:

Table 6-9. Variables provided to ports that use Java

Variable Value
JAVA_PORT The name of the JDK port (e.g. 'java/jdk14').
JAVA_PORT_VERSION The full version of the JDK port (e.g. '1.4.2'). If you only need the first two digits of this version number, use ${JAVA_PORT_VERSION:C/^([0-9])\.([0-9])(.*)$/\1.\2/}.
JAVA_PORT_OS The operating system used by the JDK port (e.g. 'linux').
JAVA_PORT_VENDOR The vendor of the JDK port (e.g. 'sun').
JAVA_PORT_OS_DESCRIPTION Description of the operating system used by the JDK port (e.g. 'Linux').
JAVA_PORT_VENDOR_DESCRIPTION Description of the vendor of the JDK port (e.g. 'FreeBSD Foundation').
JAVA_HOME Path to the installation directory of the JDK (e.g. '/usr/local/jdk1.3.1').
JAVAC Path to the Java compiler to use (e.g. '/usr/local/jdk1.1.8/bin/javac' or '/usr/local/bin/jikes').
JAR Path to the jar tool to use (e.g. '/usr/local/jdk1.2.2/bin/jar' or '/usr/local/bin/fastjar').
APPLETVIEWER Path to the appletviewer utility (e.g. '/usr/local/linux-jdk1.2.2/bin/appletviewer').
JAVA Path to the java executable. Use this for executing Java programs (e.g. '/usr/local/jdk1.3.1/bin/java').
JAVADOC Path to the javadoc utility program.
JAVAH Path to the javah program.
JAVAP Path to the javap program.
JAVA_KEYTOOL Path to the keytool utility program. This variable is available only if the JDK is Java 1.2 or higher.
JAVA_N2A Path to the native2ascii tool.
JAVA_POLICYTOOL Path to the policytool program. This variable is available only if the JDK is Java 1.2 or higher.
JAVA_SERIALVER Path to the serialver utility program.
RMIC Path to the RMI stub/skeleton generator, rmic.
RMIREGISTRY Path to the RMI registry program, rmiregistry.
RMID Path to the RMI daemon program rmid. This variable is only available if the JDK is Java 1.2 or higher.
JAVA_CLASSES Path to the archive that contains the JDK class files. On JDK 1.2 or later, this is ${JAVA_HOME}/jre/lib/rt.jar. Earlier JDKs used ${JAVA_HOME}/lib/
HAVE_JIKES Defined whenever jikes is used by the port (see USE_JIKES above).

You may use the java-debug make target to get information for debugging your port. It will display the value of many of the forecited variables.

Additionally, the following constants are defined so all Java ports may be installed in a consistent way:

Table 6-10. Constants defined for ports that use Java

Constant Value
JAVASHAREDIR The base directory for everything related to Java. Default: ${PREFIX}/share/java.
JAVAJARDIR The directory where JAR files should be installed. Default: ${JAVASHAREDIR}/classes.
JAVALIBDIR The directory where JAR files installed by other ports are located. Default: ${LOCALBASE}/share/java/classes.

The related entries are defined in both PLIST_SUB (documented in Section 7.1) and SUB_LIST.

6.10.2 Building with Ant

When the port is to be built using Apache Ant, it has to define USE_ANT. Ant is thus considered to be the sub-make command. When no do-build target is defined by the port, a default one will be set that simply runs Ant according to MAKE_ENV, MAKE_ARGS and ALL_TARGETS. This is similar to the USE_GMAKE mechanism, which is documented in Section 6.3.

If jikes is used in place of javac (see USE_JIKES in Section 6.10.1), then Ant will automatically use it to build the port.

6.10.3 Best practices

When porting a Java library, your port should install the JAR file(s) in ${JAVAJARDIR}, and everything else under ${JAVASHAREDIR}/${PORTNAME} (except for the documentation, see below). In order to reduce the packing file size, you may reference the JAR file(s) directly in the Makefile. Just use the following statement (where myport.jar is the name of the JAR file installed as part of the port):


When porting a Java application, the port usually installs everything under a single directory (including its JAR dependencies). The use of ${JAVASHAREDIR}/${PORTNAME} is strongly encouraged in this regard. It is up the porter to decide whether the port should install the additional JAR dependencies under this directory or directly use the already installed ones (from ${JAVAJARDIR}).

Regardless of the type of your port (library or application), the additional documentation should be installed in the same location as for any other port. The JavaDoc tool is known to produce a different set of files depending on the version of the JDK that is used. For ports that do not enforce the use of a particular JDK, it is therefore a complex task to specify the packing list (pkg-plist). This is one reason why porters are strongly encouraged to use the PORTDOCS macro. Moreover, even if you can predict the set of files that will be generated by javadoc, the size of the resulting pkg-plist advocates for the use of PORTDOCS.

The default value for DATADIR is ${PREFIX}/share/${PORTNAME}. It is a good idea to override DATADIR to ${JAVASHAREDIR}/${PORTNAME} for Java ports. Indeed, DATADIR is automatically added to PLIST_SUB (documented in Section 7.1) so you may use %%DATADIR%% directly in pkg-plist.

As for the choice of building Java ports from source or directly installing them from a binary distribution, there is no defined policy at the time of writing. However, people from the FreeBSD Java Project encourage porters to have their ports built from source whenever it is a trivial task.

All the features that have been presented in this section are implemented in If you ever think that your port needs more sophisticated Java support, please first have a look at the CVS log as it usually takes some time to document the latest features. Then, if you think the support you are lacking would be beneficial to many other Java ports, feel free to discuss it on the FreeBSD Java Language mailing list.

Although there is a java category for PRs, it refers to the JDK porting effort from the FreeBSD Java project. Therefore, you should submit your Java port in the ports category as for any other port, unless the issue you are trying to resolve is related to either a JDK implementation or

Similarly, there is a defined policy regarding the CATEGORIES of a Java port, which is detailed in Section 5.3.

6.11 Using Apache and PHP

6.11.1 Apache

Table 6-11. Variables for ports that use Apache

USE_APACHE The port requires Apache. Possible values: yes (gets any version), 1.3, 2.0, 2.2, 2.0+, etc. Default dependency is on version 1.3.
WITH_APACHE2 The port requires Apache 2.0. Without this variable, the port will depend on Apache 1.3. This variable is deprecated and should not be used anymore.
APXS Full path to the apxs binary. Can be overriden in your port.
HTTPD Full path to the httpd binary. Can be overriden in your port.
APACHE_VERSION The version of present Apache installation (read-only variable). This variable is only available after inclusion of Possible values: 13, 20, 22.
APACHEMODDIR Directory for Apache modules. This variable is automatically expanded in pkg-plist.
APACHEINCLUDEDIR Directory for Apache headers. This variable is automatically expanded in pkg-plist.
APACHEETCDIR Directory for Apache configuration files. This variable is automatically expanded in pkg-plist.

Table 6-12. Useful variables for porting Apache modules

MODULENAME Name of the module. Default value is PORTNAME. Example: mod_hello
SHORTMODNAME Short name of the module. Automatically derived from MODULENAME, but can be overriden. Example: hello
AP_FAST_BUILD Use apxs to compile and install the module.
AP_GENPLIST Also automatically creates a pkg-plist.
AP_INC Adds a directory to a header search path during compilation.
AP_LIB Adds a directory to a library search path during compilation.
AP_EXTRAS Additional flags to pass to apxs.

Web applications should be installed into PREFIX/www/appname and should not assume Apache is present, unless they depend on Apache explicitly. User may wish to run them on different web server than Apache.

6.11.2 PHP

Table 6-13. Variables for ports that use PHP

USE_PHP The port requires PHP. The value yes adds a dependency on PHP. The list of required PHP extensions can be specified instead. Example: pcre xml gettext
DEFAULT_PHP_VER Selects which major version of PHP will be installed as a dependency when no PHP is installed yet. Default is 4. Possible values: 4, 5
IGNORE_WITH_PHP The port does not work with PHP of the given version. Possible values: 4, 5
USE_PHPIZE The port will be built as a PHP extension.
USE_PHPEXT The port will be treated as a PHP extension, including installation and registration in the extension registry.
USE_PHP_BUILD Set PHP as a build dependency.
WANT_PHP_CLI Want the CLI (command line) version of PHP.
WANT_PHP_CGI Want the CGI version of PHP.
WANT_PHP_MOD Want the Apache module version of PHP.
WANT_PHP_SCR Want the CLI or the CGI version of PHP.
WANT_PHP_WEB Want the Apache module or the CGI version of PHP.

6.11.3 PEAR modules

Porting PEAR modules is a very simple process.

Use the variables FILES, TESTS, DATA, SQLS, SCRIPTFILES, DOCS and EXAMPLES to list the files you want to install. All listed files will be automatically installed into the appropriate locations and added to pkg-plist.

Include ${PORTSDIR}/devel/pear/ on the last line of the Makefile.

Example 6-2. Example Makefile for PEAR class

PORTNAME=       Date
CATEGORIES=     devel www pear

COMMENT=        PEAR Date and Time Zone Classes


FILES=          Date.php Date/Calc.php Date/Human.php Date/Span.php     \
TESTS=          test_calc.php test_date_methods_span.php testunit.php   \
                testunit_date.php testunit_date_span.php wknotest.txt   \
                bug674.php bug727_1.php bug727_2.php bug727_3.php       \
                bug727_4.php bug967.php weeksinmonth_4_monday.txt       \
                weeksinmonth_4_sunday.txt weeksinmonth_rdm_monday.txt   \
DOCS=           TODO
_DOCSDIR=       .

.include <>
.include "${PORTSDIR}/devel/pear/"
.include <>

6.12 Using Python

Table 6-14. Most useful variables for ports that use Python

USE_PYTHON The port needs Python. Minimal required version can be specified with values such as 2.3+. Version ranges can also be specified, by separating two version numbers with a dash, e.g.: 2.1-2.3
USE_PYDISTUTILS Use Python distutils for configuring, compiling and installing. This is required when the port comes with This overrides the do-build and do-install targets and may also override do-configure if GNU_CONFIGURE is not defined.
PYTHON_PKGNAMEPREFIX Used as a PKGNAMEPREFIX to distinguish packages for different Python versions. Example: py24-
PYTHON_SITELIBDIR Location of the site-packages tree, that contains installation path of Python (usually LOCALBASE). The PYTHON_SITELIBDIR variable can be very useful when installing Python modules.
PYTHONPREFIX_SITELIBDIR The PREFIX-clean variant of PYTHON_SITELIBDIR. Always use %%PYTHON_SITELIBDIR%% in pkg-plist when possible. The default value of %%PYTHON_SITELIBDIR%% is lib/python%%PYTHON_VERSION%%/site-packages
PYTHON_CMD Python interpreter command line, including version number.
PYNUMERIC Dependency line for numeric extension.
PYXML Dependency line for XML extension (not needed for Python 2.0 and higher as it is also in base distribution).
USE_TWISTED Add dependency on twistedCore. The list of required components can be specified as a value of this variable. Example: web lore pair flow
USE_ZOPE Add dependency on Zope, a web application platform. Change Python dependency to Python 2.3. Set ZOPEBASEDIR containing a directory with Zope installation.

A complete list of available variables can be found in /usr/ports/Mk/

6.13 Using Emacs

This section is yet to be written.

6.14 Using Ruby

Table 6-15. Useful variables for ports that use Ruby

Variable Description
USE_RUBY The port requires Ruby.
USE_RUBY_EXTCONF The port uses extconf.rb to configure.
USE_RUBY_SETUP The port uses setup.rb to configure.
RUBY_SETUP Set to the alternative name of setup.rb. Common value is install.rb.

The following table shows the selected variables available to port authors via the ports infrastructure. These variables should be used to install files into their proper locations. Use them in pkg-plist as much as possible. These variables should not be redefined in the port.

Table 6-16. Selected read-only variables for ports that use Ruby

Variable Description Example value
RUBY_PKGNAMEPREFIX Used as a PKGNAMEPREFIX to distinguish packages for different Ruby versions. ruby18-
RUBY_VERSION Full version of Ruby in the form of x.y.z. 1.8.2
RUBY_SITELIBDIR Architecture independent libraries installation path. /usr/local/lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8
RUBY_SITEARCHLIBDIR Architecture dependent libraries installation path. /usr/local/lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/amd64-freebsd6
RUBY_MODDOCDIR Module documentation installation path. /usr/local/share/doc/ruby18/patsy
RUBY_MODEXAMPLESDIR Module examples installation path. /usr/local/share/examples/ruby18/patsy

A complete list of available variables can be found in /usr/ports/Mk/

6.15 Using SDL

The USE_SDL variable is used to autoconfigure the dependencies for ports which use an SDL based library like devel/sdl12 and x11-toolkits/sdl_gui.

The following SDL libraries are recognized at the moment:

Therefore, if a port has a dependency on net/sdl_net and audio/sdl_mixer, the syntax will be:

USE_SDL=        net mixer

The dependency devel/sdl12, which is required by net/sdl_net and audio/sdl_mixer, is automatically added as well.

If you use USE_SDL, it will automatically:

  • Add a dependency on sdl12-config to BUILD_DEPENDS

  • Add the variable SDL_CONFIG to CONFIGURE_ENV

  • Add the dependencies of the selected libraries to the LIB_DEPENDS

To check whether an SDL library is available, you can do it with the WANT_SDL variable:


.include <>

.if ${HAVE_SDL:Mmixer}!=""
USE_SDL+=   mixer

.include <>

6.16 Using wxWidgets

This section describes the status of the wxWidgets libraries in the ports tree and its integration with the ports system.

6.16.1 Introduction

There are many versions of the wxWidgets libraries which conflict between them (install files under the same name). In the ports tree this problem has been solved by installing each version under a different name using version number suffixes.

The obvious disadvantage of this is that each application has to be modified to find the expected version. Fortunately, most of the applications call the wx-config script to determine the necessary compiler and linker flags. The script is named differently for every available version. Majority of applications respect an environment variable, or accept a configure argument, to specify which wx-config script to call. Otherwise they have to be patched.

6.16.2 Version selection

To make your port use a specific version of wxWidgets there are two variables available for defining (if only one is defined the other will be set to a default value):

Table 6-17. Variables to select wxWidgets versions

Variable Description Default value
USE_WX List of versions the port can use All available versions
USE_WX_NOT List of versions the port can not use None

The following is a list of available wxWidgets versions and the corresponding ports in the tree:

Table 6-18. Available wxWidgets versions

Version Port
2.4 x11-toolkits/wxgtk24
2.6 x11-toolkits/wxgtk26

Note: The 2.6 version also comes in Unicode version and is installed by the slave port x11-toolkits/wxgtk26-unicode, but this can be handled with variables (see Section 6.16.4).

The variables in Table 6-17 can be set to one or more of the following combinations separated by spaces:

Table 6-19. wxWidgets version specifications

Description Example
Single version 2.4
Ascending range 2.4+
Descending range 2.6-
Full range (must be ascending) 2.4-2.6

There are also some variables to select the preferred versions from the available ones. They can be set to a list of versions, the first ones will have higher priority.

Table 6-20. Variables to select preferred wxWidgets versions

Name Designed for
WANT_WX_VER the port
WITH_WX_VER the user

6.16.3 Component selection

There are other applications that, while not being wxWidgets libraries, are related to them. These applications can be specified in the WX_COMPS variable. The following components are available:

Table 6-21. Available wxWidgets components

Name Description Version restriction
wx main library none
contrib contributed libraries none
python wxPython (Python bindings) none
mozilla wxMozilla 2.4
svg wxSVG 2.6

The dependency type can be selected for each component by adding a suffix separated by a semicolon. If not present then a default type will be used (see Table 6-23). The following types are available:

Table 6-22. Available wxWidgets dependency types

Name Description
build Component is required for building, equivalent to BUILD_DEPENDS
run Component is required for running, equivalent to RUN_DEPENDS
lib Component is required for building and running, equivalent to LIB_DEPENDS

The default values for the components are detailed in the following table:

Table 6-23. Default wxWidgets dependency types

Component Dependency type
wx lib
contrib lib
python run
mozilla lib
svg lib

Example 6-3. Selecting wxWidgets components

The following fragment corresponds to a port which uses wxWidgets version 2.4 and its contributed libraries.

USE_WX=       2.4
WX_COMPS=     wx contrib

6.16.4 Unicode

The wxWidgets library supports Unicode since version 2.5. In the ports tree both versions are available and can be selected with the following variables:

Table 6-24. Variables to select Unicode in wxWidgets versions

Variable Description Designed for
WX_UNICODE The port works only with the Unicode version the port
WANT_UNICODE The port works with both versions but prefers the Unicode one the port
WITH_UNICODE The port will use the Unicode version the user
WITHOUT_UNICODE The port will use the normal version if supported (when WX_UNICODE is not defined) the user

Warning: Do not use WX_UNICODE for ports that can use both Unicode and normal versions. If you want the port to use Unicode by default define WANT_UNICODE instead.

6.16.5 Detecting installed versions

To detect an installed version you have to define WANT_WX. If you do not set it to a specific version then the components will have a version suffix. The HAVE_WX variable will be filled after detection.

Example 6-4. Detecting installed wxWidgets versions and components

The following fragment can be used in a port that uses wxWidgets if it is installed, or an option is selected.

WANT_WX=        yes

.include <>

.if defined(WITH_WX) || ${HAVE_WX:Mwx-2.4} != ""
USE_WX=         2.4

The following fragment can be used in a port that enables wxPython support if it is installed or if an option is selected, in addition to wxWidgets, both version 2.6.

USE_WX=         2.6
WX_COMPS=       wx
WANT_WX=        2.6

.include <>

.if defined(WITH_WXPYTHON) || ${HAVE_WX:Mpython} != ""
WX_COMPS+=      python

6.16.6 Defined variables

The following variables are available in the port (after defining one from Table 6-17).

Table 6-25. Variables defined for ports that use wxWidgets

Name Description
WX_CONFIG The path to the wxWidgets wx-config script (with different name)
WXRC_CMD The path to the wxWidgets wxrc program (with different name)
WX_VERSION The wxWidgets version that is going to be used (e.g., 2.6)
WX_UNICODE If not defined but Unicode is going to be used then it will be defined

6.16.7 Processing in

If you need to use the variables for running commands right after including you need to define WX_PREMK.

Important: If you define WX_PREMK, then the version, dependencies, components and defined variables will not change if you modify the wxWidgets port variables after including

Example 6-5. Using wxWidgets variables in commands

The following fragment illustrates the use of WX_PREMK by running the wx-config script to obtain the full version string, assign it to a variable and pass it to the program.

USE_WX=         2.4
WX_PREMK=       yes

.include <>

.if exists(${WX_CONFIG})
VER_STR!=       ${WX_CONFIG} --release


Note: The wxWidgets variables can be safely used in commands when they are inside targets without the need of WX_PREMK.

6.16.8 Additional configure arguments

Some GNU configure scripts can not find wxWidgets with just the WX_CONFIG environment variable set, requiring additional arguments. The WX_CONF_ARGS variable can be used for provide them.

Table 6-26. Legal values for WX_CONF_ARGS

Possible value Resulting argument
absolute --with-wx-config=${WX_CONFIG}
relative --with-wx=${X11BASE} --with-wx-config=${WX_CONFIG:T}

6.17 Using Lua

This section describes the status of the Lua libraries in the ports tree and its integration with the ports system.

6.17.1 Introduction

There are many versions of the Lua libraries and corresponding interpreters, which conflict between them (install files under the same name). In the ports tree this problem has been solved by installing each version under a different name using version number suffixes.

The obvious disadvantage of this is that each application has to be modified to find the expected version. But it can be solved by adding some additional flags to the compiler and linker.

6.17.2 Version selection

To make your port use a specific version of Lua there are two variables available for defining (if only one is defined the other will be set to a default value):

Table 6-27. Variables to select Lua versions

Variable Description Default value
USE_LUA List of versions the port can use All available versions
USE_LUA_NOT List of versions the port can not use None

The following is a list of available Lua versions and the corresponding ports in the tree:

Table 6-28. Available Lua versions

Version Port
4.0 lang/lua4
5.0 lang/lua50
5.1 lang/lua

The variables in Table 6-27 can be set to one or more of the following combinations separated by spaces:

Table 6-29. Lua version specifications

Description Example
Single version 4.0
Ascending range 5.0+
Descending range 5.0-
Full range (must be ascending) 5.0-5.1

There are also some variables to select the preferred versions from the available ones. They can be set to a list of versions, the first ones will have higher priority.

Table 6-30. Variables to select preferred Lua versions

Name Designed for
WANT_LUA_VER the port
WITH_LUA_VER the user

Example 6-6. Selecting the Lua version

The following fragment is from a port which can use Lua version 5.0 or 5.1, and uses 5.0 by default. It can be overriden by the user using WITH_LUA_VER.

USE_LUA=      5.0-5.1

6.17.3 Component selection

There are other applications that, while not being Lua libraries, are related to them. These applications can be specified in the LUA_COMPS variable. The following components are available:

Table 6-31. Available Lua components

Name Description Version restriction
lua main library none
tolua Library for accesing C/C++ code 4.0-5.0
ruby Ruby bindings 4.0-5.0

Note: There are more components but they are modules for the interpreter, not used by applications (only by other modules).

The dependency type can be selected for each component by adding a suffix separated by a semicolon. If not present then a default type will be used (see Table 6-33). The following types are available:

Table 6-32. Available Lua dependency types

Name Description
build Component is required for building, equivalent to BUILD_DEPENDS
run Component is required for running, equivalent to RUN_DEPENDS
lib Component is required for building and running, equivalent to LIB_DEPENDS

The default values for the components are detailed in the following table:

Table 6-33. Default Lua dependency types

Component Dependency type
lua lib for 4.0-5.0 (shared) and build for 5.1 (static)
tolua build (static)
ruby lib (shared)

Example 6-7. Selecting Lua components

The following fragment corresponds to a port which uses Lua version 4.0 and its Ruby bindings.

USE_LUA=      4.0
LUA_COMPS=    lua ruby

6.17.4 Detecting installed versions

To detect an installed version you have to define WANT_LUA. If you do not set it to a specific version then the components will have a version suffix. The HAVE_LUA variable will be filled after detection.

Example 6-8. Detecting installed Lua versions and components

The following fragment can be used in a port that uses Lua if it is installed, or an option is selected.

WANT_LUA=       yes

.include <>

.if defined(WITH_LUA5) || ${HAVE_LUA:Mlua-5.[01]} != ""
USE_LUA=        5.0-5.1

The following fragment can be used in a port that enables tolua support if it is installed or if an option is selected, in addition to Lua, both version 4.0.

USE_LUA=        4.0
LUA_COMPS=      lua
WANT_LUA=       4.0

.include <>

.if defined(WITH_TOLUA) || ${HAVE_LUA:Mtolua} != ""
LUA_COMPS+=     tolua

6.17.5 Defined variables

The following variables are available in the port (after defining one from Table 6-27).

Table 6-34. Variables defined for ports that use Lua

Name Description
LUA_VER The Lua version that is going to be used (e.g., 5.1)
LUA_VER_SH The Lua shared library major version (e.g., 1)
LUA_VER_STR The Lua version without the dots (e.g., 51)
LUA_PREFIX The prefix where Lua (and components) is installed
LUA_SUBDIR The directory under ${PREFIX}/bin, ${PREFIX}/share and ${PREFIX}/lib where Lua is installed
LUA_INCDIR The directory where Lua and tolua header files are installed
LUA_LIBDIR The directory where Lua and tolua libraries are installed
LUA_MODLIBDIR The directory where Lua module libraries (.so) are installed
LUA_MODSHAREDIR The directory where Lua modules (.lua) are installed
LUA_PKGNAMEPREFIX The package name prefix used by Lua modules
LUA_CMD The path to the Lua interpreter
LUAC_CMD The path to the Lua compiler
TOLUA_CMD The path to the tolua program

Example 6-9. Telling the port where to find Lua

The following fragment shows how to tell a port that uses a configure script where the Lua header files and libraries are.

USE_LUA=        4.0

6.17.6 Processing in

If you need to use the variables for running commands right after including you need to define LUA_PREMK.

Important: If you define LUA_PREMK, then the version, dependencies, components and defined variables will not change if you modify the Lua port variables after including

Example 6-10. Using Lua variables in commands

The following fragment illustrates the use of LUA_PREMK by running the Lua interpreter to obtain the full version string, assign it to a variable and pass it to the program.

USE_LUA=        5.0
LUA_PREMK=      yes

.include <>

.if exists(${LUA_CMD})
VER_STR!=       ${LUA_CMD} -v


Note: The Lua variables can be safely used in commands when they are inside targets without the need of LUA_PREMK.

6.18 Starting and stopping services (rc scripts)

rc.d scripts are used to start services on system startup, and to give administrators a standard way of stopping, starting and restarting the service. Ports integrate into the system rc.d framework. Details on its usage can be found in the rc.d Handbook chapter. Detailed explanation of available commands is provided in rc(8) and rc.subr(8). Finally, there is an article on practical aspects of rc.d scripting.

One or more rc scripts can be installed:

USE_RC_SUBR=   doormand

Scripts must be placed in the files subdirectory and a .in suffix must be added to their filename. The only difference from a base system rc.d script is that the . /etc/rc.subr line must be replaced with the . %%RC_SUBR%%, because older versions of FreeBSD do not have an /etc/rc.subr file. Standard SUB_LIST expansions are used too. Use of the %%PREFIX%%, %%LOCALBASE%%, and %%X11BASE%% expansions is strongly encouraged as well. More on SUB_LIST in the relevant section.

Prior to FreeBSD 6.1-RELEASE, integration with rcorder(8) is available by using USE_RCORDER instead of USE_RC_SUBR. However, use of this method is deprecated.

As of FreeBSD 6.1-RELEASE, local rc.d scripts (including those installed by ports) are included in the overall rcorder(8) of the base system.

Example simple rc.d script:


# PROVIDE: doormand
# Add the following lines to /etc/rc.conf.local or /etc/rc.conf
# to enable this service:
# doormand_enable (bool):   Set to NO by default.
#               Set it to YES to enable doormand.
# doormand_config (path):   Set to %%PREFIX%%/etc/doormand/
#               by default.

. %%RC_SUBR%%



load_rc_config $name

: ${doormand_enable="NO"}
: ${doormand_config="%%PREFIX%%/etc/doormand/"}

command_args="-p $pidfile -f $doormand_config"

run_rc_command "$1"

The "=" style of default variable assignment is preferable to the ":=" style here, since the former sets a default value only if the variable is unset, and the latter sets one if the variable is unset or null. A user might very well include something like

in their rc.conf.local file, and a variable substitution using ":=" would inappropriately override the user's intention.

Chapter 7 Advanced pkg-plist practices

7.1 Changing pkg-plist based on make variables

Some ports, particularly the p5- ports, need to change their pkg-plist depending on what options they are configured with (or version of perl, in the case of p5- ports). To make this easy, any instances in the pkg-plist of %%OSREL%%, %%PERL_VER%%, and %%PERL_VERSION%% will be substituted for appropriately. The value of %%OSREL%% is the numeric revision of the operating system (e.g., 4.9). %%PERL_VERSION%% is the full version number of perl (e.g., 5.00502) and %%PERL_VER%% is the perl version number minus the patchlevel (e.g., 5.005). Several other %%VARS%% related to port's documentation files are described in the relevant section.

If you need to make other substitutions, you can set the PLIST_SUB variable with a list of VAR=VALUE pairs and instances of %%VAR%% will be substituted with VALUE in the pkg-plist.

For instance, if you have a port that installs many files in a version-specific subdirectory, you can put something like


in the Makefile and use %%OCTAVE_VERSION%% wherever the version shows up in pkg-plist. That way, when you upgrade the port, you will not have to change dozens (or in some cases, hundreds) of lines in the pkg-plist.

This substitution (as well as addition of any manual pages) will be done between the pre-install and do-install targets, by reading from PLIST and writing to TMPPLIST (default: WRKDIR/.PLIST.mktmp). So if your port builds PLIST on the fly, do so in or before pre-install. Also, if your port needs to edit the resulting file, do so in post-install to a file named TMPPLIST.

Another possibility to modify port's packing list is based on setting the variables PLIST_FILES and PLIST_DIRS. The value of each variable is regarded as a list of pathnames to write to TMPPLIST along with PLIST contents. Names listed in PLIST_FILES and PLIST_DIRS are subject to %%VAR%% substitution, as described above. Except for that, names from PLIST_FILES will appear in the final packing list unchanged, while @dirrm will be prepended to names from PLIST_DIRS. To take effect, PLIST_FILES and PLIST_DIRS must be set before TMPPLIST is written, i.e. in pre-install or earlier.

7.2 Empty directories

7.2.1 Cleaning up empty directories

Do make your ports remove empty directories when they are de-installed. This is usually accomplished by adding @dirrm lines for all directories that are specifically created by the port. You need to delete subdirectories before you can delete parent directories.

@dirrm lib/X11/oneko/pixmaps
@dirrm lib/X11/oneko/sounds
@dirrm lib/X11/oneko

However, sometimes @dirrm will give you errors because other ports share the same directory. You can use @dirrmtry to remove only empty directories without warning.

@dirrmtry share/doc/gimp

This will neither print any error messages nor cause pkg_delete(1) to exit abnormally even if ${PREFIX}/share/doc/gimp is not empty due to other ports installing some files in there.

7.2.2 Creating empty directories

Empty directories created during port installation need special attention. They will not get created when installing the package, because packages only store the files, and pkg_add(1) creates directories for them as needed. To make sure the empty directory is created when installing the package, add this line to pkg-plist above the corresponding @dirrm line:

@exec mkdir -p %D/share/foo/templates

7.3 Configuration files

If your port requires some configuration files in PREFIX/etc, do not just install them and list them in pkg-plist. That will cause pkg_delete(1) to delete files carefully edited by the user and a new installation to wipe them out.

Instead, install sample files with a suffix (filename.sample will work well). Copy the sample file as the real configuration file, if it does not exist. On deinstall, delete the configuration file, but only if it was not modified by the user. You need to handle this both in the port Makefile, and in the pkg-plist (for installation from the package).

Example of the Makefile part:

    @if [ ! -f ${PREFIX}/etc/orbit.conf ]; then \
        ${CP} -p ${PREFIX}/etc/orbit.conf.sample ${PREFIX}/etc/orbit.conf ; \

Example of the pkg-plist part:

@unexec if cmp -s %D/etc/orbit.conf.sample %D/etc/orbit.conf; then rm -f %D/etc/orbit.conf; fi
@exec if [ ! -f %D/etc/orbit.conf ] ; then cp -p %D/%F %B/orbit.conf; fi

Alternatively, print out a message pointing out that the user has to copy and edit the file before the software can be made to work.

7.4 Dynamic vs. static package list

A static package list is a package list which is available in the Ports Collection either as a pkg-plist file (with or without variable substitution), or embedded into the Makefile via PLIST_FILES and PLIST_DIRS. Even if the contents are auto-generated by a tool or a target in the Makefile before the inclusion into the Ports Collection by a committer, this is still considered a static list, since it is possible to examine it without having to download or compile the distfile.

A dynamic package list is a package list which is generated at the time the port is compiled based upon the files and directories which are installed. It is not possible to examine it before the source code of the ported application is downloaded and compiled, or after running a make clean.

While the use of dynamic package lists is not forbidden, maintainers should use static package lists wherever possible, as it enables users to grep(1) through available ports to discover, for example, which port installs a certain file. Dynamic lists should be primarily used for complex ports where the package list changes drastically based upon optional features of the port (and thus maintaining a static package list is infeasible), or ports which change the package list based upon the version of dependent software used (e.g. ports which generate docs with Javadoc).

Maintainers who prefer dynamic package lists are encouraged to add a new target to their port which generates the pkg-plist file so that users may examine the contents.

7.5 Automated package list creation

First, make sure your port is almost complete, with only pkg-plist missing.

Next, create a temporary directory tree into which your port can be installed, and install any dependencies.

# mkdir /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME)
# mtree -U -f $(make -V MTREE_FILE) -d -e -p /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME)
# make depends PREFIX=/var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME)

Store the directory structure in a new file.

# (cd /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME) && find -d * -type d) | sort > OLD-DIRS

Create an empty pkg-plist file:

# :>pkg-plist

If your port honors PREFIX (which it should) you can then install the port and create the package list.

# make install PREFIX=/var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME)
# (cd /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME) && find -d * \! -type d) | sort > pkg-plist

You must also add any newly created directories to the packing list.

# (cd /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME) && find -d * -type d) | sort | comm -13 OLD-DIRS - | sort -r | sed -e 's#^#@dirrm #' >> pkg-plist

Finally, you need to tidy up the packing list by hand; it is not all automated. Manual pages should be listed in the port's Makefile under MANn, and not in the package list. User configuration files should be removed, or installed as filename.sample. The info/dir file should not be listed and appropriate install-info lines should be added as noted in the info files section. Any libraries installed by the port should be listed as specified in the shared libraries section.

Alternatively, use the plist script in /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/ to build the package list automatically. The first step is the same as above: take the first three lines, that is, mkdir, mtree and make depends. Then build and install the port:

# make install PREFIX=/var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME)

And let plist create the pkg-plist file:

# /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/plist -Md -m $(make -V MTREE_FILE) /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME) > pkg-plist

The packing list still has to be tidied up by hand as stated above.

Chapter 8 The pkg-* files

There are some tricks we have not mentioned yet about the pkg-* files that come in handy sometimes.

8.1 pkg-message

If you need to display a message to the installer, you may place the message in pkg-message. This capability is often useful to display additional installation steps to be taken after a pkg_add(1) or to display licensing information.

When some lines about the build-time knobs or warnings have to be displayed, use ECHO_MSG. The pkg-message file is only for post-installation steps. Likewise, the distinction between ECHO_MSG and ECHO_CMD should be kept in mind. The former is for printing informational text to the screen, while the latter is for command pipelining.

A good example for both can be found in shells/bash2/Makefile:

    @${ECHO_MSG} "updating /etc/shells"
    @${CP} /etc/shells /etc/shells.bak
    @( ${GREP} -v ${PREFIX}/bin/bash /etc/shells.bak; \
        ${ECHO_CMD} ${PREFIX}/bin/bash) >/etc/shells
    @${RM} /etc/shells.bak

Note: The pkg-message file does not need to be added to pkg-plist. Also, it will not get automatically printed if the user is using the port, not the package, so you should probably display it from the post-install target yourself.

8.2 pkg-install

If your port needs to execute commands when the binary package is installed with pkg_add(1) you can do this via the pkg-install script. This script will automatically be added to the package, and will be run twice by pkg_add(1): the first time as ${SH} pkg-install ${PKGNAME} PRE-INSTALL and the second time as ${SH} pkg-install ${PKGNAME} POST-INSTALL. $2 can be tested to determine which mode the script is being run in. The PKG_PREFIX environmental variable will be set to the package installation directory. See pkg_add(1) for additional information.

Note: This script is not run automatically if you install the port with make install. If you are depending on it being run, you will have to explicitly call it from your port's Makefile, with a line like PKG_PREFIX=${PREFIX} ${SH} ${PKGINSTALL} ${PKGNAME} PRE-INSTALL.

8.3 pkg-deinstall

This script executes when a package is removed.

This script will be run twice by pkg_delete(1). The first time as ${SH} pkg-deinstall ${PKGNAME} DEINSTALL and the second time as ${SH} pkg-deinstall ${PKGNAME} POST-DEINSTALL.

8.4 pkg-req

If your port needs to determine if it should install or not, you can create a pkg-req ``requirements'' script. It will be invoked automatically at installation/de-installation time to determine whether or not installation/de-installation should proceed.

The script will be run at installation time by pkg_add(1) as pkg-req ${PKGNAME} INSTALL. At de-installation time it will be run by pkg_delete(1) as pkg-req ${PKGNAME} DEINSTALL.

8.5 Changing the names of pkg-* files

All the names of pkg-* files are defined using variables so you can change them in your Makefile if need be. This is especially useful when you are sharing the same pkg-* files among several ports or have to write to one of the above files (see writing to places other than WRKDIR for why it is a bad idea to write directly into the pkg-* subdirectory).

Here is a list of variable names and their default values. (PKGDIR defaults to ${MASTERDIR}.)

Variable Default value
DESCR ${PKGDIR}/pkg-descr
PLIST ${PKGDIR}/pkg-plist
PKGINSTALL ${PKGDIR}/pkg-install
PKGDEINSTALL ${PKGDIR}/pkg-deinstall
PKGREQ ${PKGDIR}/pkg-req
PKGMESSAGE ${PKGDIR}/pkg-message

Please change these variables rather than overriding PKG_ARGS. If you change PKG_ARGS, those files will not correctly be installed in /var/db/pkg upon install from a port.

8.6 Making use of SUB_FILES and SUB_LIST

The SUB_FILES and SUB_LIST variables are useful for dynamic values in port files, such as the installation PREFIX in pkg-message.

The SUB_FILES variable specifies a list of files to be automatically modified. Each file in the SUB_FILES list must have a corresponding present in FILESDIR. A modified version will be created in WRKDIR. Files defined as a value of USE_RC_SUBR (or the deprecated USE_RCORDER) are automatically added to the SUB_FILES. For the files pkg-message, pkg-install, pkg-deinstall and pkg-reg, the corresponding Makefile variable is automatically set to point to the processed version.

The SUB_LIST variable is a list of VAR=VALUE pairs. For each pair %%VAR%% will get replaced with VALUE in each file listed in SUB_FILES. Several common pairs are automatically defined: PREFIX, LOCALBASE, X11BASE, DATADIR, DOCSDIR, EXAMPLESDIR. Any line beginning with @comment will be deleted from resulting files after a variable substitution.

The following example will replace %%ARCH%% with the system architecture in a pkg-message:

SUB_FILES=     pkg-message

Note that for this example, the file must exist in FILESDIR.

Example of a good

Now it is time to configure this package.
Copy %%PREFIX%%/share/examples/putsy/%%ARCH%%.conf into your home directory
as .putsy.conf and edit it.

Chapter 9 Testing your port

9.1 Running make describe

Several of the FreeBSD port maintenance tools, such as portupgrade(1), rely on a database called /usr/ports/INDEX which keeps track of such items as port dependencies. INDEX is created by the top-level ports/Makefile via make index, which descends into each port subdirectory and executes make describe there. Thus, if make describe fails in any port, no one can generate INDEX, and many people will quickly become unhappy.

Note: It is important to be able to generate this file no matter what options are present in make.conf, so please avoid doing things such as using .error statements when (for instance) a dependency is not satisfied. (See Section 12.21.)

If make describe produces a string rather than an error message, you are probably safe. See for the meaning of the string produced.

Also note that running a recent version of portlint (as specified in the next section) will cause make describe to be run automatically.

9.2 Portlint

Do check your work with portlint before you submit or commit it. portlint warns you about many common errors, both functional and stylistic. For a new (or repocopied) port, portlint -A is the most thorough; for an existing port, portlint -C is sufficient.

Since portlint uses heuristics to try to figure out errors, it can produce false positive warnings. In addition, occasionally something that is flagged as a problem really cannot be done in any other way due to limitations in the ports framework. When in doubt, the best thing to do is ask on FreeBSD ports mailing list.


PREFIX determines the location where the port will install. It is usually /usr/local, or /opt. User can set PREFIX to anything he wants. Your port must respect this variable.

DESTDIR, if set by user, determines the complete alternative environment, usually a jail, or an installed system mounted elsewhere than /. A port will actually install into DESTDIR/PREFIX, and register with the package database in DESTDIR/var/db/pkg. It is very important to write ports that respect DESTDIR.

The value of PREFIX will be set to LOCALBASE_REL (default /usr/local). If USE_X_PREFIX or USE_IMAKE is set, PREFIX will be X11BASE_REL (default /usr/X11R6). If USE_LINUX_PREFIX is set, PREFIX will be LINUXBASE_REL (default /compat/linux).

Avoiding the hard-coding of /usr/local or /usr/X11R6 anywhere in the source will make the port much more flexible and able to cater to the needs of other sites. For X ports that use imake, this is automatic; otherwise, this can often be done by simply replacing the occurrences of /usr/local (or /usr/X11R6 for X ports that do not use imake) in the various Makefiles in the port to read ${PREFIX}, as this variable is automatically passed down to every stage of the build and install processes.

Make sure your application is not installing things in /usr/local instead of PREFIX. A quick test for this is to do this is:

# make clean; make package PREFIX=/var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME)

If anything is installed outside of PREFIX, the package creation process will complain that it cannot find the files.

This does not test for the existence of internal references, or correct use of LOCALBASE for references to files from other ports. Testing the installation in /var/tmp/$(make -V PORTNAME) to do that while you have it installed would do that.

Do not set USE_X_PREFIX unless your port truly requires it (i.e., it needs to reference files in X11BASE).

The variable PREFIX can be reassigned in your Makefile or in the user's environment. However, it is strongly discouraged for individual ports to set this variable explicitly in the Makefiles.

Also, refer to programs/files from other ports with the variables mentioned above, not explicit pathnames. For instance, if your port requires a macro PAGER to be the full pathname of less, use the compiler flag:

instead of -DPAGER=\"/usr/local/bin/less\". This way it will have a better chance of working if the system administrator has moved the whole /usr/local tree somewhere else.

Note that LOCALBASE, LINUXBASE, X11BASE, DOCSDIR, EXAMPLESDIR, DATADIR, DESKTOPDIR variables already contain DESTDIR. Using DESTDIR LOCALBASE is wrong. Use LOCALBASE_REL, LINUXBASE_REL, X11BASE_REL if you need a variable relative to DESTDIR. To keep things terse, TARGETDIR can be used to replace DESTDIR PREFIX.

Example of correct usage:

    ${INSTALL_PROGRAM} ${WRKSRC}/helper ${TARGETDIR}/bin/helper
    ${INSTALL_DATA} ${WRKSRC}/guide.txt ${DOCSDIR}

When referencing dependencies in the port, the LOCALBASE is used, as we are working with dependencies inside the target environment. For hardcoding file paths in the software, LOCALBASE_REL must be used, because the software will run inside the target environment.

Example of correct usage:

RUN_DEPENDS=   ${LOCALBASE}/share/gonzo/launch.dat:${PORTSDIR}/games/gonzo

    @${REINPLACE_CMD} -e 's|/usr/gonzo/launch.dat|${LOCALBASE_REL}/share/gonzo/launch.dat}' ${WRKSRC}/main.c
    @${REINPLACE_CMD} -e 's|/etc/game.conf|${PREFIX}/etc/game.conf|' ${WRKSRC}/loader.c

    @${INSTALL_DATA} ${WRKSRC}/example/conf ${TARGETDIR}/etc/game.conf

In packing lists and in pkg-* scripts, %%LOCALBASE%%, %%LINUXBASE%% and %%X11BASE%% expansions will contain paths stripped of DESTDIR, as all these files are processed of a context of target environment.

9.4 Tinderbox

If you're an avid ports contributor, you might want to take a look at Tinderbox. It is a powerful system for building and testing ports based on the scripts used on Pointyhat. You can install Tinderbox using misc/tinderbox port. Be sure to read supplied documentation since the configuration is not trivial.

Visit the Tinderbox website for more details.

Chapter 10 Upgrading

When you notice that a port is out of date compared to the latest version from the original authors, you should first ensure that you have the latest port. You can find them in the ports/ports-current directory of the FreeBSD FTP mirror sites. However, if you are working with more than a few ports, you will probably find it easier to use CVSup to keep your whole ports collection up-to-date, as described in the Handbook. This will have the added benefit of tracking all the ports' dependencies.

The next step is to see if there is an update already pending. To do this, you have two options. There is a searchable interface to the FreeBSD Problem Report (PR) database (also known as GNATS). Select ports in the dropdown, and enter the name of the port.

However, sometimes people forget to put the name of the port into the Synopsis field in an unambiguous fashion. In that case, you can try the FreeBSD Ports Monitoring System (also known as portsmon). This system attempts to classify port PRs by portname. To search for PRs about a particular port, use the Overview of One Port.

If there is no pending PR, the next step is to send an email to the port's maintainer, as shown by make maintainer. That person may already be working on an upgrade, or have a reason to not upgrade the port right now (because of, for example, stability problems of the new version); you would not want to duplicate their work. Note that unmaintained ports are listed with a maintainer of, which is just the general ports mailing list, so sending mail there probably will not help in this case.

If the maintainer asks you to do the upgrade or there is no maintainer, then you have a chance to help out FreeBSD by preparing the update yourself! Please make the changes and save the result of the recursive diff output of the new and old ports directories (e.g., if your modified port directory is called superedit and the original is in our tree as superedit.bak, then save the result of diff -ruN superedit.bak superedit). Either unified or context diff is fine, but port committers generally prefer unified diffs. Note the use of the -N option--this is the accepted way to force diff to properly deal with the case of new files being added or old files being deleted. Before sending us the diff, please examine the output to make sure all the changes make sense. To simplify common operations with patch files, you can use /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/ Before using it, please read /usr/ports/Tools/scripts/README.patchtool.

If the port is unmaintained, and you are actively using it yourself, please consider volunteering to become its maintainer. FreeBSD has over 2000 ports without maintainers, and this is an area where more volunteers are always needed. (For a detailed description of the responsibilities of maintainers, refer to the MAINTAINER on Makefiles section.)

The best way to send us the diff is by including it via send-pr(1) (category ports). If you are maintaining the port, be sure to put [maintainer update] at the beginning of your synopsis line and set the ``Class'' of your PR to maintainer-update. Otherwise, the ``Class'' of your PR should be change-request. Please mention any added or deleted files in the message, as they have to be explicitly specified to cvs(1) when doing a commit. If the diff is more than about 20KB, please compress and uuencode it; otherwise, just include it in the PR as is.

Before you send-pr(1), you should review the Writing the problem report section in the Problem Reports article; it contains far more information about how to write useful problem reports.

Important: If your upgrade is motivated by security concerns or a serious fault in the currently committed port, please notify the Ports Management Team to request immediate rebuilding and redistribution of your port's package. Unsuspecting users of pkg_add(1) will otherwise continue to install the old version via pkg_add -r for several weeks.

Note: Once again, please use diff(1) and not shar(1) to send updates to existing ports!

Now that you have done all that, you will want to read about how to keep up-to-date in Chapter 14.

Chapter 11 Ports security

11.1 Why security is so important

Bugs are occasionally introduced to the software. Arguably, the most dangerous of them are those opening security vulnerabilities. From the technical viewpoint, such vulnerabilities are to be closed by exterminating the bugs that caused them. However, the policies for handling mere bugs and security vulnerabilities are very different.

A typical small bug affects only those users who have enabled some combination of options triggering the bug. The developer will eventually release a patch followed by a new version of the software, free of the bug, but the majority of users will not take the trouble of upgrading immediately because the bug has never vexed them. A critical bug that may cause data loss represents a graver issue. Nevertheless, prudent users know that a lot of possible accidents, besides software bugs, are likely to lead to data loss, and so they make backups of important data; in addition, a critical bug will be discovered really soon.

A security vulnerability is all different. First, it may remain unnoticed for years because often it does not cause software malfunction. Second, a malicious party can use it to gain unauthorized access to a vulnerable system, to destroy or alter sensitive data; and in the worst case the user will not even notice the harm caused. Third, exposing a vulnerable system often assists attackers to break into other systems that could not be compromised otherwise. Therefore closing a vulnerability alone is not enough: the audience should be notified of it in most clear and comprehensive manner, which will allow to evaluate the danger and take appropriate actions.

11.2 Fixing security vulnerabilities

While on the subject of ports and packages, a security vulnerability may initially appear in the original distribution or in the port files. In the former case, the original software developer is likely to release a patch or a new version instantly, and you will only need to update the port promptly with respect to the author's fix. If the fix is delayed for some reason, you should either mark the port as FORBIDDEN or introduce a patch file of your own to the port. In the case of a vulnerable port, just fix the port as soon as possible. In either case, the standard procedure for submitting your change should be followed unless you have rights to commit it directly to the ports tree.

Important: Being a ports committer is not enough to commit to an arbitrary port. Remember that ports usually have maintainers, whom you should respect.

Please make sure that the port's revision is bumped as soon as the vulnerability has been closed. That is how the users who upgrade installed packages on a regular basis will see they need to run an update. Besides, a new package will be built and distributed over FTP and WWW mirrors, replacing the vulnerable one. PORTREVISION should be bumped unless PORTVERSION has changed in the course of correcting the vulnerability. That is you should bump PORTREVISION if you have added a patch file to the port, but you should not if you have updated the port to the latest software version and thus already touched PORTVERSION. Please refer to the corresponding section for more information.

11.3 Keeping the community informed

11.3.1 The VuXML database

A very important and urgent step to take as early as a security vulnerability is discovered is to notify the community of port users about the jeopardy. Such notification serves two purposes. First, should the danger be really severe, it will be wise to apply an instant workaround, e.g., stop the affected network service or even deinstall the port completely, until the vulnerability is closed. Second, a lot of users tend to upgrade installed packages just occasionally. They will know from the notification that they must update the package without delay as soon as a corrected version is available.

Given the huge number of ports in the tree, a security advisory cannot be issued on each incident without creating a flood and losing the attention of the audience by the time it comes to really serious matters. Therefore security vulnerabilities found in ports are recorded in the FreeBSD VuXML database. The Security Officer Team members are monitoring it for issues requiring their intervention.

If you have committer rights, you can update the VuXML database by yourself. So you will both help the Security Officer Team and deliver the crucial information to the community earlier. However, if you are not a committer, or you believe you have found an exceptionally severe vulnerability, or whatever, please do not hesitate to contact the Security Officer Team directly as described on the FreeBSD Security Information page.

All right, you elected the hard way. As it may be obvious from its title, the VuXML database is essentially an XML document. Its source file vuln.xml is kept right inside the port security/vuxml. Therefore the file's full pathname will be PORTSDIR/security/vuxml/vuln.xml. Each time you discover a security vulnerability in a port, please add an entry for it to that file. Until you are familiar with VuXML, the best thing you can do is to find an existing entry fitting your case, then copy it and use as a template.

11.3.2 A short introduction to VuXML

The full-blown XML is complex and far beyond the scope of this book. However, to gain basic insight on the structure of a VuXML entry, you need only the notion of tags. XML tag names are enclosed in angle brackets. Each opening <tag> must have a matching closing </tag>. Tags may be nested. If nesting, the inner tags must be closed before the outer ones. There is a hierarchy of tags, i.e. more complex rules of nesting them. Sounds very similar to HTML, doesn't it? The major difference is that XML is eXtensible, i.e. based on defining custom tags. Due to its intrinsic structure, XML puts otherwise amorphous data into shape. VuXML is particularly tailored to mark up descriptions of security vulnerabilities.

Now let's consider a realistic VuXML entry:

<vuln vid="f4bc80f4-da62-11d8-90ea-0004ac98a7b9"> (1)
  <topic>Several vulnerabilities found in Foo</topic> (2)
      <name>foo</name> (3)
      <range><ge>1.6</ge><lt>1.9</lt></range> (4)
      <name>openfoo</name> (5)
      <range><lt>1.10_7</lt></range> (6)
    <body xmlns="">
      <p>J. Random Hacker reports:</p> (7)
        <p>Several issues in the Foo software may be exploited
          via carefully crafted QUUX requests.  These requests will
          permit the injection of Bar code, mumble theft, and the
          readability of the Foo administrator account.</p>
  <references> (8)
    <freebsdsa></freebsdsa> (9)
    <freebsdpr>ports/987654</freebsdpr> (10)
    <cvename>CAN-2010-0201</cvename> (11)
    <bid>96298</bid> (12)
    <certsa>CA-2010-99</certsa> (13)
    <certvu>740169</certvu> (14)
    <uscertsa>SA10-99A</uscertsa> (15)
    <uscertta>SA10-99A</uscertta> (16)
    <mlist msgid="">;m=203886607825605</mlist> (17)
    <url></url> (18)
    <discovery>2010-05-25</discovery> (19)
    <entry>2010-07-13</entry> (20)
    <modified>2010-09-17</entry> (21)

The tag names are supposed to be self-descriptive, so we shall take a closer look only at fields you will need to fill in by yourself:

This is the top-level tag of a VuXML entry. It has a mandatory attribute, vid, specifying a universally unique identifier (UUID) for this entry (in quotes). You should generate a UUID for each new VuXML entry (and do not forget to substitute it for the template UUID unless you are writing the entry from scratch). You can use uuidgen(1) to generate a VuXML UUID; alternatively, if you are using FreeBSD 4.x, you may install the port devel/p5-Data-UUID and issue the following command:
perl -MData::UUID -le 'print lc new Data::UUID->create_str'
This is a one-line description of the issue found.
The names of packages affected are listed there. Multiple names can be given since several packages may be based on a single master port or software product. This may include stable and development branches, localized versions, and slave ports featuring different choices of important build-time configuration options.

Important: It is your responsibility to find all such related packages when writing a VuXML entry. Keep in mind that make search name=foo is your friend. The primary points to look for are as follows:

  • the foo-devel variant for a foo port;

  • other variants with a suffix like -a4 (for print-related packages), -without-gui (for packages with X support disabled), or similar;

  • jp-, ru-, zh-, and other possible localized variants in the corresponding national categories of the ports collection.

Affected versions of the package(s) are specified there as one or more ranges using a combination of <lt>, <le>, <eq>, <ge>, and <gt> elements. The version ranges given should not overlap.

In a range specification, * (asterisk) denotes the smallest version number. In particular, 2.* is less than 2.a. Therefore an asterisk may be used for a range to match all possible alpha, beta, and RC versions. For instance, <ge>2.*</ge><lt>3.*</lt> will selectively match every 2.x version while <ge>2.0</ge><lt>3.0</lt> will obviously not since the latter misses 2.r3 and matches 3.b.

The above example specifies that affected are versions from 1.6 to 1.9 inclusive, versions 2.x before 2.4_1, and version 3.0b1.

Several related package groups (essentially, ports) can be listed in the <affected> section. This can be used if several software products (say FooBar, FreeBar and OpenBar) grow from the same code base and still share its bugs and vulnerabilities. Note the difference from listing multiple names within a single <package> section.
The version ranges should allow for PORTEPOCH and PORTREVISION if applicable. Please remember that according to the collation rules, a version with a non-zero PORTEPOCH is greater than any version without PORTEPOCH, e.g., 3.0,1 is greater than 3.1 or even than 8.9.
This is a summary of the issue. XHTML is used in this field. At least enclosing <p> and </p> should appear. More complex mark-up may be used, but only for the sake of accuracy and clarity: No eye candy please.
This section contains references to relevant documents. As many references as apply are encouraged.
This is a FreeBSD security advisory.
This is a FreeBSD problem report.
This is a Mitre CVE identifier.
This is a SecurityFocus Bug ID.
This is a US-CERT security advisory.
This is a US-CERT vulnerability note.
This is a US-CERT Cyber Security Alert.
This is a US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert.
This is a URL to an archived posting in a mailing list. The attribute msgid is optional and may specify the message ID of the posting.
This is a generic URL. It should be used only if none of the other reference categories apply.
This is the date when the issue was disclosed (YYYY-MM-DD).
This is the date when the entry was added (YYYY-MM-DD).
This is the date when any information in the entry was last modified (YYYY-MM-DD). New entries must not include this field. It should be added upon editing an existing entry.

11.3.3 Testing your changes to the VuXML database

Assume you just wrote or filled in an entry for a vulnerability in the package clamav that has been fixed in version 0.65_7.

As a prerequisite, you need to install fresh versions of the ports security/portaudit and security/portaudit-db.

First, check whether there already is an entry for this vulnerability. If there were such entry, it would match the previous version of the package, 0.65_6:

% packaudit
% portaudit clamav-0.65_6

Note: To run packaudit, you must have permission to write to its DATABASEDIR, typically /var/db/portaudit.

If there is none found, you get the green light to add a new entry for this vulnerability. Now you can generate a brand-new UUID (assume it's 74a9541d-5d6c-11d8-80e3-0020ed76ef5a) and add your new entry to the VuXML database. Please verify its syntax after that as follows:

% cd ${PORTSDIR}/security/vuxml && make validate

Note: You will need at least one of the following packages installed: textproc/libxml2, textproc/jade.

Now rebuild the portaudit database from the VuXML file:

% packaudit

To verify that the <affected> section of your entry will match correct package(s), issue the following command:

% portaudit -f /usr/ports/INDEX -r 74a9541d-5d6c-11d8-80e3-0020ed76ef5a

Note: Please refer to portaudit(1) for better understanding of the command syntax.

Make sure that your entry produces no spurious matches in the output.

Now check whether the right package versions are matched by your entry:

% portaudit clamav-0.65_6 clamav-0.65_7
Affected package: clamav-0.65_6 (matched by clamav<0.65_7)
Type of problem: clamav remote denial-of-service.
Reference: <>

1 problem(s) found.

Obviously, the former version should match while the latter one should not.

Finally, verify whether the web page generated from the VuXML database looks like expected:

% mkdir -p ~/public_html/portaudit
% packaudit
% lynx ~/public_html/portaudit/74a9541d-5d6c-11d8-80e3-0020ed76ef5a.html

Chapter 12 Dos and Don'ts

12.1 Introduction

Here is a list of common dos and don'ts that you encounter during the porting process. You should check your own port against this list, but you can also check ports in the PR database that others have submitted. Submit any comments on ports you check as described in Bug Reports and General Commentary. Checking ports in the PR database will both make it faster for us to commit them, and prove that you know what you are doing.

12.2 Stripping Binaries

Do not strip binaries manually unless you have to. All binaries should be stripped, but the INSTALL_PROGRAM macro will install and strip a binary at the same time (see the next section).

If you need to strip a file, but do not wish to use the INSTALL_PROGRAM macro, ${STRIP_CMD} will strip your program. This is typically done within the post-install target. For example:

    ${STRIP_CMD} ${PREFIX}/bin/xdl

Use the file(1) command on the installed executable to check whether the binary is stripped or not. If it does not say not stripped, it is stripped. Additionally, strip(1) will not strip a previously stripped program; it will instead exit cleanly.

12.3 INSTALL_* macros

Do use the macros provided in to ensure correct modes and ownership of files in your own *-install targets.

  • INSTALL_PROGRAM is a command to install binary executables.

  • INSTALL_SCRIPT is a command to install executable scripts.

  • INSTALL_DATA is a command to install sharable data.

  • INSTALL_MAN is a command to install manpages and other documentation (it does not compress anything).

These are basically the install command with all the appropriate flags. See below for an example on how to use them.


Do not write anything to files outside WRKDIR. WRKDIR is the only place that is guaranteed to be writable during the port build (see installing ports from a CDROM for an example of building ports from a read-only tree). If you need to modify one of the pkg-* files, do so by redefining a variable, not by writing over it.


Make sure your port honors WRKDIRPREFIX. Most ports do not have to worry about this. In particular, if you are referring to a WRKDIR of another port, note that the correct location is WRKDIRPREFIXPORTSDIR/subdir/name/work not PORTSDIR/subdir/name/work or .CURDIR/../../subdir/name/work or some such.

Also, if you are defining WRKDIR yourself, make sure you prepend ${WRKDIRPREFIX}${.CURDIR} in the front.

12.6 Differentiating operating systems and OS versions

You may come across code that needs modifications or conditional compilation based upon what version of Unix it is running under. If you need to make such changes to the code for conditional compilation, make sure you make the changes as general as possible so that we can back-port code to older FreeBSD systems and cross-port to other BSD systems such as 4.4BSD from CSRG, BSD/386, 386BSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

The preferred way to tell 4.3BSD/Reno (1990) and newer versions of the BSD code apart is by using the BSD macro defined in sys/param.h. Hopefully that file is already included; if not, add the code:

#if (defined(__unix__) || defined(unix)) && !defined(USG)
#include <sys/param.h>

to the proper place in the .c file. We believe that every system that defines these two symbols has sys/param.h. If you find a system that does not, we would like to know. Please send mail to the FreeBSD ports mailing list.

Another way is to use the GNU Autoconf style of doing this:

#include <sys/param.h>

Do not forget to add -DHAVE_SYS_PARAM_H to the CFLAGS in the Makefile for this method.

Once you have sys/param.h included, you may use:

#if (defined(BSD) && (BSD >= 199103))

to detect if the code is being compiled on a 4.3 Net2 code base or newer (e.g. FreeBSD 1.x, 4.3/Reno, NetBSD 0.9, 386BSD, BSD/386 1.1 and below).


#if (defined(BSD) && (BSD >= 199306))

to detect if the code is being compiled on a 4.4 code base or newer (e.g. FreeBSD 2.x, 4.4, NetBSD 1.0, BSD/386 2.0 or above).

The value of the BSD macro is 199506 for the 4.4BSD-Lite2 code base. This is stated for informational purposes only. It should not be used to distinguish between versions of FreeBSD based only on 4.4-Lite vs. versions that have merged in changes from 4.4-Lite2. The __FreeBSD__ macro should be used instead.

Use sparingly:

  • __FreeBSD__ is defined in all versions of FreeBSD. Use it if the change you are making only affects FreeBSD. Porting gotchas like the use of sys_errlist[] vs strerror() are Berkeley-isms, not FreeBSD changes.

  • In FreeBSD 2.x, __FreeBSD__ is defined to be 2. In earlier versions, it is 1. Later versions always bump it to match their major version number.

  • If you need to tell the difference between a FreeBSD 1.x system and a FreeBSD 2.x or above system, usually the right answer is to use the BSD macros described above. If there actually is a FreeBSD specific change (such as special shared library options when using ld) then it is OK to use __FreeBSD__ and #if __FreeBSD__ > 1 to detect a FreeBSD 2.x and later system. If you need more granularity in detecting FreeBSD systems since 2.0-RELEASE you can use the following:

    #if __FreeBSD__ >= 2
    #include <osreldate.h>
    #    if __FreeBSD_version >= 199504
         /* 2.0.5+ release specific code here */
    #    endif

In the hundreds of ports that have been done, there have only been one or two cases where __FreeBSD__ should have been used. Just because an earlier port screwed up and used it in the wrong place does not mean you should do so too.

12.7 __FreeBSD_version values

Here is a convenient list of __FreeBSD_version values as defined in sys/param.h:

Table 12-1. __FreeBSD_version values

Release __FreeBSD_version
2.0-RELEASE 119411
2.1-CURRENT 199501, 199503
2.0.5-RELEASE 199504
2.2-CURRENT before 2.1 199508
2.1.0-RELEASE 199511
2.2-CURRENT before 2.1.5 199512
2.1.5-RELEASE 199607
2.2-CURRENT before 2.1.6 199608
2.1.6-RELEASE 199612
2.1.7-RELEASE 199612
2.2-RELEASE 220000
2.2.1-RELEASE 220000 (no change)
2.2-STABLE after 2.2.1-RELEASE 220000 (no change)
2.2-STABLE after texinfo-3.9 221001
2.2-STABLE after top 221002
2.2.2-RELEASE 222000
2.2-STABLE after 2.2.2-RELEASE 222001
2.2.5-RELEASE 225000
2.2-STABLE after 2.2.5-RELEASE 225001
2.2-STABLE after ldconfig -R merge 225002
2.2.6-RELEASE 226000
2.2.7-RELEASE 227000
2.2-STABLE after 2.2.7-RELEASE 227001
2.2-STABLE after semctl(2) change 227002
2.2.8-RELEASE 228000
2.2-STABLE after 2.2.8-RELEASE 228001
3.0-CURRENT before mount(2) change 300000
3.0-CURRENT after mount(2) change 300001
3.0-CURRENT after semctl(2) change 300002
3.0-CURRENT after ioctl arg changes 300003
3.0-CURRENT after ELF conversion 300004
3.0-RELEASE 300005
3.0-CURRENT after 3.0-RELEASE 300006
3.0-STABLE after 3/4 branch 300007
3.1-RELEASE 310000
3.1-STABLE after 3.1-RELEASE 310001
3.1-STABLE after C++ constructor/destructor order change 310002
3.2-RELEASE 320000
3.2-STABLE 320001
3.2-STABLE after binary-incompatible IPFW and socket changes 320002
3.3-RELEASE 330000
3.3-STABLE 330001
3.3-STABLE after adding mkstemp(3) to libc 330002
3.4-RELEASE 340000
3.4-STABLE 340001
3.5-RELEASE 350000
3.5-STABLE 350001
4.0-CURRENT after 3.4 branch 400000
4.0-CURRENT after change in dynamic linker handling 400001
4.0-CURRENT after C++ constructor/destructor order change 400002
4.0-CURRENT after functioning dladdr(3) 400003
4.0-CURRENT after __deregister_frame_info dynamic linker bug fix (also 4.0-CURRENT after EGCS 1.1.2 integration) 400004
4.0-CURRENT after suser(9) API change (also 4.0-CURRENT after newbus) 400005
4.0-CURRENT after cdevsw registration change 400006
4.0-CURRENT after the addition of so_cred for socket level credentials 400007
4.0-CURRENT after the addition of a poll syscall wrapper to libc_r 400008
4.0-CURRENT after the change of the kernel's dev_t type to struct specinfo pointer 400009
4.0-CURRENT after fixing a hole in jail(2) 400010
4.0-CURRENT after the sigset_t datatype change 400011
4.0-CURRENT after the cutover to the GCC 2.95.2 compiler 400012
4.0-CURRENT after adding pluggable linux-mode ioctl handlers 400013
4.0-CURRENT after importing OpenSSL 400014
4.0-CURRENT after the C++ ABI change in GCC 2.95.2 from -fvtable-thunks to -fno-vtable-thunks by default 400015
4.0-CURRENT after importing OpenSSH 400016
4.0-RELEASE 400017
4.0-STABLE after 4.0-RELEASE 400018
4.0-STABLE after the introduction of delayed checksums. 400019
4.0-STABLE after merging libxpg4 code into libc. 400020
4.0-STABLE after upgrading Binutils to 2.10.0, ELF branding changes, and tcsh in the base system. 400021
4.1-RELEASE 410000
4.1-STABLE after 4.1-RELEASE 410001
4.1-STABLE after setproctitle(3) moved from libutil to libc. 410002
4.1.1-RELEASE 411000
4.1.1-STABLE after 4.1.1-RELEASE 411001
4.2-RELEASE 420000
4.2-STABLE after combining libgcc.a and libgcc_r.a, and associated GCC linkage changes. 420001
4.3-RELEASE 430000
4.3-STABLE after wint_t introduction. 430001
4.3-STABLE after PCI powerstate API merge. 430002
4.4-RELEASE 440000
4.4-STABLE after d_thread_t introduction. 440001
4.4-STABLE after mount structure changes (affects filesystem klds). 440002
4.4-STABLE after the userland components of smbfs were imported. 440003
4.5-RELEASE 450000
4.5-STABLE after the usb structure element rename. 450001
4.5-STABLE after the sendmail_enable rc.conf(5) variable was made to take the value NONE. 450004
4.5-STABLE after moving to XFree86 4 by default for package builds. 450005
4.5-STABLE after accept filtering was fixed so that is no longer susceptible to an easy DoS. 450006
4.6-RELEASE 460000
4.6-STABLE sendfile(2) fixed to comply with documentation, not to count any headers sent against the amount of data to be sent from the file. 460001
4.6.2-RELEASE 460002
4.6-STABLE 460100
4.6-STABLE after MFC of `sed -i'. 460101
4.6-STABLE after MFC of many new pkg_install features from the HEAD. 460102
4.7-RELEASE 470000
4.7-STABLE 470100
Start generated __std{in,out,err}p references rather than __sF. This changes std{in,out,err} from a compile time expression to a runtime one. 470101
4.7-STABLE after MFC of mbuf changes to replace m_aux mbufs by m_tag's 470102
4.7-STABLE gets OpenSSL 0.9.7 470103
4.8-RELEASE 480000
4.8-STABLE 480100
4.8-STABLE after realpath(3) has been made thread-safe 480101
4.8-STABLE 3ware API changes to twe. 480102
4.9-RELEASE 490000
4.9-STABLE 490100
4.9-STABLE after e_sid was added to struct kinfo_eproc. 490101
4.9-STABLE after MFC of libmap functionality for rtld. 490102
4.10-RELEASE 491000
4.10-STABLE 491100
4.10-STABLE after MFC of revision 20040629 of the package tools 491101
4.10-STABLE after VM fix dealing with unwiring of fictitious pages 491102
4.11-RELEASE 492000
4.11-STABLE 492100
4.11-STABLE after adding libdata/ldconfig directories to mtree files. 492101
5.0-CURRENT 500000
5.0-CURRENT after adding addition ELF header fields, and changing our ELF binary branding method. 500001
5.0-CURRENT after kld metadata changes. 500002
5.0-CURRENT after buf/bio changes. 500003
5.0-CURRENT after binutils upgrade. 500004
5.0-CURRENT after merging libxpg4 code into libc and after TASKQ interface introduction. 500005
5.0-CURRENT after the addition of AGP interfaces. 500006
5.0-CURRENT after Perl upgrade to 5.6.0 500007
5.0-CURRENT after the update of KAME code to 2000/07 sources. 500008
5.0-CURRENT after ether_ifattach() and ether_ifdetach() changes. 500009
5.0-CURRENT after changing mtree defaults back to original variant, adding -L to follow symlinks. 500010
5.0-CURRENT after kqueue API changed. 500011
5.0-CURRENT after setproctitle(3) moved from libutil to libc. 500012
5.0-CURRENT after the first SMPng commit. 500013
5.0-CURRENT after <sys/select.h> moved to <sys/selinfo.h>. 500014
5.0-CURRENT after combining libgcc.a and libgcc_r.a, and associated GCC linkage changes. 500015
5.0-CURRENT after change allowing libc and libc_r to be linked together, deprecating -pthread option. 500016
5.0-CURRENT after switch from struct ucred to struct xucred to stabilize kernel-exported API for mountd et al. 500017
5.0-CURRENT after addition of CPUTYPE make variable for controlling CPU-specific optimizations. 500018
5.0-CURRENT after moving machine/ioctl_fd.h to sys/fdcio.h 500019
5.0-CURRENT after locale names renaming. 500020
5.0-CURRENT after Bzip2 import. Also signifies removal of S/Key. 500021
5.0-CURRENT after SSE support. 500022
5.0-CURRENT after KSE Milestone 2. 500023
5.0-CURRENT after d_thread_t, and moving UUCP to ports. 500024
5.0-CURRENT after ABI change for descriptor and creds passing on 64 bit platforms. 500025
5.0-CURRENT after moving to XFree86 4 by default for package builds, and after the new libc strnstr() function was added. 500026
5.0-CURRENT after the new libc strcasestr() function was added. 500027
5.0-CURRENT after the userland components of smbfs were imported. 500028
5.0-CURRENT after the new C99 specific-width integer types were added. (Not incremented.)
5.0-CURRENT after a change was made in the return value of sendfile(2). 500029
5.0-CURRENT after the introduction of the type fflags_t, which is the appropriate size for file flags. 500030
5.0-CURRENT after the usb structure element rename. 500031
5.0-CURRENT after the introduction of Perl 5.6.1. 500032
5.0-CURRENT after the sendmail_enable rc.conf(5) variable was made to take the value NONE. 500033
5.0-CURRENT after mtx_init() grew a third argument. 500034
5.0-CURRENT with Gcc 3.1. 500035
5.0-CURRENT without Perl in /usr/src 500036
5.0-CURRENT after the addition of dlfunc(3) 500037
5.0-CURRENT after the types of some struct sockbuf members were changed and the structure was reordered. 500038
5.0-CURRENT after GCC 3.2.1 import. Also after headers stopped using _BSD_FOO_T_ and started using _FOO_T_DECLARED. This value can also be used as a conservative estimate of the start of bzip2(1) package support. 500039
5.0-CURRENT after various changes to disk functions were made in the name of removing dependency on disklabel structure internals. 500040
5.0-CURRENT after the addition of getopt_long(3) to libc. 500041
5.0-CURRENT after Binutils 2.13 upgrade, which included new FreeBSD emulation, vec, and output format. 500042
5.0-CURRENT after adding weak pthread_XXX stubs to libc, obsoleting 5.0-RELEASE. 500043
5.0-CURRENT after branching for RELENG_5_0 500100
<sys/dkstat.h> is empty and should not be included. 500101
5.0-CURRENT after the d_mmap_t interface change. 500102
5.0-CURRENT after taskqueue_swi changed to run without Giant, and taskqueue_swi_giant added to run with Giant. 500103
cdevsw_add() and cdevsw_remove() no longer exists. Appearance of MAJOR_AUTO allocation facility. 500104
5.0-CURRENT after new cdevsw initialization method. 500105
devstat_add_entry() has been replaced by devstat_new_entry() 500106
Devstat interface change; see sys/sys/param.h 1.149 500107
Token-Ring interface changes. 500108
Addition of vm_paddr_t. 500109
5.0-CURRENT after realpath(3) has been made thread-safe 500110
5.0-CURRENT after usbhid(3) has been synced with NetBSD 500111
5.0-CURRENT after new NSS implementation and addition of POSIX.1 getpw*_r, getgr*_r functions 500112
5.0-CURRENT after removal of the old rc system. 500113
5.1-RELEASE. 501000
5.1-CURRENT after branching for RELENG_5_1. 501100
5.1-CURRENT after correcting the semantics of sigtimedwait(2) and sigwaitinfo(2). 501101
5.1-CURRENT after adding the lockfunc and lockfuncarg fields to bus_dma_tag_create(9). 501102
5.1-CURRENT after GCC 3.3.1-pre 20030711 snapshot integration. 501103
5.1-CURRENT 3ware API changes to twe. 501104
5.1-CURRENT dynamically-linked /bin and /sbin support and movement of libraries to /lib. 501105
5.1-CURRENT after adding kernel support for Coda 6.x. 501106
5.1-CURRENT after 16550 UART constants moved from <dev/sio/sioreg.h> to <dev/ic/ns16550.h>. Also when libmap functionality was unconditionally supported by rtld. 501107
5.1-CURRENT after PFIL_HOOKS API update 501108
5.1-CURRENT after adding kiconv(3) 501109
5.1-CURRENT after changing default operations for open and close in cdevsw 501110
5.1-CURRENT after changed layout of cdevsw 501111
5.1-CURRENT after adding kobj multiple inheritance 501112
5.1-CURRENT after the if_xname change in struct ifnet 501113
5.1-CURRENT after changing /bin and /sbin to be dynamically linked 501114
5.2-RELEASE 502000
5.2.1-RELEASE 502010
5.2-CURRENT after branching for RELENG_5_2 502100
5.2-CURRENT after __cxa_atexit/__cxa_finalize functions were added to libc. 502101
5.2-CURRENT after change of default thread library from libc_r to libpthread. 502102
5.2-CURRENT after device driver API megapatch. 502103
5.2-CURRENT after getopt_long_only() addition. 502104
5.2-CURRENT after NULL is made into ((void *)0) for C, creating more warnings. 502105
5.2-CURRENT after pf is linked to the build and install. 502106
5.2-CURRENT after time_t is changed to a 64-bit value on sparc64. 502107
5.2-CURRENT after Intel C/C++ compiler support in some headers and execve(2) changes to be more strictly conforming to POSIX. 502108
5.2-CURRENT after the introduction of the bus_alloc_resource_any API 502109
5.2-CURRENT after the addition of UTF-8 locales 502110
5.2-CURRENT after the removal of the getvfsent(3) API 502111
5.2-CURRENT after the addition of the .warning directive for make. 502112
5.2-CURRENT after ttyioctl() was made mandatory for serial drivers. 502113
5.2-CURRENT after import of the ALTQ framework. 502114
5.2-CURRENT after changing sema_timedwait(9) to return 0 on success and a non-zero error code on failure. 502115
5.2-CURRENT after changing kernel dev_t to be pointer to struct cdev *. 502116
5.2-CURRENT after changing kernel udev_t to dev_t. 502117
5.2-CURRENT after adding support for CLOCK_VIRTUAL and CLOCK_PROF to clock_gettime(2) and clock_getres(2). 502118
5.2-CURRENT after changing network interface cloning overhaul. 502119
5.2-CURRENT after the update of the package tools to revision 20040629. 502120
5.2-CURRENT after marking Bluetooth code as non-i386 specific. 502121
5.2-CURRENT after the introduction of the KDB debugger framework, the conversion of DDB into a backend and the introduction of the GDB backend. 502122
5.2-CURRENT after change to make VFS_ROOT take a struct thread argument as does vflush. Struct kinfo_proc now has a user data pointer. The switch of the default X implementation to xorg was also made at this time. 502123
5.2-CURRENT after the change to separate the way ports rc.d and legacy scripts are started. 502124
5.2-CURRENT after the backout of the previous change. 502125
5.2-CURRENT after the removal of kmem_alloc_pageable() and the import of gcc 3.4.2. 502126
5.2-CURRENT after changing the UMA kernel API to allow ctors/inits to fail. 502127
5.2-CURRENT after the change of the vfs_mount signature as well as global replacement of PRISON_ROOT with SUSER_ALLOWJAIL for the suser(9) API. 502128
5.3-BETA/RC before the pfil API change 503000
5.3-RELEASE 503001
5.3-STABLE after branching for RELENG_5_3 503100
5.3-STABLE after addition of glibc style strftime(3) padding options. 503101
5.3-STABLE after OpenBSD's nc(1) import MFC. 503102
5.4-PRERELEASE after the MFC of the fixes in <src/include/stdbool.h> and <src/sys/i386/include/_types.h> for using the GCC-compatibility of the Intel C/C++ compiler. 503103
5.4-PRERELEASE after the MFC of the change of ifi_epoch from wall clock time to uptime. 503104
5.4-PRERELEASE after the MFC of the fix of EOVERFLOW check in vswprintf(3). 503105
5.4-RELEASE. 504000
5.4-STABLE after branching for RELENG_5_4 504100
5.4-STABLE after increasing the default thread stacksizes 504101
5.4-STABLE after the addition of sha256 504102
5.4-STABLE after the MFC of if_bridge 504103
5.4-STABLE after the MFC of bsdiff and portsnap 504104
5.4-STABLE after MFC of ldconfig_local_dirs change. 504105
5.5-RELEASE. 505000
5.5-STABLE after branching for RELENG_5_5 505100
6.0-CURRENT 600000
6.0-CURRENT after permanently enabling PFIL_HOOKS in the kernel. 600001
6.0-CURRENT after initial addition of ifi_epoch to struct if_data. Backed out after a few days. Do not use this value. 600002
6.0-CURRENT after the re-addition of the ifi_epoch member of struct if_data. 600003
6.0-CURRENT after addition of the struct inpcb argument to the pfil API. 600004
6.0-CURRENT after addition of the "-d DESTDIR" argument to newsyslog. 600005
6.0-CURRENT after addition of glibc style strftime(3) padding options. 600006
6.0-CURRENT after addition of 802.11 framework updates. 600007
6.0-CURRENT after changes to VOP_*VOBJECT() functions and introduction of MNTK_MPSAFE flag for Giantfree filesystems. 600008
6.0-CURRENT after addition of the cpufreq framework and drivers. 600009
6.0-CURRENT after importing OpenBSD's nc(1). 600010
6.0-CURRENT after removing semblance of SVID2 matherr() support. 600011
6.0-CURRENT after increase of default thread stacks' size. 600012
6.0-CURRENT after fixes in <src/include/stdbool.h> and <src/sys/i386/include/_types.h> for using the GCC-compatibility of the Intel C/C++ compiler. 600013
6.0-CURRENT after EOVERFLOW checks in vswprintf(3) fixed. 600014
6.0-CURRENT after changing the struct if_data member, ifi_epoch, from wall clock time to uptime. 600015
6.0-CURRENT after LC_CTYPE disk format changed. 600016
6.0-CURRENT after NLS catalogs disk format changed. 600017
6.0-CURRENT after LC_COLLATE disk format changed. 600018
Installation of acpica includes into /usr/include. 600019
Addition of MSG_NOSIGNAL flag to send(2) API. 600020
Addition of fields to cdevsw 600021
Removed gtar from base system. 600022
LOCAL_CREDS, LOCAL_CONNWAIT socket options added to unix(4). 600023
hwpmc(4) and related tools added to 6.0-CURRENT. 600024
struct icmphdr added to 6.0-CURRENT. 600025
pf updated to 3.7. 600026
Kernel libalias and ng_nat introduced. 600027
POSIX ttyname_r(3) made available through unistd.h and libc. 600028
6.0-CURRENT after libpcap updated to v0.9.1 alpha 096. 600029
6.0-CURRENT after importing NetBSD's if_bridge(4). 600030
6.0-CURRENT after struct ifnet was broken out of the driver softcs. 600031
6.0-CURRENT after the import of libpcap v0.9.1. 600032
6.0-STABLE after bump of all shared library versions that had not been changed since RELENG_5. 600033
6.0-STABLE after credential argument is added to dev_clone vent handler. 6.0-RELEASE. 600034
6.0-STABLE after 6.0-RELEASE 600100
6.0-STABLE after incorporating scripts from the local_startup directories into the base rcorder(8). 600101
6.0-STABLE after updating the ELF types and constants. 600102
6.0-STABLE after MFC of pidfile(3) API. 600103
6.0-STABLE after MFC of ldconfig_local_dirs change. 600104
6.0-STABLE after NLS catalog support of csh(1). 600105
6.1-RELEASE 601000
6.1-STABLE after 6.1-RELEASE. 601100
6.1-STABLE after the import of csup. 601101
6.1-STABLE after the iwi(4) update. 601102
6.1-STABLE after the resolver update to BIND9, and exposure of reentrant version of netdb functions. 601103
6.1-STABLE after DSO (dynamic shared objects) support has been enabled in OpenSSL. 601104
6.2-RELEASE 602000
6.2-STABLE after 6.2-RELEASE. 602100
7.0-CURRENT. 700000
7.0-CURRENT after bump of all shared library versions that had not been changed since RELENG_5. 700001
7.0-CURRENT after credential argument is added to dev_clone vent handler. 700002
7.0-CURRENT after memmem(3) is added to libc. 700003
7.0-CURRENT after solisten(9) kernel arguments are modified to accept a backlog parameter. 700004
7.0-CURRENT after IFP2ENADDR() was changed to return a pointer to IF_LLADDR(). 700005
7.0-CURRENT after addition of if_addr member to struct ifnet and IFP2ENADDR() removal. 700006
7.0-CURRENT after incorporating scripts from the local_startup directories into the base rcorder(8). 700007
7.0-CURRENT after removal of MNT_NODEV mount option. 700008
7.0-CURRENT after ELF-64 type changes and symbol versioning. 700009
7.0-CURRENT after addition of hostb and vgapci drivers, addition of pci_find_extcap(), and changing the AGP drivers to no longer map the aperture. 700010
7.0-CURRENT after tv_sec was made time_t on all platforms but Alpha. 700011
7.0-CURRENT after ldconfig_local_dirs change. 700012
7.0-CURRENT after changes to /etc/rc.d/abi to support /compat/linux/etc/ being a symlink in a readonly filesystem. 700013
7.0-CURRENT after pts import. 700014
7.0-CURRENT after the introduction of version 2 of hwpmc(4)'s ABI. 700015
7.0-CURRENT after addition of fcloseall(3) to libc. 700016
7.0-CURRENT after removal of ip6fw. 700017
7.0-CURRENT after import of snd_emu10kx. 700018
7.0-CURRENT after import of OpenSSL 0.9.8b. 700019
7.0-CURRENT after addition of bus_dma_get_tag function 700020
7.0-CURRENT after libpcap 0.9.4 and tcpdump 3.9.4 import. 700021
7.0-CURRENT after dlsym change to look for a requested symbol both in specified dso and its implicit dependencies. 700022
7.0-CURRENT after adding new sound IOCTLs. 700023
7.0-CURRENT after import of OpenSSL 0.9.8d. 700024
7.0-CURRENT after the addition of libelf. 700025

Note: Note that 2.2-STABLE sometimes identifies itself as ``2.2.5-STABLE'' after the 2.2.5-RELEASE. The pattern used to be year followed by the month, but we decided to change it to a more straightforward major/minor system starting from 2.2. This is because the parallel development on several branches made it infeasible to classify the releases simply by their real release dates. If you are making a port now, you do not have to worry about old -CURRENTs; they are listed here just for your reference.

12.8 Writing something after

Do not write anything after the .include <> line. It usually can be avoided by including somewhere in the middle of your Makefile and at the end.

Note: You need to include either the pair or only; do not mix these two usages. only defines a few variables, which can be used in tests in the Makefile, defines the rest.

Here are some important variables defined in (this is not the complete list, please read for the complete list).

Variable Description
ARCH The architecture as returned by uname -m (e.g., i386)
OPSYS The operating system type, as returned by uname -s (e.g., FreeBSD)
OSREL The release version of the operating system (e.g., 2.1.5 or 2.2.7)
OSVERSION The numeric version of the operating system; the same as __FreeBSD_version.
PORTOBJFORMAT The object format of the system (elf or aout; note that for ``modern'' versions of FreeBSD, aout is deprecated.)
LOCALBASE The base of the ``local'' tree (e.g., /usr/local/)
X11BASE The base of the ``X11'' tree (e.g., /usr/X11R6)
PREFIX Where the port installs itself (see more on PREFIX).

Note: If you have to define the variables USE_IMAKE, USE_X_PREFIX, or MASTERDIR, do so before including

Here are some examples of things you can write after

# no need to compile lang/perl5 if perl5 is already in system
.if ${OSVERSION} > 300003
BROKEN= perl is in system

# only one shlib version number for ELF
.if ${PORTOBJFORMAT} == "elf"

# software already makes link for ELF, but not for a.out
.if ${PORTOBJFORMAT} == "aout"
       ${LN} -sf ${PREFIX}/lib/

You did remember to use tab instead of spaces after BROKEN= and TCL_LIB_FILE=, did you not? :-).

12.9 Install additional documentation

If your software has some documentation other than the standard man and info pages that you think is useful for the user, install it under PREFIX/share/doc. This can be done, like the previous item, in the post-install target.

Create a new directory for your port. The directory name should reflect what the port is. This usually means PORTNAME. However, if you think the user might want different versions of the port to be installed at the same time, you can use the whole PKGNAME.

Make the installation dependent on the variable NOPORTDOCS so that users can disable it in /etc/make.conf, like this:

.if !defined(NOPORTDOCS)

Here are some handy variables and how they are expanded by default when used in the Makefile:

  • DATADIR gets expanded to PREFIX/share/PORTNAME.

  • DOCSDIR gets expanded to PREFIX/share/doc/PORTNAME.

  • EXAMPLESDIR gets expanded to PREFIX/share/examples/PORTNAME.

These variables are exported to PLIST_SUB. Their values will appear there as pathnames relative to PREFIX if possible. That is, share/doc/PORTNAME will be substituted for %%DOCSDIR%% in the packing list by default, and so on. (See more on pkg-plist substitution here.)

All documentation files and directories installed should be included in pkg-plist with the %%PORTDOCS%% prefix, for example:

%%PORTDOCS%%@dirrm %%DOCSDIR%%

As an alternative to enumerating the documentation files in pkg-plist, a port can set the variable PORTDOCS to a list of file names and shell glob patterns to add to the final packing list. The names will be relative to DOCSDIR. Therefore, a port that utilizes PORTDOCS and uses a non-default location for its documentation should set DOCSDIR accordingly. If a directory is listed in PORTDOCS or matched by a glob pattern from this variable, the entire subtree of contained files and directories will be registered in the final packing list. If NOPORTDOCS is defined then files and directories listed in PORTDOCS would not be installed and neither would be added to port packing list. Installing the documentation at PORTDOCS as shown above remains up to the port itself. A typical example of utilizing PORTDOCS looks as follows:

PORTDOCS=       README.* ChangeLog docs/*

Note: You can also use the pkg-message file to display messages upon installation. See the section on using pkg-message for details. The pkg-message file does not need to be added to pkg-plist.

12.10 Subdirectories

Try to let the port put things in the right subdirectories of PREFIX. Some ports lump everything and put it in the subdirectory with the port's name, which is incorrect. Also, many ports put everything except binaries, header files and manual pages in a subdirectory of lib, which does not work well with the BSD paradigm. Many of the files should be moved to one of the following: etc (setup/configuration files), libexec (executables started internally), sbin (executables for superusers/managers), info (documentation for info browser) or share (architecture independent files). See hier(7) for details; the rules governing /usr pretty much apply to /usr/local too. The exception are ports dealing with USENET ``news''. They may use PREFIX/news as a destination for their files.

12.11 Use the exec statement in wrapper scripts

If the port installs a shell script whose purpose is to launch another program, and if launching that program is the last action performed by the script, make sure to launch the program using the exec statement, for instance:

exec %%LOCALBASE%%/bin/java -jar %%DATADIR%%/foo.jar "$@"

The exec statement replaces the shell process with the specified program. If exec is omitted, the shell process remains in memory while the program is executing, and needlessly consumes system resources.

12.12 UIDs and GIDs

The current list of reserved UIDs and GIDs can be found in ports/UIDs and ports/GIDs.

If your port requires a certain user to be on the installed system, let the pkg-install script call pw to create it automatically. Look at net/cvsup-mirror for an example. Please note that this is strongly discouraged, please register user/group ID numbers as stated below.

If your port must use the same user/group ID number when it is installed as a binary package as when it was compiled, then you must choose a free UID from 50 to 999 and register it either in ports/UIDs (for users) or in ports/GIDs (for groups). Look at japanese/Wnn6 for an example.

Make sure you do not use a UID already used by the system or other ports.

Please include a patch against these two files when you require a new user or group to be created for your port.

12.13 Do things rationally

The Makefile should do things simply and reasonably. If you can make it a couple of lines shorter or more readable, then do so. Examples include using a make .if construct instead of a shell if construct, not redefining do-extract if you can redefine EXTRACT* instead, and using GNU_CONFIGURE instead of CONFIGURE_ARGS += --prefix=${PREFIX}.

If you find yourself having to write a lot of new code to try to do something, please go back and review to see if it contains an existing implementation of what you are trying to do. While hard to read, there are a great many seemingly-hard problems for which already provides a shorthand solution.

12.14 Respect both CC and CXX

The port should respect both CC and CXX variables. What we mean by this is that the port should not set the values of these variables absolutely, overriding existing values; instead, it should append whatever values it needs to the existing values. This is so that build options that affect all ports can be set globally.

If the port does not respect these variables, please add NO_PACKAGE=ignores either cc or cxx to the Makefile.

An example of a Makefile respecting both CC and CXX variables follows. Note the ?=:

CC?= gcc
CXX?= g++

Here is an example which respects neither CC nor CXX variables:

CC= gcc
CXX= g++

Both CC and CXX variables can be defined on FreeBSD systems in /etc/make.conf. The first example defines a value if it was not previously set in /etc/make.conf, preserving any system-wide definitions. The second example clobbers anything previously defined.

12.15 Respect CFLAGS

The port should respect the CFLAGS variable. What we mean by this is that the port should not set the value of this variable absolutely, overriding the existing value; instead, it should append whatever values it needs to the existing value. This is so that build options that affect all ports can be set globally.

If it does not, please add NO_PACKAGE=ignores cflags to the Makefile.

An example of a Makefile respecting the CFLAGS variable follows. Note the +=:

CFLAGS+= -Wall -Werror

Here is an example which does not respect the CFLAGS variable:

CFLAGS= -Wall -Werror

The CFLAGS variable is defined on FreeBSD systems in /etc/make.conf. The first example appends additional flags to the CFLAGS variable, preserving any system-wide definitions. The second example clobbers anything previously defined.

You should remove optimization flags from the third party Makefiles. System CFLAGS contains system-wide optimization flags. An example from an unmodified Makefile:

CFLAGS= -O3 -funroll-loops -DHAVE_SOUND

Using system optimization flags, the Makefile would look similar to the following example:


12.16 Threading libraries

The threading library must be linked to the binaries using a special linker flag -pthread on FreeBSD. If a port insists on linking -lpthread or -lc_r directly, patch it to use PTHREAD_LIBS variable provided by the ports framework. This variable usually has the value of -pthread, but on certain architectures and FreeBSD versions it can have different values, so do not just hardcode -pthread into patches and always use PTHREAD_LIBS.

Note: If building the port errors out with unrecognized option '-pthread' when setting PTHREAD_LIBS, it may be desirable to use gcc as linker by setting CONFIGURE_ENV to LD=${CC}. The -pthread option is not supported by ld directly.

12.17 Feedback

Do send applicable changes/patches to the original author/maintainer for inclusion in next release of the code. This will only make your job that much easier for the next release.

12.18 README.html

Do not include the README.html file. This file is not part of the cvs collection but is generated using the make readme command.

12.19 Marking a port not installable with BROKEN, FORBIDDEN, or IGNORE

In certain cases users should be prevented from installing a port. To tell a user that a port should not be installed, there are several make variables that can be used in a port's Makefile. The value of the following make variables will be the reason that is given back to users for why the port refuses to install itself. Please use the correct make variable as each make variable conveys radically different meanings to both users, and to automated systems that depend on the Makefiles, such as the ports build cluster, FreshPorts, and portsmon.

12.19.1 Variables

  • BROKEN is reserved for ports that currently do not compile, install, or deinstall correctly. It should be used for ports where the problem is believed to be temporary.

    If instructed, the build cluster will still attempt to try to build them to see if the underlying problem has been resolved. (However, in general, the cluster is run without this.)

    For instance, use BROKEN when a port:

    • does not compile

    • fails its configuration or installation process

    • installs files outside of ${LOCALBASE} and ${X11BASE}

    • does not remove all its files cleanly upon deinstall (however, it may be acceptable, and desirable, for the port to leave user-modified files behind)

  • FORBIDDEN is used for ports that do contain a security vulnerability or induce grave concern regarding the security of a FreeBSD system with a given port installed (ex: a reputably insecure program or a program that provides easily exploitable services). Ports should be marked as FORBIDDEN as soon as a particular piece of software has a vulnerability and there is no released upgrade. Ideally ports should be upgraded as soon as possible when a security vulnerability is discovered so as to reduce the number of vulnerable FreeBSD hosts (we like being known for being secure), however sometimes there is a noticeable time gap between disclosure of a vulnerability and an updated release of the vulnerable software. Do not mark a port FORBIDDEN for any reason other than security.

  • IGNORE is reserved for ports that should not be built for some other reason. It should be used for ports where the problem is believed to be structural. The build cluster will not, under any circumstances, build ports marked as IGNORE. For instance, use IGNORE when a port:

    • compiles but does not run properly

    • does not work on the installed version of FreeBSD

    • requires FreeBSD kernel sources to build, but the user does not have them installed

    • has a distfile which may not be automatically fetched due to licensing restrictions

    • does not work with some other currently installed port (for instance, the port depends on www/apache21 but www/apache13 is installed)

    Note: If a port would conflict with a currently installed port (for example, if they install a file in the same place that perfoms a different function), use CONFLICTS instead. CONFLICTS will set IGNORE by itself.

  • If a port should be marked IGNORE only on certain architectures, there are two other convenience variables that will automatically set IGNORE for you: ONLY_FOR_ARCHS and NOT_FOR_ARCHS. Examples:

    ONLY_FOR_ARCHS= i386 amd64
    NOT_FOR_ARCHS= alpha ia64 sparc64

    A custom IGNORE message can be set using ONLY_FOR_ARCHS_REASON and NOT_FOR_ARCHS_REASON. Per architecture entries are possible with ONLY_FOR_ARCHS_REASON_ARCH and NOT_FOR_ARCHS_REASON_ARCH.

  • If a port fetches i386 binaries and installs them, IA32_BINARY_PORT should be set. If this variable is set, it will be checked whether the /usr/lib32 directory is available for IA32 versions of libraries and whether the kernel has IA32 compatibility compiled in. If one of these two dependencies is not satisfied, IGNORE will be set automatically.

12.19.2 Implementation Notes

The strings should not be quoted. Also, the wording of the string should be somewhat different due to the way the information is shown to the user. Examples:

BROKEN= this port is unsupported on FreeBSD 5.x
IGNORE= is unsupported on FreeBSD 5.x

resulting in the following output from make describe:

===>  foobar-0.1 is marked as broken: this port is unsupported on FreeBSD 5.x.
===>  foobar-0.1 is unsupported on FreeBSD 5.x.

12.20 Marking a port for removal with DEPRECATED or EXPIRATION_DATE

Do remember that BROKEN and FORBIDDEN are to be used as a temporary resort if a port is not working. Permanently broken ports should be removed from the tree entirely.

When it makes sense to do so, users can be warned about a pending port removal with DEPRECATED and EXPIRATION_DATE. The former is simply a string stating why the port is scheduled for removal; the latter is a string in ISO 8601 format (YYYY-MM-DD). Both will be shown to the user.

It is possible to set DEPRECATED without an EXPIRATION_DATE (for instance, recommending a newer version of the port), but the converse does not make any sense.

There is no set policy on how much notice to give. Current practice seems to be one month for security-related issues and two months for build issues. This also gives any interested committers a little time to fix the problems.

12.21 Avoid use of the .error construct

The correct way for a Makefile to signal that the port can not be installed due to some external factor (for instance, the user has specified an illegal combination of build options) is to set a nonblank value to IGNORE. This value will be formatted and shown to the user by make install.

It is a common mistake to use .error for this purpose. The problem with this is that many automated tools that work with the ports tree will fail in this situation. The most common occurrence of this is seen when trying to build /usr/ports/INDEX (see Section 9.1). However, even more trivial commands such as make -V maintainer also fail in this scenario. This is not acceptable.

Example 12-1. How to avoid using .error

Assume that someone has the line

in make.conf. The first of the next two Makefile snippets will cause make index to fail, while the second one will not:

.error "POINTYHAT is not supported"
IGNORE=POINTYHAT is not supported

12.22 Usage of sysctl

The usage of sysctl is discouraged except in targets. This is because the evaluation of any makevars, such as used during make index, then has to run the command, further slowing down that process.

Usage of sysctl(8) should always be done with the SYSCTL variable, as it contains the fully qualified path and can be overridden, if one has such a special need.

12.23 Rerolling distfiles

Sometimes the authors of software change the content of released distfiles without changing the file's name. You have to verify that the changes are official and have been performed by the author. It has happened in the past that the distfile was silently altered on the download servers with the intent to cause harm or compromise end user security.

Put the old distfile aside, download the new one, unpack them and compare the content with diff(1). If you see nothing suspicious, you can update distinfo. Be sure to summarize the differences in your PR or commit log, so that other people know that you have taken care to ensure that nothing bad has happened.

You might also want to contact the authors of the software and confirm the changes with them.

12.24 Necessary workarounds

Sometimes it is necessary to work around bugs in software included with older versions of FreeBSD.

  • Some versions of make(1) were broken on at least 4.8 and 5.0 with respect to handling comparisons based on OSVERSION. This would often lead to failures during make describe (and thus, the overall ports make index). The workaround is to enclose the conditional comparison in spaces, e.g.:

    if ( ${OSVERSION} > 500023 )
    Be aware that test-installing a port on 4.9 or 5.2 will not detect this problem.

12.25 Miscellanea

The files pkg-descr and pkg-plist should each be double-checked. If you are reviewing a port and feel they can be worded better, do so.

Do not copy more copies of the GNU General Public License into our system, please.

Please be careful to note any legal issues! Do not let us illegally distribute software!

Chapter 13 A Sample Makefile

Here is a sample Makefile that you can use to create a new port. Make sure you remove all the extra comments (ones between brackets)!

It is recommended that you follow this format (ordering of variables, empty lines between sections, etc.). This format is designed so that the most important information is easy to locate. We recommend that you use portlint to check the Makefile.

[the header...just to make it easier for us to identify the ports.]
# New ports collection makefile for:   xdvi
[the "version required" line is only needed when the PORTVERSION
 variable is not specific enough to describe the port.]
# Date created:                26 May 1995
[this is the person who did the original port to FreeBSD, in particular, the
person who wrote the first version of this Makefile.  Remember, this should
not be changed when upgrading the port later.]
# Whom:                        Satoshi Asami <>
# $FreeBSD$
[ ^^^^^^^^^ This will be automatically replaced with RCS ID string by CVS
when it is committed to our repository.  If upgrading a port, do not alter
this line back to "$FreeBSD$".  CVS deals with it automatically.]

[section to describe the port itself and the master site - PORTNAME
 and PORTVERSION are always first, followed by CATEGORIES,
 and then MASTER_SITES, which can be followed by MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR.
 PKGNAMEPREFIX and PKGNAMESUFFIX, if needed, will be after that.
 Then comes DISTNAME, EXTRACT_SUFX and/or DISTFILES, and then
 EXTRACT_ONLY, as necessary.]
PORTNAME=      xdvi
CATEGORIES=    print
[do not forget the trailing slash ("/")!
 if you are not using MASTER_SITE_* macros]
MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR= applications
DISTNAME=      xdvi-pl18
[set this if the source is not in the standard ".tar.gz" form]

[section for distributed patches -- can be empty]
PATCHFILES=    xdvi-18.patch1.gz xdvi-18.patch2.gz

[maintainer; *mandatory*!  This is the person who is volunteering to
 handle port updates, build breakages, and to whom a users can direct
 questions and bug reports.  To keep the quality of the Ports Collection
 as high as possible, we no longer accept new ports that are assigned to
COMMENT=       A DVI Previewer for the X Window System

[dependencies -- can be empty]
RUN_DEPENDS=   gs:${PORTSDIR}/print/ghostscript
LIB_DEPENDS=   Xpm.5:${PORTSDIR}/graphics/xpm

[this section is for other standard variables that do not
 belong to any of the above]
[If it asks questions during configure, build, install...]
IS_INTERACTIVE=        yes
[If it extracts to a directory other than ${DISTNAME}...]
WRKSRC=                ${WRKDIR}/xdvi-new
[If the distributed patches were not made relative to ${WRKSRC}, you
 may need to tweak this]
[If it requires a "configure" script generated by GNU autoconf to be run]
[If it requires GNU make, not /usr/bin/make, to build...]
USE_GMAKE=     yes
[If it is an X application and requires "xmkmf -a" to be run...]
USE_IMAKE=     yes
[et cetera.]

[non-standard variables to be used in the rules below]
MY_FAVORITE_RESPONSE=  "yeah, right"

[then the special rules, in the order they are called]
    i go fetch something, yeah

    i need to do something after patch, great

    and then some more stuff before installing, wow

[and then the epilogue]
.include <>

Chapter 14 Keeping Up

The FreeBSD Ports Collection is constantly changing. Here is some information on how to keep up.

14.1 FreshPorts

One of the easiest ways to learn about updates that have already been committed is by subscribing to FreshPorts. You can select multiple ports to monitor. Maintainers are strongly encouraged to subscribe, because they will receive notification of not only their own changes, but also any changes that any other FreeBSD committer has made. (These are often necessary to keep up with changes in the underlying ports framework--although it would be most polite to receive an advance heads-up from those committing such changes, sometimes this is overlooked or just simply impractical. Also, in some cases, the changes are very minor in nature. We expect everyone to use their best judgement in these cases.)

If you wish to use FreshPorts, all you need is an account. If your registered email address is, you will see the opt-in link on the right hand side of the webpages. For those of you who already have a FreshPorts account, but are not using your email address, just change your email to, subscribe, then change it back again.

FreshPorts also has a sanity test feature which automatically tests each commit to the FreeBSD ports tree. If subscribed to this service, you will be notified of any errors which FreshPorts detects during sanity testing of your commits.

14.2 The Web Interface to the Source Repository

It is possible to browse the files in the source repository by using a web interface. Changes that affect the entire port system are now documented in the CHANGES file. Changes that affect individual ports are now documented in the UPDATING file. However, the definitive answer to any question is undoubtedly to read the source code of, and associated files.

14.3 The FreeBSD Ports Mailing List

If you maintain ports, you should consider following the FreeBSD ports mailing list. Important changes to the way ports work will be announced there, and then committed to CHANGES.

14.4 The FreeBSD Port Building Cluster on

One of the least-publicized strengths of FreeBSD is that an entire cluster of machines is dedicated to continually building the Ports Collection, for each of the major OS releases and for each Tier-1 architecture. You can find the results of these builds at package building logs and errors.

Individual ports are built unless they are specifically marked with IGNORE. Ports that are marked with BROKEN will still be attempted, to see if the underlying problem has been resolved. (This is done by passing TRYBROKEN to the port's Makefile.)

14.5 The FreeBSD Port Distfile Survey

The build cluster is dedicated to building the latest release of each port with distfiles that have already been fetched. However, as the Internet continually changes, distfiles can quickly go missing. The FreeBSD Ports distfiles survey attempts to query every download site for every port to find out if each distfile is still currently available. Maintainers are asked to check this report periodically, not only to speed up the building process for users, but to help avoid wasting bandwidth of the sites that volunteer to host all these distfiles.

14.6 The FreeBSD Ports Monitoring System

Another handy resource is the FreeBSD Ports Monitoring System (also known as portsmon). This system comprises a database that processes information from several sources and allows its to be browsed via a web interface. Currently, the ports Problem Reports (PRs), the error logs from the build cluster, and individual files from the ports collection are used. In the future, this will be expanded to include the distfile survey, as well as other sources.

To get started, you can view all information about a particular port by using the Overview of One Port.

As of this writing, this is the only resource available that maps GNATS PR entries to portnames. (PR submitters do not always include the portname in their Synopsis, although we would prefer that they did.) So, portsmon is a good place to start if you want to find out whether an existing port has any PRs filed against it and/or any build errors; or, to find out if a new port that you may be thinking about creating has already been submitted.

For questions about the FreeBSD ports system, e-mail <>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <>.