FreeBSD ports tricks

Monday, 11 August 2003, 12:10 AM EST

One of the many reasons to love FreeBSD is its ports collection. Nearly 10,000 applications are available, and any installation is a mere make install clean away. In this article, I'd like to share some of my favorite ports tricks.

Even if you've been using the ports collection for a while, a read through man ports may reveal some tricks you were unaware of. If you have lots of disk space but a slow or intermittent Internet connection, this tip from the manpage is a real gem:

% cd /usr/ports
% make readmes

You may want to go grab some lunch while the command does its thing. When it's finished, you'll have a new file called /usr/ports/README.html. Open that file in your favorite web browser and you'll find some very handy hyperlinks. First, there is a link to the FreeBSD handbook, which can be accessed either offline from your hard disk, or online from the FreeBSD web site. Next, there is a link to the Porter's Handbook. If you've ever wondered at the magic behind a port's Makefile or had the urge to make your own port, this is the file to read.

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