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4.7. Making a port yourself

Contributed by Jordan K. Hubbard , Gary Palmer , Satoshi Asami , David O'Brien , and Tim Vanderhoek . 28 August 1996.

So, now 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 Section 4.7.14.

When this document is not sufficiently detailed, you should refer to /usr/ports/Mk/bsd.port.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 FreeBSD ports mailing list .

Note: Only a fraction of the overridable variables (VAR) are mentioned in this document. Most (if not all) are documented at the start of bsd.port.mk. This file users a non-standard tab setting. Emacs and Vim should recognise the setting on loading the file. Both vi and ex can be set to use the correct value by typing :set tabstop=4 once the file has been loaded.

4.7.1. Quick Porting

This section tells you how to do a quick port. In many cases, it is not enough, but we will see.

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. Writing the Makefile

The minimal Makefile would look something like this:

    # New ports collection makefile for:   oneko
    # Version required:    1.1b
    # Date created:        5 December 1994
    # Whom:                asami
    # $FreeBSD$
    DISTNAME=      oneko-1.1b
    CATEGORIES=    games
    MASTER_SITES=  ftp://ftp.cs.columbia.edu/archives/X11R5/contrib/
    MAINTAINER=    asami@FreeBSD.org
    MAN1=          oneko.1
    USE_IMAKE=     yes
    .include <bsd.port.mk>

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. Writing the description files

There are three description files that are required for any port, whether they actually package or not. They are COMMENT, DESCR, and PLIST, and reside in the pkg subdirectory. COMMENT

This is the 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:

    A cat chasing a mouse all over the screen 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.

It is recommended that you sign your name at the end of this file, as in:

    This is a port of oneko, in which a cat chases a poor mouse all over
    the screen.
    WWW: http://www.oneko.org/        
    - Satoshi
    asami@cs.berkeley.edu 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.

Here is a small example:

    @dirrm lib/X11/oneko

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

Note: You should list all the files, but not the name directories, in the list. Also, if the port creates directories for itself during installation, make sure to add @dirrm lines as necessary to remove them when the port is deleted.

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.

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. Creating the checksum file

Just type make makesum. The ports make rules will automatically generate the file files/md5. Testing the port

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

  • PLIST does not contain anything not installed by your port

  • 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 is works correctly when installed from a package. Checking your port with portlint

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

First, make sure you have read the Do's and Dont's 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). If the uncompressed port is larger than 20KB, you should compress it into a tarfile and use uuencode(1) before including it in the bug report (uuencoded tarfiles are acceptable even if the bug report is smaller than 20KB but are not preferred). Be sure to classify the bug report as category ports and class change-request. (Do not mark the report confidential!)

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

Note: In the past, we asked you to upload new port submissions in our ftp site (ftp.FreeBSD.org). This is no longer recommended as read access is turned off on that incoming/ directory of that site due to the large amount of pirated software showing up there.

We will look at your port, get back to you if necessary, and put it in the tree. Your name will also appear in the list of ``Additional FreeBSD contributors'' on the FreeBSD Handbook and other files. Isn't that great?!? :)

4.7.2. 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. How things work

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

But do not worry if you do not really understand what bsd.port.mk 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 ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/distfiles/, 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 patches are found in PATCHDIR (defaults to the patches 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 bsd.port.mk 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 touch extract!

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

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). Make sure you set MASTER_SITES to reflect your choice.

If you cannot find somewhere convenient and reliable to put the distfile (if you are a FreeBSD committer, you can just put it in your public_html/ directory on freefall), we can ``house'' it ourselves by putting it on ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/distfiles/LOCAL_PORTS/ as the last resort. Please refer to this location as MASTER_SITE_LOCAL. Send mail to the FreeBSD ports mailing list if you are not sure what to do.

If your port's distfile changes all the time for no good reason, consider putting the distfile in your home page and listing it as the first MASTER_SITES. This 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). 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. Patching

In the preparation of the port, files that have been added or changed can be picked up with a recursive diff for later feeding to patch. Each set of patches you wish to apply should be collected into a file named patch-xx where xx denotes the sequence in which the patches will be applied --- these are done in alphabetical order, thus aa first, ab second and so on. These files should be stored in PATCHDIR, from where they will be automatically applied. All patches should 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-aa and patch-ab both changing WRKSRC/foobar.c). Configuring

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

If your port requires user input to build, configure or install, then 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).

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 CD-ROMs and ftp.

4.7.3. 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: The original source

Does it live in DISTDIR as a standard gzip'd tarball? If so, you can go on to the next step. If not, you should look at overriding any of the 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. DISTNAME

You should set DISTNAME to be the base name of your port. The default rules expect the distribution file list (DISTFILES) to be named DISTNAMEEXTRACT_SUFX which, if it is a normal tarball, is going to be something like foozolix-1.0.tar.gz for a setting of DISTNAME=foozolix-1.0.

The default rules also expect the tarball(s) to extract into a subdirectory called work/DISTNAME, e.g. work/foozolix-1.0/.

All this behavior can be overridden, of course; it simply represents the most common time-saving defaults. For a port requiring multiple distribution files, simply set DISTFILES explicitly. If only a subset of DISTFILES are actual extractable archives, then set them up in EXTRACT_ONLY, which will override the DISTFILES list when it comes to extraction, and the rest will be just left in DISTDIR for later use. PKGNAME

If DISTNAME does not conform to our guidelines for a good package name, you should set the PKGNAME variable to something better. See the abovementioned guidelines for more details. CATEGORIES

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 CD-ROM. Please take a look at the existing 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 the categories section for more discussion about how to pick the right categories.

If you port truly belongs to something that is different from all the existing ones, you can even create a new category name. In that case, please send mail to the FreeBSD ports mailing list to propose a new category.

Note: There is no error checking for category names. make package will happily create a new directory if you mistype the category name, so be careful! MASTER_SITES

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, and we are even planning to add support for automatically determining the closest master site and fetching from there!

If the original tarball is part of one of the following popular archives: X-contrib, GNU, Perl CPAN, TeX CTAN, or Linux Sunsite, you refer to those sites in an easy compact form using MASTER_SITE_XCONTRIB, MASTER_SITE_GNU, MASTER_SITE_PERL_CPAN, MASTER_SITE_TEX_CTAN, and MASTER_SITE_SUNSITE. Simply set MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR to the path with in the archive. Here is an example:

    MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR=   applications

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. PATCHFILES

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., WKRSRC) 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, from the pre-patch target, apply the patch either by running the patch command from there, or copying the patch file into the PATCHDIR directory and calling it patch-xx.

Note: 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. MAINTAINER

Set your mail-address here. Please. :)

For detailed description of the responsibility of maintainers, refer to MAINTAINER on Makefiles section. Dependencies

Many ports depend on other ports. There are five 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 behaviour of dependencies. LIB_DEPENDS

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, and 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,

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 an argument given to ldconfig -r | grep -wF. There shall be no regular expressions in this variable.

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 in to the package so that pkg_add will automatically install it if it is not on the user's system. RUN_DEPENDS

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, and 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 user's search path.

For example,

    RUN_DEPENDS=   ${PREFIX}/etc/innd:${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 your 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 a normal user's search path, you should use the full pathname.

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

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 extracting 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 FETCH_DEPENDS

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. DEPENDS

If there is a dependency that does not fall into either of the above four categories, or your port requires to have the source of the other port extracted in addition to having them 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. Common dependency variables

Define USE_XLIB=yes if your port requires the X Window System to be installed (it is implied by USE_IMAKE). Define USE_GMAKE=yes if your port requires GNU make instead of BSD make. Define USE_AUTOCONF=yes if your port requires GNU autoconf to be run. Define USE_QT=yes if your port uses the latest qt toolkit. Use USE_PERL5=yes if your port requires version 5 of the perl language. (The last is especially important since some versions of FreeBSD has perl5 as part of the base system while others do not.) 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.

To depend on another port unconditionally, it is customary to use the string nonexistent as the first field of BUILD_DEPENDS or RUN_DEPENDS. Use this only when you need to the to get to 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 behaviour you want can be accomplished. It will cause the other port to be always build (and installed, by default), and the dependency will go into the packages as well. If this is really what you need, I recommend you write it as BUILD_DEPENDS and RUN_DEPENDS instead---at least the intention will be clear. Building mechanisms

If your package uses GNU make, set USE_GMAKE=yes. If your package uses configure, set HAS_CONFIGURE=yes. If your package uses GNU configure, set GNU_CONFIGURE=yes (this implies HAS_CONFIGURE). If you want to give some extra arguments to configure (the default argument list --prefix=${PREFIX} for GNU configure and empty for non-GNU configure), set those extra arguments in CONFIGURE_ARGS. If your package uses GNU autoconf, set USE_AUTOCONF=yes. This implies GNU_CONFIGURE, and will cause autoconf to be run before configure.

If your package is an X application that creates Makefiles from Imakefiles 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 install.man target, NO_INSTALL_MANPAGES=yes should be set. In addition, the author of the original port should be shot. :>

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.

4.7.4. 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. ldconfig

If your port installs a shared library, add a post-install target to your Makefile that runs ${LDCONFIG} -m on the directory where the new library is installed (usually PREFIX/lib) to register it into the shared library cache.

Also, add a matching @exec /sbin/ldconfig -m and @unexec /sbin/ldconfig -R pair to your pkg/PLIST file so that a user who installed the package can start using the shared library immediately and deinstallation will not cause the system to still believe the library is there. These lines should immediately follow the line for the shared library itself, as in:

    @exec /sbin/ldconfig -m %D/lib
    @unexec /sbin/ldconfig -R

Never, ever, ever add a line that says ldconfig without any arguments to your Makefile or pkg/PLIST. This will reset the shared library cache to the contents of /usr/lib only, and will royally screw up the user's machine ("Help, xinit does not run anymore after I install this port!"). Anybody who does this will be shot and cut in 65,536 pieces by a rusty knife and have is liver chopped out by a bunch of crows and will eternally rot to death in the deepest bowels of hell (not necessarily in that order...)

4.7.5. ELF support

Since FreeBSD is moving to ELF shortly after 3.0-RELEASE, we need to convert many ports that build shared libraries to support ELF. Complicating this task is that a 3.0 system can run as both ELF and a.out, and we wish to unofficially support the 2.2 as long as possible. Below are the guidelines on how to convert a.out only ports to support both a.out and ELF compilation.

Some part of this list is only applicable during the conversion, but will be left here for awhile for reference in case you have come across some old port you wish to upgrade. Moving a.out libraries out of the way

A.out libraries should be moved out of /usr/local/lib and similar to an aout subdirectory. (If you do not move them out of the way, ELF ports will happily overwrite a.out libraries.) The move-aout-libs target in the 3.0-CURRENT src/Makefile (called from aout-to-elf) will do this for you. It will only move a.out libs so it is safe to call it on a system with both ELF and a.out libs in the standard directories. Format

The ports tree will build packages in the format the machine is in. This means a.out for 2.2 and a.out or ELF for 3.0 depending on what `objformat` returns. Also, once users move a.out libraries to a subdirectory, building a.out libraries will be unsupported. (I.e., it may still work if you know what you are doing, but you are on your own.)

Note: If a port only works for a.out, set BROKEN_ELF to a string describing the reason why. Such ports will be skipped during a build on an ELF system. PORTOBJFORMAT

bsd.port.mk will set PORTOBJFORMAT to aout or elf and export it in the environments CONFIGURE_ENV, SCRIPTS_ENV and MAKE_ENV. (It's always going to be aout in 2.2-STABLE). It is also passed to PLIST_SUB as PORTOBJFORMAT=${PORTOBJFORMAT}. (See comment on ldconfig lines below.)

The variable is set using this line in bsd.port.mk:

    PORTOBJFORMAT!= test -x /usr/bin/objformat && /usr/bin/objformat || echo aout

Ports' make processes should use this variable to decide what to do. However, if the port's configure script already automatically detects an ELF system, it is not necessary to refer to PORTOBJFORMAT. Building shared libraries

The following are differences in handling shared libraries for a.out and ELF.

  • Shared library versions

    An ELF shared library should be called libfoo.so.M where M is the single version number, and an a.out library should be called libfoo.so.M.N where M is the major version and N is the the minor version number. Do not mix those; never install an ELF shared library called libfoo.so.N.M or an a.out shared library (or symlink) called libfoo.so.N.

  • Linker command lines

    Assuming cc -shared is used rather than ld directly, the only difference is that you need to add -Wl,-soname,libfoo.so.M on the command line for ELF.

You need to install a symlink from libfoo.so to libfoo.so.N to make ELF linkers happy. Since it should be listed in PLIST too, and it won't hurt in the a.out case (some ports even require the link for dynamic loading), you should just make this link regardless of the setting of PORTOBJFORMAT. LIB_DEPENDS

All port Makefiles are edited to remove minor numbers from LIB_DEPENDS, and also to have the regexp support removed. (E.g., foo\\.1\\.\\(33|40\\) becomes foo.2.) They will be matched using grep -wF. PLIST

PLIST should contain the short (ELF) shlib names if the a.out minor number is zero, and the long (a.out) names otherwise. bsd.port.mk will automatically add .0 to the end of short shlib lines if PORTOBJFORMAT equals aout, and will delete the minor number from long shlib names if PORTOBJFORMAT equals elf.

In cases where you really need to install shlibs with two versions on an ELF system or those with one version on an a.out system (for instance, ports that install compatibility libraries for other operating systems), define the variable NO_FILTER_SHLIBS. This will turn off the editing of PLIST mentioned in the previous paragraph. ldconfig

The ldconfig line in Makefiles should read:


In PLIST it should read;

    @exec /usr/bin/env OBJFORMAT=%%PORTOBJFORMAT%% /sbin/ldconfig -m ...
    @unexec /usr/bin/env OBJFORMAT=%%PORTOBJFORMAT%% /sbin/ldconfig -R

This is to ensure that the correct ldconfig will be called depending on the format of the package, not the default format of the system.


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 Makefiles, you can use MASTERDIR to specify the directory where the rest of the files are. Also, use a variable as part of PKGNAME so the packages will have different names.

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

    PKGNAME=       ja-xdvi${RESOLUTION}-17
    # default
    RESOLUTION?=   300
    .if ${RESOLUTION} != 118 && ${RESOLUTION} != 240 && \
           ${RESOLUTION} != 300 && ${RESOLUTION} != 400
           @${ECHO} "Error: invalid value for RESOLUTION: \"${RESOLUTION}\"" 
           @${ECHO} "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;

    RESOLUTION=     118
    MASTERDIR=      ${.CURDIR}/../xdvi300
    .include ${MASTERDIR}/Makefile

(xdvi240/Makefile and xdvi400/Makefile are similar). The MASTERDIR definition tells bsd.port.mk that the regular set of subdirectories like PATCHDIR and PKGDIR 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.

4.7.7. Shared library versions

First, please read our policy on shared library versioning to understand what to do with shared library versions in general. Do not blindly assume software authors know what they are doing; many of them do not. It is very important that these details are carefully considered, as we have quite a unique situation where we are trying to have dozens of potentially incompatible software pairs co-exist. Careless port imports have caused great trouble regarding shared libraries in the past (ever wondered why the port jpeg-6b has a shared library version of 9.0?). If in doubt, send a message to the FreeBSD ports mailing list . Most of the time, your job ends by determining the right shared library version and making appropriate patches to implement it.

However, if there is a port which is a different version of the same software already in the tree, the situation is much more complex. In short, the FreeBSD implementation does not allow the user to specify to the linker which version of shared library to link against (the linker will always pick the highest numbered version). This means, if there is a libfoo.so.3.2 and libfoo.so.4.0 in the system, there is no way to tell the linker to link a particular application to libfoo.so.3.2. It is essentially completely overshadowed in terms of compilation-time linkage. In this case, the only solution is to rename the base part of the shared library. For instance, change libfoo.so.4.0 to libfoo4.so.1.0 so both version 3.2 and 4.0 can be linked from other ports.

4.7.8. Manpages

The MAN[1-9LN] variables will automatically add any manpages to pkg/PLIST (this means you must not list manpages in the 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 bsd.port.mk to make sure it points to the correct file. Any manpages listed in MLINKS must not be listed in the 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 bsd.port.mk 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.

4.7.9. Ports that require Motif

There are many programs that require a Motif library (available from several commercial vendors, while there is a free clone reported to be able to run many applications in x11-toolkits/lesstif) to compile. Since it is a popular toolkit and their licenses usually permit redistribution of statically linked binaries, we have made special provisions for handling ports that require Motif in a way that we can easily compile binaries linked either dynamically (for people who are compiling from the port) or statically (for people who distribute packages). REQUIRES_MOTIF

If your port requires Motif, define this variable in the Makefile. This will prevent people who do not own a copy of Motif from even attempting to build it. MOTIFLIB

This variable will be set by bsd.port.mk to be the appropriate reference to the Motif library. Please patch the source to use this wherever the Motif library is referenced in the 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.

4.7.10. X11 fonts

If your port installs fonts for the X Window system, put them in X11BASE/lib/X11/fonts/local. This directory is new to XFree86 release 3.3.3. If it does not exist, please create it, and print out a message urging the user to update their XFree86 to 3.3.3 or newer, or at least add this directory to the font path in /etc/XF86Config.

4.7.11. Info files

The new version of texinfo (included in 2.2.2-RELEASE and onwards) contains a utility called install-info to add and delete entries to the dir file. If your port installs any info documents, please follow this instructions so your port/package will correctly update the user's PREFIX/info/dir file. (Sorry for the length of this section, but is it imperative to weave all the info files together. If done correctly, it will produce a beautiful listing, so please bear with me!

First, this is what you (as a porter) need to know

    % install-info --help
    install-info [OPTION]... [INFO-FILE [DIR-FILE]]
      Install INFO-FILE in the Info directory file DIR-FILE.
    --delete          Delete existing entries in INFO-FILE;
                        don't insert any new entries.
    --entry=TEXT      Insert TEXT as an Info directory entry.
    --section=SEC     Put this file's entries in section SEC of the directory. :

Note: This program will not actually install info files; it merely inserts or deletes entries in the dir file.

Here's a seven-step procedure to convert ports to use install-info. I will use editors/emacs as an example.

  1. Look at the texinfo sources and make a patch to insert @dircategory and @direntry statements to files that do not have them. This is part of my patch:

        --- ./man/vip.texi.org  Fri Jun 16 15:31:11 1995
        +++ ./man/vip.texi      Tue May 20 01:28:33 1997
        @@ -2,6 +2,10 @@
         @setfilename ../info/vip
         @settitle VIP
        +@dircategory The Emacs editor and associated tools
        +* VIP: (vip).          A VI-emulation for Emacs.
        +@end direntry

    The format should be self-explanatory. Many authors leave a dir file in the source tree that contains all the entries you need, so look around before you try to write your own. Also, make sure you look into related ports and make the section names and entry indentations consistent (we recommend that all entry text start at the 4th tab stop).

    Note: Note that you can put only one info entry per file because of a bug in install-info --delete that deletes only the first entry if you specify multiple entries in the section.

    You can give the dir entries to install-info as arguments (--section and --entry) instead of patching the texinfo sources. I do not think this is a good idea for ports because you need to duplicate the same information in three places (Makefile and @exec/@unexec of PLIST; see below). However, if you have a Japanese (or other multibyte encoding) info files, you will have to use the extra arguments to install-info because makeinfo cannot handle those texinfo sources. (See Makefile and PLIST of japanese/skk for examples on how to do this).

  2. Go back to the port directory and do a make clean; make and verify that the info files are regenerated from the texinfo sources. Since the texinfo sources are newer than the info files, they should be rebuilt when you type make; but many Makefiles do not include correct dependencies for info files. In emacs' case, I had to patch the main Makefile.in so it will descend into the man subdirectory to rebuild the info pages.

        --- ./Makefile.in.org   Mon Aug 19 21:12:19 1996
        +++ ./Makefile.in       Tue Apr 15 00:15:28 1997
        @@ -184,7 +184,7 @@
         # Subdirectories to make recursively.  `lisp' is not included
         # because the compiled lisp files are part of the distribution
         # and you cannot remake them without installing Emacs first.
        -SUBDIR = lib-src src
        +SUBDIR = lib-src src man
         # The makefiles of the directories in $SUBDIR.
         SUBDIR_MAKEFILES = lib-src/Makefile man/Makefile src/Makefile oldXMenu/Makefile lwlib/Makefile
        --- ./man/Makefile.in.org       Thu Jun 27 15:27:19 1996
        +++ ./man/Makefile.in   Tue Apr 15 00:29:52 1997
        @@ -66,6 +66,7 @@
         ${srcdir}/gnu1.texi \
        +all: info
         info: $(INFO_TARGETS)
         dvi: $(DVI_TARGETS)

    The second hunk was necessary because the default target in the man subdir is called info, while the main Makefile wants to call all. I also deleted the installation of the info info file because we already have one with the same name in /usr/share/info (that patch is not shown here).

  3. If there is a place in the Makefile that is installing the dir file, delete it. Your port may not be doing it. Also, remove any commands that are otherwise mucking around with the dir file.

        --- ./Makefile.in.org   Mon Aug 19 21:12:19 1996
        +++ ./Makefile.in       Mon Apr 14 23:38:07 1997
        @@ -368,14 +368,8 @@
                if [ `(cd ${srcdir}/info && /bin/pwd)` != `(cd ${infodir} && /bin/pwd)` ]; \
                then \
                  (cd ${infodir};  \
        -          if [ -f dir ]; then \
        -            if [ ! -f dir.old ]; then mv -f dir dir.old; \
        -            else mv -f dir dir.bak; fi; \
        -          fi; \
                   cd ${srcdir}/info ; \
        -          (cd $${thisdir}; ${INSTALL_DATA} ${srcdir}/info/dir ${infodir}/dir); \
        -          (cd $${thisdir}; chmod a+r ${infodir}/dir); \
                   for f in ccmode* cl* dired-x* ediff* emacs* forms* gnus* info* message* mh-e* sc* vip*; do \
                     (cd $${thisdir}; \
                      ${INSTALL_DATA} ${srcdir}/info/$$f ${infodir}/$$f; \
                      chmod a+r ${infodir}/$$f); \
  4. (This step is only necessary if you are modifying an existing port.) Take a look at pkg/PLIST and delete anything that is trying to patch up info/dir. They may be in pkg/INSTALL or some other file, so search extensively.

        Index: pkg/PLIST
        RCS file: /usr/cvs/ports/editors/emacs/pkg/PLIST,v
        retrieving revision 1.15
        diff -u -r1.15 PLIST
        --- PLIST       1997/03/04 08:04:00     1.15
        +++ PLIST       1997/04/15 06:32:12
        @@ -15,9 +15,6 @@
        -@unexec cp %D/info/dir %D/info/dir.bak
        -@unexec cp %D/info/dir.bak %D/info/dir
  5. Add a post-install target to the Makefile to call install-info with the installed info files. (It is no longer necessary to create the dir file yourself; install-info automatically creates this file if it does not exist.)

        Index: Makefile
        RCS file: /usr/cvs/ports/editors/emacs/Makefile,v
        retrieving revision 1.26
        diff -u -r1.26 Makefile
        --- Makefile    1996/11/19 13:14:40     1.26
        +++ Makefile    1997/05/20 10:25:09     1.28
        @@ -20,5 +20,8 @@
         .for file in emacs-19.34 emacsclient etags ctags b2m
                strip ${PREFIX}/bin/${file}
        +.for info in emacs vip viper forms gnus mh-e cl sc dired-x ediff ccmode
        +       install-info ${PREFIX}/info/${info} ${PREFIX}/info/dir
         .include <bsd.port.mk>
  6. Edit PLIST and add equivalent @exec statements and also @unexec for pkg_delete.

        Index: pkg/PLIST
        RCS file: /usr/cvs/ports/editors/emacs/pkg/PLIST,v
        retrieving revision 1.15
        diff -u -r1.15 PLIST
        --- PLIST       1997/03/04 08:04:00     1.15
        +++ PLIST       1997/05/20 10:25:12     1.17
        @@ -16,7 +14,14 @@
        +@unexec install-info --delete %D/info/emacs %D/info/dir
        +@unexec install-info --delete %D/info/ccmode %D/info/dir
        @@ -87,6 +94,18 @@
        +@exec install-info %D/info/emacs %D/info/dir
        +@exec install-info %D/info/ccmode %D/info/dir

    Note: The @unexec install-info --delete commands have to be listed before the info files themselves so they can read the files. Also, the @exec install-info commands have to be after the info files and the @exec command that creates the the dir file.

  7. Test and admire your work. :). Check the dir file before and after each step.

4.7.12. The pkg/ subdirectory

There are some tricks we have not mentioned yet about the pkg/ subdirectory that come in handy sometimes. 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 or to display licensing information.

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. INSTALL

If your port needs to execute commands when the binary package is installed with pkg_add 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. The first time will as INSTALL ${PKGNAME} PRE-INSTALL and the second time as 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. 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/deinstallation time to determine whether or not installation/deinstallation should proceed. Changing PLIST based on make variables

Some ports, particularly the p5- ports, need to change their 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 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., 2.2.7). %%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).

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 PLIST.

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

    OCTAVE_VERSION= 2.0.13
in the Makefile and use %%OCTAVE_VERSION%% wherever the version shows up in PLIST. That way, when you upgrade the port, you will not have to change dozens (or in some cases, hundreds) of lines in the PLIST.

This substitution (as well as addition of any man pages) will be done between the do-install and post-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 do-install. Also, if your port needs to edit the resulting file, do so in post-install to a file named TMPPLIST. Changing the names of files in the pkg subdirectory

All the filenames in the pkg subdirectory 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 subdirectory 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 in to the pkg subdirectory.

Here is a list of variable names and their default values.

Variable Default value

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.

4.7.13. Licensing Problems

Some software packages have restrictive licenses or can be in violation to the law (PKP's patent on public key crypto, ITAR (export of crypto software) to name just two of them). What we can do with them varies a lot, depending on the exact wordings of the respective licenses.

Note: 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 of violating them by redistributing the source or compiled binaries either via ftp or CD-ROM. If in doubt, please contact the FreeBSD ports mailing list .

There are two variables you can set in the Makefile to handle the situations that arise frequently:

  1. If the port has a ``do not sell for profit'' type of license, set the variable NO_CDROM to a string describing the reason why. We will make sure such ports will not go into the CD-ROM come release time. The distfile and package will still be available via ftp.

  2. If the resulting package needs to be built uniquely for each site, or the resulting binary package cannot be distributed due to licensing; set the variable NO_PACKAGE to a string describing the reason why. We will make sure such packages will not go on the ftp site, nor into the CD-ROM come release time. The distfile will still be included on both however.

  3. If the port has legal restrictions on who can use it (e.g., crypto stuff) or has a ``no commercial use'' license, set the variable RESTRICTED to be the string describing the reason why. For such ports, the distfiles/packages will not be available even from our ftp sites.

Note: The GNU General Public License (GPL), both version 1 and 2, should not be a problem for ports.

Note: If you are a committer, make sure you update the ports/LEGAL file too.

4.7.14. Upgrading

When you notice that a port is out of date compared to the latest version from the original authors, first make sure you have the latest port. You can find them in the ports/ports-current directory of the ftp mirror sites. You may also use CVSup to keep your whole ports collection up-to-date, as described in Section

The next step is to send a mail to the maintainer, if one is listed in the port's Makefile. 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).

If the maintainer asks you to do the upgrade or there is not any such person to begin with, please make the upgrade and send the recursive diff (either unified or context diff is fine, but port committers appear to prefer unified diff more) of the new and old ports directories to us (e.g., if your modified port directory is called superedit and the original as in our tree is superedit.bak, then send us the result of diff -ruN superedit.bak superedit). Please examine the output to make sure all the changes make sense. The best way to send us the diff is by including it to send-pr(1) (category ports). Please mention any added or deleted files in the message, as they have to be explicitly specified to CVS when doing a commit. If the diff is more than about 20KB, please compress and uuencode it; otherwise, just include it in as is in the PR.

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

4.7.15. Do's and Dont's

Here is a list of common do's and dont's 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. Strip Binaries

Do strip binaries. If the original source already strips the binaries, fine; otherwise you should add a post-install rule to to it yourself. Here is an example;

            strip ${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. INSTALL_* macros

Do use the macros provided in bsd.port.mk to ensure correct modes and ownership of files in your own *-install targets. They are:

  • 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. WRKDIR

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

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 ${WKRDIRPREFIX}${.CURDIR} in the front. 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 FreeBSD 1.x 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:

    #ifdef HAVE_SYS_PARAM_H
    #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 Berkeleyisms, not FreeBSD changes.

  • In FreeBSD 2.x, __FreeBSD__ is defined to be 2. In earlier versions, it is 1. Later versions will 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 3.x 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
    Release __FreeBSD_version
    2.0-RELEASE 119411
    2.1-CURRENTs 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
    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 spacinfo pointer 400009

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.

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. Writing something after bsd.port.mk

Do not write anything after the .include <bsd.port.mk> line. it usually can be avoided by including bsd.port.pre.mk somewhere in the middle of your Makefile and bsd.port.post.mk at the end.

Note: You need to include either the pre.mk/post.mk pair or bsd.port.mk only; do not mix these two.

bsd.port.pre.mk only defines a few variables, which can be used in tests in the Makefile, bsd.port.post.mk defines the rest.

Here are some important variables defined in bsd.port.pre.mk (this is not the complete list, please read bsd.port.mk 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, same as __FreeBSD_version.
PORTOBJFORMAT The object format of the system (aout or elf
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 bsd.port.pre.mk.

Here are some examples of things you can write after bsd.port.pre.mk;

    # 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 liblinpack.so.1.0 ${PREFIX}/lib/liblinpack.so
    .endif 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 PKGNAME minus the version part. 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 to the variable NOPORTDOCS so that users can disable it in /etc/make.conf, like this:

    .if !defined(NOPORTDOCS)
            ${INSTALL_MAN} ${WRKSRC}/docs/xvdocs.ps ${PREFIX}/share/doc/xv

Do not forget to add them to pkg/PLIST too! (Do not worry about NOPORTDOCS here; there is currently no way for the packages to read variables from /etc/make.conf.)

Also you can use the pkg/MESSAGE file to display messages upon installation. See the using pkg/MESSAGE section for details.

Note: MESSAGE does not need to be added to pkg/PLIST). DIST_SUBDIR

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 (PKGNAME without the version part 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 ftp.FreeBSD.org. (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. Package information

Do include package information, i.e. COMMENT, DESCR, and PLIST, in pkg.

Note: Note that these files are not used only for packaging anymore, and are mandatory now, even if NO_PACKAGE is set. RCS strings

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. Recursive diff

Using the recurse (-r) option to diff 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 configure.in and run autoconf to regenerate configure, do not take the diffs of configure (it often grows to a few thousand lines!); define USE_AUTOCONF=yes and take the diffs of configure.in.

Also, if you had to delete a file, then you can do it in the post-extract target rather than as part of the patch. Once you are happy with the resulting diff, please split it up into one source file per patch file. PREFIX

Do try to make your port install relative to PREFIX. (The value of this variable will be set to LOCALBASE (default /usr/local), unless USE_X_PREFIX or USE_IMAKE is set, in which case it will be X11BASE (default /usr/X11R6).)

Not hard-coding /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 scripts/Makefiles in the port to read PREFIX, as this variable is automatically passed down to every stage of the build and install processes.

Do not set USE_X_PREFIX unless your port truly require it (i.e., it links against X libs or 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:

if this is an X port, 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. 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 the a subdirectory of lib, which does not bode 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 man 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. Cleaning up empty directories

Do make your ports clean up after themselves when they are deinstalled. 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 also share the same subdirectory. You can call rmdir from @unexec to remove only empty directories without warning.

    @unexec rmdir %D/share/doc/gimp 2>/dev/null || true

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

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.

If your port must use the same user/group ID number when it is installed a binary package as when it was compiled, then you must choose a free UID from 50 to 99 and register it below. Look at japanese/Wnn for an example.

Make sure you do not use a UID already used by the system or other ports. This is the current list of UIDs between 50 and 99.

    majordom:*:54:54:Majordomo Pseudo User:/usr/local/majordomo:/nonexistent
    cyrus:*:60:60:the cyrus mail server:/nonexistent:/nonexistent
    gnats:*:61:1:GNATS database owner:/usr/local/share/gnats/gnats-db:/bin/sh
    uucp:*:66:66:UUCP pseudo-user:/var/spool/uucppublic:/usr/libexec/uucp/uucico
    xten:*:67:67:X-10 daemon:/usr/local/xten:/nonexistent
    pop:*:68:6:Post Office Owner (popper):/nonexistent:/nonexistent
    ifmail:*:70:66:Ifmail user:/nonexistent:/nonexistent
    pgsql:*:70:70:PostgreSQL pseudo-user:/usr/local/pgsql:/bin/sh
    ircd:*:72:72:IRCd hybrid:/nonexistent:/nonexistent
    alias:*:81:81:QMail user:/var/qmail/alias:/nonexistent
    qmaill:*:83:81:QMail user:/var/qmail:/nonexistent
    qmaild:*:82:81:QMail user:/var/qmail:/nonexistent
    qmailq:*:85:82:QMail user:/var/qmail:/nonexistent
    qmails:*:87:82:QMail user:/var/qmail:/nonexistent
    qmailp:*:84:81:QMail user:/var/qmail:/nonexistent
    qmailr:*:86:82:QMail user:/var/qmail:/nonexistent
    msql:*:87:87:mSQL-2 pseudo-user:/var/db/msqldb:/bin/sh
    mysql:*:88:88:MySQL Daemon:/var/db/mysql:/sbin/nologin

Please include a notice when you submit a port (or an upgrade) that reserves a new UID or GID in this range. This allows us to keep the list of reserved IDs up to date. 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}. Respect CFLAGS

The port should respect the CFLAGS variable. If it does not, please add NO_PACKAGE=ignores cflags to the Makefile. 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 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) and print out a message pointing out that the user has to copy and edit the file before the software can be made to work. Portlint

Do check your work with portlint before you submit or commit it. 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. Miscellanea

The files pkg/DESCR, pkg/COMMENT, 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! If you are stuck...

Do look at existing examples and the bsd.port.mk file before asking us questions! ;)

Do ask us questions if you have any trouble! Do not just beat your head against a wall! :)

4.7.16. 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 header should updated when upgrading a port.]
    # Version required:    pl18 [things like "1.5alpha" are fine here too]
    [this is the date when the first version of this Makefile was created. 
    Never change this when doing an update of 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 <asami@FreeBSD.org>
    # $FreeBSD$
    [ ^^^^^^^^^ This will be automatically replaced with RCS ID string by CVS 
    when it is committed to our repository.]
    [section to describe the port itself and the master site - DISTNAME
     is always first, followed by PKGNAME (if necessary), CATEGORIES,
     and then MASTER_SITES, which can be followed by MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR.
     After those, one of EXTRACT_SUFX or DISTFILES can be specified too.]
    DISTNAME=      xdvi
    PKGNAME=       xdvi-pl18
    CATEGORIES=    print
    [do not forget the trailing slash ("/")! 
     if you are not using MASTER_SITE_* macros]
    MASTER_SITE_SUBDIR= applications
    [set this if the source is not in the standard ".tar.gz" form]
    EXTRACT_SUFX=  .tar.Z
    [section for distributed patches -- can be empty]
    PATCH_SITES=   ftp://ftp.sra.co.jp/pub/X11/japanese/
    PATCHFILES=    xdvi-18.patch1.gz xdvi-18.patch2.gz
    [maintainer; *mandatory*!  This is the person (preferably with commit
     privileges) who a user can contact for questions and bug reports - this
     person should be the porter or someone who can forward questions to the
     original porter reasonably promptly.  If you really do not want to have
     your address here, set it to "ports@FreeBSD.org".]
    MAINTAINER=    asami@FreeBSD.org
    [dependencies -- can be empty]
    RUN_DEPENDS=   gs:${PORTSDIR}/print/ghostscript
    LIB_DEPENDS=   Xpm.5:${PORTSDIR}/graphics/xpm
    [this section is for other standard bsd.port.mk 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]
    PATCH_DIST_STRIP=      -p1
    [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 <bsd.port.mk>

4.7.17. Automated package list creation

First, make sure your port is almost complete, with only PLIST missing. Create an empty PLIST.

    # touch PLIST

Next, create a new set of directories which your port can be installed, and install any dependencies.

    # mtree -U -f /etc/mtree/BSD.local.dist -d -e -p /var/tmp/port-name
    # make depends PREFIX=/var/tmp/port-name

Store the directory structure in a new file.

    # (cd /var/tmp/port-name && find * \! -type d) > OLD-DIRS

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

    # make install PREFIX=/var/tmp
    # (cd /var/tmp/port-name && find * \! -type d) > pkg/PLIST

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

    # (cd /var/tmp/port-name && find * -type d) | comm -13 OLD-DIRS - | sed -e 's#^#@dirrm#' >> pkg/PLIST

Finally, you need to tidy up the packing list by hand. I lied when I said this was 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. Any libraries installed by the port should be listed as specified in the ldconfig section.

4.7.18. Package Names

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 lots and lots of packages and users are going to turn away if they hurt their eyes!

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

If your DISTNAME does not look like that, set PKGNAME to something in 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.

  2. The name part should be all lowercases, except for a really large package (with lots of programs in it). Things like XFree86 (yes there really is a port of it, check it out) and ImageMagick fall into this category. Otherwise, convert the name (or at least the first letter) to lowercase. If the capital letters are important to the name (for example, with one-letter names like R or V) you may use capital letters at your discretion. 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.

  4. The version string should be a period-separated list of integers and single lowercase alphabetics. 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.

Here are some (real) examples on how to convert a DISTNAME into a suitable PKGNAME:

Distribution Name Package Name Reason
mule-2.2.2. mule-2.2.2 No changes required
XFree86-3.1.2 XFree86-3.1.2 No changes required
EmiClock-1.0.2 emiclock-1.0.2 No uppercase names for single programs
gmod1.4 gmod-1.4 Need a hyphen before version numbers
xmris.4.0.2 xmris-4.0.2 Need a hyphen before version numbers
rdist-1.3alpha rdist-1.3a No strings like alpha allowed
es-0.9-beta1 es-0.9b1 No strings like beta allowed
v3.3beta021.src tiff-3.3 What the heck was that anyway?
tvtwm tvtwm-pl11 Version string always required
piewm piewm-1.0 Version string always required
xvgr-2.10pl1 xvgr-2.10.1 pl allowed only when no major/minor version numbers
gawk-2.15.6 ja-gawk-2.15.6 Japanese language version
psutils-1.13 psutils-letter-1.13 Papersize hardcoded at package build time
pkfonts pkfonts300-1.0 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 (yy.mm.dd) as the version.

4.7.19. Categories

As you already know, ports are classified in several categories. But for this to work, it is important that porters and users understand what each category and how we decide what to put in each category. Current list of categories

First, this 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.

Note: For non-virtual categories, you will find a one-line description in the pkg/COMMENT file in that subdirectory (e.g., archivers/pkg/COMMENT).

Category Description
afterstep* Ports to support AfterStep window manager
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 to anywhere else, they should not be in this category.
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.
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 GNU Object Model Environment (GNOME) Project.
graphics Graphics utilities.
irc Internet Chat Relay utilities.
japanese Japanese language support.
java Java language support.
kde* Ports from the K Desktop Environment (KDE) Project.
korean Korean language support.
lang Programming languages.
mail Mail software.
math Numerical computation software and other utilities for mathematics.
mbone MBone applications.
misc Miscellaneous utilities---basically things that does not belong to anywhere else. This is the only category that 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!
net Miscellaneous networking software.
news USENET news software.
offix* Ports from the OffiX suite.
palm Software support for the 3Com Palm(tm) series.
perl5* Ports that require perl version 5 to run.
plan9* Various programs from Plan9.
print Printing software. Desktop publishing tools (previewers, etc.) belong here too.
python* Software written in python.
russian Russian language support.
security Security utilities.
shells Command line shells.
sysutils System utilities.
tcl75* Ports that use Tcl version 7.5 to run.
tcl76* Ports that use Tcl version 7.6 to run.
tcl80* Ports that use Tcl version 8.0 to run.
tcl81* Ports that use Tcl version 8.1 to run.
textproc Text processing utilities. It does not include desktop publishing tools, which go to print/.
tk41* Ports that use Tk version 4.1 to run.
tk42* Ports that use Tk version 4.2 to run.
tk80* Ports that use Tk version 8.0 to run.
tk81* Ports that use Tk version 8.1 to run.
tkstep80* Ports that use TkSTEP version 8.0 to run.
vietnamese Vietnamese language support.
windowmaker* Ports to support the WindowMaker window manager
www Software related to the World Wide Web. HTML language support belong here too.
x11 The X window system and friends. This category is only for software that directly support the window system. Do not put regular X applications here. If your port is an X application, define USE_XLIB (implied by USE_IMAKE) and put it in appropriate categories. Also, many of them go into other x11-* categories (see below).
x11-clocks X11 clocks.
x11-fm X11 file managers.
x11-fonts X11 fonts and font utilities.
x11-servers X11 servers.
x11-toolkits X11 toolkits.
x11-wm X11 window managers. 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.

  • 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 win over less-specific ones. For instance, an HTML editor should be listed as www editors, not the other way around. Also, you do not need to list net when the port belongs to either of irc, mail, mbone, news, security, or www.

  • 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.

  • 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 submission so we can discuss it before import it. (If you are a committer, send a note FreeBSD ports mailing list so we can discuss it first---too often new ports are imported to a wrong category only to be moved right away.)

4.7.20. Changes to this document and the ports system

If you maintain a lot of ports, you should consider following the FreeBSD ports mailing list . Important changes to the way ports work will be announced there. You can always find more detailed information on the latest changes by looking at the bsd.port.mk CVS log.

4.7.21. That is It, Folks!

Boy, this sure was a long tutorial, wasn't it? Thanks for following us to here, really. Now that you know how to do a port, have at it and convert everything in the world into ports! That is the easiest way to start contributing to the FreeBSD Project! :)