Installing a port without installing the ports

Installing a port without installing the ports

Let’s say you suddenly discover that you need to upgrade a port, but you
don’t have the port skeletons installed.  What are you
going to do?  This article talks about how we managed to do that.

If you want to
update a port collection, try reading Updating the ports collection.

The situation

Someone wanted to upgrade their version of bind8 but they didn’t have the port skeletons installed and time was important.  I’ve found
it takes up to an hour to install the port skeletons.  My first option was to upgrade
using cvsup, but he didn’t have that installed either.  So we went for another

I suggest you read

Getting the tarball

The first thing you need for any port is the tarball for that port.  
This tarball contains the basic things required to build a port.  Here is a short
example of what is needed:

[root@fred:/usr/ports/net/bind8] # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel 512 Dec 24 18:26 CVS
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 1047 Nov 15 14:03 Makefile
-rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 710 May 18 1999 README.html
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 512 Dec 24 18:26 files
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 512 Dec 24 18:26 patches
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 512 Dec 24 18:26 pkg

Here is what I did to give him the tarball:

cd /usr/ports/net/bind8
make clean
cd ..
tar cfz bind8.tar.gz bind8/
mv bind8.tar.gz /var/ftp/pub

I did the make clean so I wasn’t sending them the .obj files and the binaries.  
Then I used tar to create a taball and moved that to my ftp directory.  This allowed
the person to grab the tarball from my box.

What they did

They grabbed the tarball from my box by doing this:

$ fetch
Receiving bind8.tar.gz (3616 bytes): 100%
3616 bytes transfered in 0.7 seconds (5.00 Kbytes/s)

The better way to get the tarball

Here’s a better way to get the tarball if you can’t get it from someone
else.  And I’d recommand this method rather than the above unless you trust the
person in question.

$ ftp
Connected to
220 FTP server ready.
Name ( ftp
331 Guest login ok, send your email address as password.
230-Welcome to wcarchive - home FTP site for Walnut Creek CDROM.
230-There are currently 4915 users out of 5000 possible.
230 Guest login ok, access restrictions apply.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> cd /pub/FreeBSD/ports/ports/net
250 CWD command successful.
ftp> get bind8.tar
local: bind8.tar remote: bind8.tar
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for 'bind8.tar'.
226 Transfer complete.
14336 bytes received in 0.30 seconds (46.39 KB/s)
ftp> exit

A short hand version of this is:


Note that the above will not work on all FTP servers.  But it does work on

What about this tarball?

You could use this tarball anywhere, but I suggest you stick with the port
convention and put it under the /usr/ports tree.  In this example, the tarball would
go into /usr/ports/net/.

mkdir /usr/ports
mkdir /usr/ports/net
mv bind8.tar.gz /usr/ports/net
cd /usr/ports/net
tar xvf bind8.tar.gz

Originally, I had the options in the tar command as "xvfz".  
But that won’t work as Mark Ma pointed out.  Thanks.  The "z"
option is for compression.  But the above tarballs are not compressed.

Make the port

Now that you have the tarball and unzipped it. go into the directory and
make it.

cd /usr/ports/net/bind8

OH OH!  we forgot something

If you get this message when doing the make:

"/usr/share/mk/", line 2: Could not find /usr/ports/Mk/
make: fatal errors encountered -- cannot continue

Do this (if you are behind a firewall, you may need to do a "fetch -P"
instead of just "fetch"):

# cd /usr/ports
# fetch
fetch: pub/FreeBSD/ports/ports/Mk.tar: cannot get remote modification time
Receiving Mk.tar: 95 Kbytes
97280 bytes transfered in 16.5 seconds (5.76 Kbytes/s)
# tar xvf Mk.tar

Then try the make again

If you try the make again, and find you can’t fetch the files, it may be
because of your firewall.  See make – and how to use it behind a

But that should allow you to build that port you wanted so badly.

1 thought on “Installing a port without installing the ports”

  1. Sorry, I am tired of SPAM

    Always check the handbook before you proceed. Things can change by the time you read this. An easy way to see the latest version is to access it via the search interface at the web:
    Keywords you may want to try in your search: cvsup, supfile, and portcheckout come to mind.

    That being said, a safer procedure than the one described in your article is (IMHO) :

    a) pkg_add -r cvsup-16.1.e
    pkg_add -r portcheckout-2.0

    b) create this file
    — begin of file /usr/local/etc/cvsup/supfile.minimal
    *default tag=.
    *default prefix=/usr
    *default base=/usr/local/etc/cvsup
    *default release=cvs delete use-rel-suffix compress
    — end of /usr/local/etc/cvsup/supfile.minimal
    Note: YOURCOUNTRYCODE to be replaced by that if a cvsup mirror
    is in your country. (For a list of them search the handbook.)

    c) cvsup -g -L 2 /usr/local/etc/cvsup/supfile.minimal

    d) man portcheckout
    Will explain you what to do next.

    Essentially portcheckout will fetch the ports tree skeleton
    of your favorite port and all its dependencies. No less no more.

    Hope this helps.

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