> What I want to know is the following: Do I get the option of fetching
> sources and running through a guided compilation; or do I get binaries
> (like Debian) only?
I'd say that installing from the source is part of the phylosophy of
FreeBSD. There are pre-compiled packages, but as I see them, they are
only designed to be bootstrap, not to be used on a long term basis.
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