On Tuesday 16 December 2003 05:52 pm, richard michael bagstad wrote:
> i find this frustrating.  on your website (page
> http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/ports-
> using.html)  the following tells me that 'from cd' and 'from
> internet' are exactly the same...  it does not tell me the directory
> of (ie.) lsof.  it simply tells me to 'make install'.  please help a
> poor green newbie.

Hello from one FreeBSD newbie to another --

In FreeBSD, the "ports" are basically information and instructions for 
various system utility programs (like the program make), in order to 
automate, to some extent, the installation of programs that the FreeBSD 
user would like to install.

All of the ports reside in the directory:


which is to say that inside the /usr directory, which is one of the "top 
level" directories (immediately under the "root" directory), there is a 
directory called "ports", and inside that directory are quite a few 
directories which are categories of related programs, such as "audio", 
"editors", "finance", "databases" etc.

In each of those subdirectories there are directories for many different 
programs, each in its own subdirectory, like:


nedit is a text editor whose information and instructions reside in the 
directory "nedit" that is inside the directory "editors" which is 
itself inside the "ports" directory in the directory "usr"

It is important to remember that the program itself is not inside its 
associated directory (nedit, the program or its source files, are not 
inside the /usr/ports/editors/nedit directory). Instead, the 
information and instructions contained within the nedit directory tell 
the system to look for and get the files it needs to "build" nedit.

The usual place these files are stored (after they are placed there by 
the user or a program) is in /usr/ports/distfiles. If the files are not 
already in /usr/ports/distfiles, then they will be fetched via the 
Internet (you must be connected to the Internet at the time, of course) 
and placed in the /usr/ports/distfiles directory.

If, on the other hand, you happen to have a CD that has those distfiles 
already on it, you can copy those files, yourself, from the CD into the 
directory /usr/ports/distfiles. Then when you enter one of the ports 
directories like:

cd /usr/ports/editors/nedit

and issue the following command:


the file(s) will be found in the /usr/ports/distfiles directory (because 
you placed them there yourself, by copying them from a CD), instead of 
the system having to get them from the Internet.

I hope this makes sense.

Best wishes,

Steve D
You grow up on the day you have your first real laugh at yourself.
-Ethel Barrymore

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