Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Man Pages

Man Page or Keyword Search:
Man Architecture
Apropos Keyword Search (all sections) Output format
home | help
PORTMASTER(8)           FreeBSD System Manager's Manual          PORTMASTER(8)

     portmaster - manage your ports without external databases or languages

     Common Flags: [--force-config -CGHKgntvw -[B|b] -[f|i] -[D|d]]
     [[[--packages|-P]|[--packages-only|-PP]] | [--packages-build]]
     [--packages-if-newer] [--delete-build-only] [--always-fetch]
     [--local-packagedir=<path>] [--packages-local] [--delete-packages]
     [--no-confirm] [--no-term-title] [--no-index-fetch]
     [--index|--index-first|--index-only] [-m arguments for make] [-x glob
     pattern to exclude from building]
     portmaster [Common Flags] full name of port directory in /var/db/pkg
     portmaster [Common Flags] full path to /usr/ports/foo/bar
     portmaster [Common Flags] glob pattern of directories from /var/db/pkg

                PLEASE NOTE: Glob patterns now update every port that matches.
                This is a change from pre-version-2.3 behavior.

     portmaster [Common Flags]
                Multiple full names or paths from /usr/ports or /var/db/pkg,
                and/or multiple globs from /var/db/pkg
     portmaster [Common Flags]
                 . (Use in /usr/ports/foo/bar to build that port)
     portmaster [Common Flags] -a
     portmaster --show-work [-Gv] [-m args] <single port, as above>
     portmaster [Common Flags]
                -o _new port dir in /usr/ports_ _installed port_
     portmaster [Common Flags] [-R] -r name/glob of port in /var/db/pkg
     portmaster -[l|L]
     portmaster --list-origins
     portmaster [--force-config|-G] [-aftv] -F
     portmaster [-n|y] [-b] [-D|d]
                -e name/glob of a single port directory in /var/db/pkg
     portmaster [-n|y] [-b] [-D|d] -s
     portmaster [-n|y] [-t] --clean-distfiles
     portmaster [-n|y] [--index|-index-only] --clean-packages
     portmaster [-n|y] [-v] --check-depends
     portmaster [-n|y] [-v] --check-port-dbdir
     portmaster -h|--help
     portmaster --version

                The "glob" patterns mentioned above are not regular
                expressions.  For example: "portmaster perl" would match every
                port dirctory name in /var/db/pkg that fits the pattern

     This manual contains a lot of valuable information about portmaster, and
     you should read the entire manual to give you a better idea about how it
     works and what choices are available to you.  However in the interests of
     getting you started quickly please see the EXAMPLES section at the end of
     the manual.

     The portmaster utility is a tool for updating your ports.  It does not
     use an external database to track what you have installed.  Rather it
     uses the existing ports infrastructure, including what is located in
     /var/db/pkg.  The focus of this tool is to keep the dependency tracking
     information for your ports up to date.  This allows you to safely update
     a specific port without having to update all of the ports "above" it.  In
     the rare case where you do need to recompile ports which depend on a port
     you are updating, the -r option exists to accomplish this.

     By default portmaster updates the port you specify on the command line.
     This will occur whether there is a new version for it or not.  It will
     first recurse through the port and all of its dependencies (if any) to
     handle any port OPTIONS via the 'make config' interface.  You will be
     presented with an OPTIONS dialog if you have never built the port before,
     or if the OPTIONS have changed.  You can force dialogs for all ports by
     using the --force-config option.

     While recursing through dependencies, if you are not using any of the
     --packages* options, a 'make checksum' process will be launched in the
     background to either verify that the correct distfiles are available or
     start downloading the new ones.  If you stop portmaster with ^C, an
     attempt will be made to kill off the child processes started for this

     While checking dependencies if a port has CONFLICTS set they will be
     compared to your installed ports and if you already have an alternate
     version of the dependency that is required by the port you are building
     it will be used in place of the default dependency.

     When the config and dependency checking phase is over the user will be
     presented with a list of ports that will be installed and/or upgraded,
     and asked to approve before proceeding.  This behavior can be supressed
     with the --no-confirm option.

     If the dependency check does not find a port that needs updating that
     step will be skipped prior to building the port(s) specified on the
     command line.  In addition to this optimization, information about up-to-
     date dependencies, choices made on which ports to build for interactive
     mode, and ports already visited for 'make config' are all cached to
     enhance performance and prevent duplicated efforts.

     While recursing through the dependencies, if a port is marked
     IS_INTERACTIVE this will be flagged.  In the absence of this
     notification, under normal circumstances the only user interaction
     required after the port starts building is to answer questions about the
     deletion of stale distfiles.  This can be eliminated with the -d or -D

     There are a number of --packages* options available to save the time that
     would normally be spent building the port(s).  Users interested in a
     reasonable balance between speed of installation and maximum performance
     should consider the --packages-build option, perhaps combined with the
     --delete-build-only option.

     If there is no -B option specified when updating an existing port, a
     backup package will be created before pkg_delete(1) is called.  If you
     are using the -b option, these packages can be found in a directory
     called "portmaster-backup" in the directory specified by the PACKAGES
     environment variable, usually /usr/ports/packages.  If there is no -b
     option specified, the backup package will be deleted once the new version
     of the port is successfully installed.  If the installation fails for
     whatever reason, a helpful message will be printed, along with
     instructions on where to find the backup package.

     After the port is built, if the -w option is being used, all shared
     libraries installed by the old port (if any) will be saved to
     /usr/local/lib/compat/pkg.  After installation if there are any new files
     with the same names as those in /usr/local/lib/compat/pkg the old files
     will be deleted, and ldconfig(8) will be run via /etc/rc.d/ldconfig.

     After the new port is built, but before it is installed the runtime
     dependencies will be checked to make sure they are up to date.  If the -g
     option is used a package will be created for the new (or newly installed)

     When installing a port or using the --check-depends option, if there are
     other ports that depend on this port the dependent ports +CONTENTS
     file(s), and the +REQUIRED_BY file for the new port will be updated.

     At the conclusion of a successful installation, any pkg-message files
     that were installed, and a summary of the work performed will be
     displayed.  If the --delete-build-only option is in use, those packages
     that were installed during the current run of portmaster AND were only
     ever listed as build dependencies during this run will be deleted.

     If something goes wrong during the process (e.g., a port build fails, a
     port is marked BROKEN) portmaster will report any work done successfully
     as described above, then exit.

     The question is often asked, ``Why is it not possible to proceed with the
     ports that do not have errors?'' The answer is that (unfortunately)
     portmaster is not omniscient, and cannot guess what resolution the user
     would like to have for this problem.  Manual intervention is therefore

     The options are as follows:

     Common Flags:

         run 'make config' for all ports (overrides -G)

     -C  prevents 'make clean' from being run before building

     -G  prevents 'make config'

     -H  hide details of the port build and install in a log file

     -K  prevents 'make clean' from being run after building

     -B  prevents creation of the backup package for the installed port

     -b  create and keep a backup package of an installed port

     -g  create a package of the new port

     -n  run through all steps, but do not make or install any ports

     -t  recurse dependencies thoroughly, using all-depends-list.  RECOMMENDED
         FOR USE ONLY WHEN NEEDED, NOT ROUTINELY. When applied to the
         --clean-distfiles option it allows a distfile to be valid if it
         matches any up to date port, not just the ones that are installed.

     -v  verbose output

     -w  save old shared libraries before deinstall

     [-R] -f
         always rebuild ports (overrides -i)

     -i  interactive update mode -- ask whether to rebuild ports

     -D  no cleaning of distfiles

     -d  always clean distfiles

     -m arguments for make
         any arguments to supply to make(1)

     -x  avoid building or updating ports that match this pattern.  Can be
         specified more than once.  If a port is not already installed the
         exclude pattern will be run against the directory name from

         do not ask the user to confirm the list of ports to be installed
         and/or updated before proceeding

         do not update the xterm title bar

         skip fetching the INDEX file

         use INDEX-[7-9] exclusively to check if a port is up to date

         use the INDEX for status, but double-check with the port

         do not try to use /usr/ports.  For updating ports when no /usr/ports
         directory is present the -PP|--packages-only option is required.  See
         the ENVIRONMENT section below for additional requirements.

         delete ports that are build-only dependencies after a successful run,
         only if installed this run

         use packages, but build port if not available

         fail if no package is available.  The -PP option must stand alone on
         the command line.  In other words, you cannot do -PPav (for example).

         use packages for all build dependencies

         use package if newer than installed even if the package is not the
         latest according to the ports tree

         fetch package even if it already exists locally

         where local packages can be found, will fall back to fetching if no
         local version exists.  This option should point to the full path of a
         directory structure created in the same way that 'make package' (or
         the portmaster -g option) creates it.  I.e., the package files are
         contained in _path_/All, there are LATEST_LINK symlinks in the
         _path_/Latest directory, and symlinks to the packages in _path_/All
         in the category subdirectories, such as _path_/devel,
         _path_/ports-mgmt, etc.

         use packages from --local-packagedir only

         after installing from a package, delete it


     -a  check all ports, update as necessary

         show what dependent ports are, and are not installed (implies -t).

     -o _new port dir in /usr/ports_ _installed port_
         replace the installed port with a port from a different origin

     [-R] -r name/glob of port directory in /var/db/pkg
         rebuild the specified port, and all ports that depend on it

     -R  used with the -r or -f options to skip ports updated on a previous
         run.  When used with -r it will also prevent the rebuild of the
         parent port if it, and all of its dependencies are up to date.

     -l  list all installed ports by category

     -L  list all installed ports by category, and search for updates

         list directories from /usr/ports for root and leaf ports.  This list
         is suitable for feeding to portmaster either on another machine or
         for reinstalling all ports.  See EXAMPLES below.

     [--force-config|-G] [-aftv] -F
         fetch distfiles only

     -n  answer no to all user prompts for the features below

     -y  answer yes to all user prompts for the features below

     [-n|y] [-b] [-D|d] -e name/glob of a single port directory in /var/db/pkg
         expunge a port using pkg_delete(1), and optionally remove all
         distfiles.  Calls -s after it is done expunging in case removing the
         port causes a dependency to no longer be necessary.

     [-n|y] [-b] [-D|d] -s
         clean out stale ports that used to be depended on

     [-t] [-n] --clean-distfiles
         recurse through the installed ports to get a list of distinfo files,
         then recurse through all files in /usr/ports/distfiles to make sure
         that they are still associated with an installed port.  If not, offer
         to delete the stale file.  With -t distfile is valid from any port,
         not just those installed.

         -y --clean-distfiles does the same as above, but deletes all files
         without prompting.

     [--index|--index-only] [-n] --clean-packages
         offer to delete stale packages.  The --index-only option is required
         if no ports tree is available.

         -y --clean-packages does the same as above, but deletes all out of
         date files without prompting.

     [-n|y] [-v] --check-depends
         cross-check and update dependency information for all ports

     [-n|y] [-v] --check-port-dbdir
         check for stale entries in /var/db/ports

         display help message

         display the version number

     The directory pointed to by the PACKAGES variable (by default
     /usr/ports/packages) will be used to store new and backup packages.  When
     using 'make package' for the -g option, the ports infrastructure will
     store packages in ${PACKAGES}/All, aka PKGREPOSITORY.  When using the -b
     option, portmaster stores its backup packages in
     ${PACKAGES}/portmaster-backup so that you can create both a backup
     package and a package of the newly installed port even if they have the
     same version.

     When using the --packages* options the package files will be downloaded
     to ${PACKAGES}/portmaster-download.  portmaster will respect the
     PACKAGESITE and PACKAGEROOT (by default
     variables.  portmaster attempts to use both of these variables in the
     same way that pkg_add(1) does.

     The UPGRADE_TOOL variable is set to "portmaster", and the UPGRADE_PORT
     and UPGRADE_PORT_VER variables are set to the full package name string
     and version of the existing package being replaced, if any.

     When using the --index-only option the PACKAGES variable must be set to a
     dirctory where the superuser has write permissions.  Other useful
     variables include:

     MASTER_SITE_INDEX       (default
     FETCHINDEX              (default fetch -am -o)
     INDEXDIR                (default $PORTSDIR, or $TMPDIR for --index-only)
     INDEXFILE               (default auto per FreeBSD version)

     If you use non-standard OPTIONS settings for package building and wish to
     use the --index-only option without a ports tree you must generate your
     own INDEX file so that the dependencies match.

     If you wish to customize your build environment on a per-port basis you
     might want to take a look at /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portconf

     To log actions taken by portmaster along with a date/time stamp you can
     define PM_LOG in your rc file with the full path of the file you would
     like to log to.  If running portmaster with sudo(8) (see below) then you
     should make sure that the file is writable by the unprivileged user.

     By default portmaster creates backup packages of installed ports before
     it runs pkg_delete(1) during an update.  If that package creation fails
     it is treated as a serious error and the user is prompted.  However for
     scripted use of portmaster this can be a problem.  In situations where
     the user is ABSOLUTELY SURE that lack of a backup package should not be a
     fatal error PM_IGNORE_FAILED_BACKUP_PACKAGE can be defined to any value
     in the rc file.

     For those who wish to be sure that specific ports are always compiled
     instead of being installed from packages the PT_NO_INSTALL_PACKAGE
     variable can be defined in the make(1) environment, perhaps in
     /usr/local/etc/ports.conf if using /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portconf, or in
     /etc/make.conf.  This setting is not compatible with the
     -PP/--packages-only option.

           Optional system and user configuration files.  The variables set in
           the script's getopts routine can be specified in these files to
           enable those options.  These files will be read by the parent
           portmaster process, and all variables in them will be exported.

           If this file exists for a port that is already installed, several
           things will happen:

           1. The port will be ignored for all purposes.
               This includes dependency updates even if there is no directory
               for the port in /usr/ports and there is no entry for it in
               /usr/ports/MOVED.  If the -v option is used, the fact that the
               port is being ignored will be mentioned.

           2. If using the
               -L option, and a new version exists, the existence of the
               +IGNOREME file will be mentioned.

           3. If you do a regular update of the port, or if the
               -a option is being used you will be asked if you want to update
               the port anyway.

           Indicates to a subsequent -a, -f, or -r run which includes the -R
           option that a port has already been rebuilt, so it can be safely
           ignored if it is up to date.

           If the -H option is used, and the installation or upgrade is not
           successful, the results of the build and install will be saved in
           this file.  Substitute the value of TMPDIR in your environment as

     The portmaster utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

     The ports infrastructure has limited support for performing various
     operations as an unpriviliged user.  It does this by defining SU_CMD,
     which is typically su(1).  In order to support complete management of
     your ports as an unprivileged user, escalating to "root" privileges only
     when necessary, portmaster can use sudo(1) to handle the escalated
     privileges.  To accomplish this you must have the following directories
     configured so that the unprivileged user can access them:

     1. WRKDIRPREFIX - This is usually set to /usr/ports/category/port/work,
         however it is suggested that you configure another directory outside
         your ports tree for access by the unprivileged user, and assign this
         variable to that value in your /etc/make.conf.

     2. DISTDIR - This is usually set to /usr/ports/distfiles.
         This directory can be safely set up for access by the unprivileged
         user, or a new directory can be specified as above.

     3. TMPDIR - Usually /tmp,
         but can also be set to another directory in your shell environment if

     It is further assumed that the following directories will be owned by



     LOCALBASE - Usually /usr/local

     PACKAGES - Usually /usr/ports/packages


     You will then need to install and configure sudo(1).  This can easily be
     done with /usr/ports/security/sudo.  Then you will need to define
     PM_SU_CMD in your /etc/portmaster.rc file, or your $HOME/.portmasterrc
     file.  For example:


     You can optionally define the PM_SU_VERBOSE option as well to notify you
     each time portmaster uses the PM_SU_CMD.  This is particularly useful if
     you are experimenting with a tool other than sudo(1) to handle the
     privilege escalation, although at this time sudo(1) is the only supported

     PLEASE NOTE: You cannot upgrade the sudo(1) port itself using this

     The following are examples of typical usage of the portmaster command:

     Update one port:
           portmaster fooport-1.23
           portmaster fooport
           portmaster foo/fooport

     Use a package if available:
           portmaster --packages fooport-1.23

     Update multiple ports:
           portmaster fooport-1.23 barport baz/blahport

     Build a port locally but use packages for build dependencies, then delete
     the build dependencies when finished:
           portmaster --packages-build --delete-build-only fooport-1.23

     Update a system using only packages that are available locally:
           portmaster -PP --local-packagedir=<path> -a

     Update all ports that need updating:
           portmaster -a

     Update all ports that need updating, and delete stale distfiles after the
     update is done:
           portmaster -aD
           portmaster --clean-distfiles

     More complex tasks (please see the details for these options above):
           portmaster -r fooport-1.23
           portmaster -o emulators/linux_base-fc4 linux_base-8-8.0_15
           portmaster -x cvsup -f -a
           portmaster -a -x gstreamer -x linux

     Print only the ports that have available updates.  This can be used as an
     alias in your shell.  Be sure to fix the line wrapping appropriately.
           portmaster -L |
           egrep -B1 '(ew|ort) version|Aborting|installed|dependencies|
           IGNORE|marked|Reason:|MOVED|deleted' | grep -v '^--'

     Using portmaster to do a complete reinstallation of all your ports:
           1. portmaster --list-origins > ~/installed-port-list
           2. Update your ports tree
           3. portmaster -ty --clean-distfiles
           4. portmaster --check-port-dbdir
           5. portmaster -Faf
           6. pkg_delete '*'
           7. rm -rf /usr/local/lib/compat/pkg
           8. Back up any files in /usr/local you wish to save,
              such as configuration files in /usr/local/etc
           9. Manually check /usr/local and /var/db/pkg
              to make sure that they are really empty
           10. Re-install portmaster
           11. portmaster `cat ~/installed-port-list`

     You probably want to use the -D option for the installation and then run
     --clean-distfiles [-y] again when you are done.  You might also want to
     consider using the --force-config option when installing the new ports.

     Alternatively you could use portmaster -a -f -D to do an ``in place''
     update of your ports.  If that process is interrupted for any reason you
     can use portmaster -a -f -D -R to avoid rebuilding ports already rebuilt
     on previous runs.  However the first method (delete everything and
     reinstall) is preferred.

     make(1), pkg_add(1), pkg_delete(1), su(1), ports(7), ldconfig(8), sudo(8)

     This manual page was written by Doug Barton <>.

FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE         January 1, 2011        FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help