4.4 Using the Packages System

Contributed by Chern Lee.

4.4.1 Installing a Package

You can use the pkg_add(1) utility to install a FreeBSD software package from a local file or from a server on the network.

Example 4-1. Downloading a Package Manually and Installing It Locally

# ftp -a ftp2.FreeBSD.org
Connected to ftp2.FreeBSD.org.
220 ftp2.FreeBSD.org FTP server (Version 6.00LS) ready.
331 Guest login ok, send your email address as password.
230-     This machine is in Vienna, VA, USA, hosted by Verio.
230-         Questions? E-mail [email protected]
230 Guest login ok, access restrictions apply.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> cd /pub/FreeBSD/ports/packages/sysutils/
250 CWD command successful.
ftp> get lsof-4.56.4.tgz
local: lsof-4.56.4.tgz remote: lsof-4.56.4.tgz
200 PORT command successful.
150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for 'lsof-4.56.4.tgz' (92375 bytes).
100% |**************************************************| 92375       00:00 ETA
226 Transfer complete.
92375 bytes received in 5.60 seconds (16.11 KB/s)
ftp> exit
# pkg_add lsof-4.56.4.tgz

If you do not have a source of local packages (such as a FreeBSD CD-ROM set) then it will probably be easier to use the -r option to pkg_add(1). This will cause the utility to automatically determine the correct object format and release and then fetch and install the package from an FTP site.

# pkg_add -r lsof

The example above would download the correct package and add it without any further user intervention. pkg_add(1) uses fetch(3) to download the files, which honors various environment variables, including FTP_PASSIVE_MODE, FTP_PROXY, and FTP_PASSWORD. You may need to set one or more of these if you are behind a firewall, or need to use an FTP/HTTP proxy. See fetch(3) for the complete list. Note that in the example above lsof is used instead of lsof-4.56.4. When the remote fetching feature is used, the version number of the package must be removed. pkg_add(1) will automatically fetch the latest version of the application.

Package files are distributed in .tgz and .tbz formats. You can find them at ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/packages/, or on the FreeBSD CD-ROM distribution. Every CD on the FreeBSD 4-CD set (and the PowerPak, etc.) contains packages in the /packages directory. The layout of the packages is similar to that of the /usr/ports tree. Each category has its own directory, and every package can be found within the All directory.

The directory structure of the package system matches the ports layout; they work with each other to form the entire package/port system.

4.4.2 Managing Packages

pkg_info(1) is a utility that lists and describes the various packages installed.

# pkg_info
cvsup-16.1          A general network file distribution system optimized for CV
docbook-1.2         Meta-port for the different versions of the DocBook DTD

pkg_version(1) is a utility that summarizes the versions of all installed packages. It compares the package version to the current version found in the ports tree.

# pkg_version
cvsup                       =
docbook                     =

The symbols in the second column indicate the relative age of the installed version and the version available in the local ports tree.

Symbol Meaning
= The version of the installed package matches the one found in the local ports tree.
< The installed version is older than the one available in the ports tree.
> The installed version is newer than the one found in the local ports tree. (The local ports tree is probably out of date.)
? The installed package cannot be found in the ports index. (This can happen, for instance, if an installed port is removed from the ports collection or renamed.)
* There are multiple versions of the package.

4.4.3 Deleting a Package

To remove a previously installed software package, use the pkg_delete(1) utility.

# pkg_delete xchat-1.7.1

4.4.4 Miscellaneous

All package information is stored within the /var/db/pkg directory. The installed file list and descriptions of each package can be found within files in this directory.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <[email protected]>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <[email protected]>.