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Absolute FreeBSD, 2nd Edition by Michael W. Lucas

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The Ports and Packages System

Ports are instructions for compiling software on FreeBSD, and packages are precompiled ports.

Packages install quickly and easily, while ports take more time but can be customized for your environment. The whole system is called the Ports Collection, the ports tree, or simply ports. All these terms refer to the ports themselves, the system for building ports, and packages.

The basic idea behind the ports and packages system is that if source code must be modified to run on FreeBSD, the modifications should be automated. If you need other software to build this program from source code or to run the software, those dependencies should be documented and tracked. If you're going to automate the changes, you might as well ...

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