DragonFly BSD


DPorts and pkg(8)

DPorts is DragonFly's own third-party software build system. It is based on FreeBSD's Ports Collection. Differences between ports and DPorts are intentionally kept to a minimum, both to maintain familiarity for mutual users of both operating systems and also to leverage the tremendous amount of work the FreeBSD contributors put into ports. DPorts can and does feature ports unique to DragonFly, so it's truly a native system.

The pkg(8) tool called "pkg" is a modern and fast binary package manager. It was developed for FreeBSD, but PC-BSD used it in production first, followed soon after by DragonFly. FreeBSD has since removed their legacy tools so pkg(8) is exclusively used by FreeBSD as well.

pkg(8) is not a replacement for port management tools like ports-mgmt/portmaster or ports-mgmt/portupgrade. While ports-mgmt/portmaster and ports-mgmt/portupgrade can install third-party software from both binary packages and DPorts, pkg(8) installs only binary packages. On the other hand, many people use pkg(8) by itself and never install the optional portupgrade or portmaster tools.

Getting started with pkg(8)

DragonFly daily snapshots and Releases (starting with 3.4) come with pkg(8) already installed. Upgrades from earlier releases, however, will not have it. If the "pkg" program is missing on the system for any reason, it can be quickly bootstrapped without having to build it from source or even having dports installed:

# cd /usr
# make pkg-bootstrap
# rehash
# pkg-static install -y pkg
# rehash

After any installation or reinstallation of the pkg(8) package, you may want to open review the configuration files to customize it, e.g. select a different mirror.

Configuring pkg(8)

The pkg(8) program has a configuration file at /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf (the default installation is typically fine and requires no alteration). It uses a a separate location for repository configuration at /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/ directory.

For fresh installations, the file /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/df-latest.conf.sample is copied to /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/df-latest.conf so that pkg(8) works out of the box. The files ending in the .sample extension are ignored; pkg(8) only reads files that end in .conf and it will read as many as it finds.

The default is to use the California-based Avalon, which is also the master. Avalon will have new packages first and they'll be updated as a set. The others are mirrors and may be much, much faster depending on the user's location, but there will be a period between set updates where the mirror is mix of old and new packages.

The simple case is to just use the AUTO repository (see also the Mirrors page):

    url             : https://pkg.dragonflybsd.org/pkg/${ABI}/LATEST
    mirror_type     : HTTP
    enabled         : yes

Avalon: {
    enabled         : no

(The default Avalon rep can be optionally disabled.)

The provided df-latest.conf may not be up to date. There may be defunct repositories listed and there may be active mirrors that are not listed as options. You may edit or add new repo configuration files as necessary.

It is possible to use multiple repositories. The normal use case is that someone builds specific packages (e.g. using dsynth(8)) which should have a higher priority over the official packages. In other words, whenever a package has been built locally, pkg(8) installs the local version and only uses the external repository to install packages not available locally.

In the above case, a custom repository configuration file should be created, and it should include the priority field, e.g. priority: 10. The higher the number, the higher the priority. The priority when unspecified is 0.

The last output of pkg -vv lists all enable repositories and their priority values.

Before using, consult the man page (man pkg) and then try these examples:

# pkg search editors
# pkg install vim

Basic pkg(8) Operations

Usage information for pkg(8) is available in the pkg(8) manual page, or by running pkg without additional arguments.

Each pkg(8) command argument is documented in a command-specific manual page. To read the manual page for pkg install, for example, run either:

# pkg help install
# man pkg-install

Obtaining Information About Installed Packages with pkg(8)

Information about the packages installed on a system can be viewed by running pkg info. Similar to pkg_info(1), the package version and description for all packages will be listed. Information about a specific package is available by running:

# pkg info packagename

For example, to see which version of pkg(8) is installed on the system, run:

# pkg info pkg
pkg-1.0.12                   New generation package manager

Installing and Removing Packages with pkg(8)

In general, most DragonFly users will install binary packages by typing:

# pkg install <packagename>

For example, to install curl:

# pkg install curl

Updating repository catalogue
Repository catalogue is up-to-date, no need to fetch fresh copy
The following packages will be installed:

    Installing ca_root_nss: 3.13.5
    Installing curl: 7.24.0

The installation will require 4 MB more space

1 MB to be downloaded

Proceed with installing packages [y/N]: y
ca_root_nss-3.13.5.txz           100%    255KB   255.1KB/s  255.1KB/s   00:00
curl-7.24.0.txz                  100%   1108KB     1.1MB/s    1.1MB/s   00:00
Checking integrity... done
Installing ca_root_nss-3.13.5... done
Installing curl-7.24.0... done

The new package and any additional packages that were installed as dependencies can be seen in the installed packages list:

# pkg info
ca_root_nss-3.13.5    The root certificate bundle from the Mozilla Project
curl-7.24.0           Non-interactive tool to get files from FTP, GOPHER, HTTP(S) servers
pkg-1.0.12            New generation package manager

Packages that are no longer needed can be removed with pkg delete. For example, if it turns out that curl is not needed after all:

# pkg delete curl
The following packages will be deleted:


The deletion will free 3 MB

Proceed with deleting packages [y/N]: y
Deleting curl-7.24.0_1... done

Upgrading Installed Packages with pkg(8)

Packages that are outdated can be found with pkg version. If a local ports tree does not exist, pkg-version(8) will use the remote repository catalogue, otherwise the local ports tree will be used to identify package versions.

Packages can be upgraded to newer versions with pkg(8). Suppose a new version of curl has been released. The local package can be upgraded to the new version:

# pkg upgrade
Updating repository catalogue
repo.txz            100%    297KB   296.5KB/s   296.5KB/s   00:00
The following packages will be upgraded:

Upgrading curl: 7.24.0 -> 7.24.0_1

1 MB to be downloaded

Proceed with upgrading packages [y/N]: y
curl-7.24.0_1.txz   100%    1108KB  1.1MB/s       1.1MB/s   00:00
Checking integrity... done
Upgrading curl from 7.24.0 to 7.24.0_1... done

Auditing Installed Packages with pkg(8)

Occasionally, software vulnerabilities may be discovered in software within DPorts. pkg(8) includes built-in auditing. To audit the software installed on the system, type:

# pkg audit -F

Advanced pkg(8) Operations

Automatically Removing Leaf Dependencies with pkg(8)

Removing a package may leave behind unnecessary dependencies, like security/ca_root_nss in the example above. Such packages are still installed, but nothing depends on them any more. Unneeded packages that were installed as dependencies can be automatically detected and removed:

# pkg autoremove
Packages to be autoremoved:

The autoremoval will free 723 kB

Proceed with autoremoval of packages [y/N]: y
Deinstalling ca_root_nss-3.13.5... done

Backing Up the pkg(8) Package Database

pkg(8) includes its own package database backup mechanism. To manually back up the package database contents, type:

# pkg backup -d <pkg.db>

Additionally, pkg(8) includes a periodic(8) script to automatically back up the package database daily if daily_backup_pkgng_enable is set to YES in periodic.conf(5). To prevent the pkg_install periodic script from also backing up the package database, set daily_backup_pkgdb_enable to NO in periodic.conf(5).

To restore the contents of a previous package database backup, run:

# pkg backup -r </path/to/pkg.db>

Removing Stale pkg(8) Packages

By default, pkg(8) stores binary packages in a cache directory as defined by PKG_CACHEDIR in pkg.conf(5). When upgrading packages with pkg upgrade, old versions of the upgraded packages are not automatically removed.

To remove the outdated binary packages, type:

# pkg clean

Modifying pkg(8) Package Metadata

pkg(8) has a couple of built-in commands to update package origins.

Note: Previously it was recommended to use the -o option, e.g. "-o < category / oldport >:< category / newport >" but this option is deprecated and will be removed in the future.

Note: The --change-name (-n) option requires the package name. Normally it's intuitive based on the name of the port, but not always. To get the definitive name, the following command can be used:

# make -V PKGBASE -C /usr/dports/<category>/<portname>

For example, if lang/php5 was originally at version 5.3, but has been renamed to lang/php53 for the inclusion of version 5.4, the package database can be updated to deal with this. For pkg(8), the syntax is:

# pkg set -n <oldname>:<newname>

For example, to change the package origin for the above example, type:

# pkg set -n php5:php53

As another example, to update lang/ruby20 to lang/ruby21 (the current default), type:

# pkg set -n ruby20:ruby

As a final example, to change the origin of the libglut shared libraries from graphics/libglut to graphics/freeglut, type:

# pkg set -n libglut:freeglut

Note: When changing package origins, in most cases it is important to reinstall packages that are dependent on the package that has had the origin changed. To force a reinstallation of dependent packages, type:

# pkg install -Rf graphics/freeglut

Bullet-proof (conflict-proof) upgrade technique

Several people have run into problem upgrading binary packages when default versions change (e.g. PHP default changes from version 5.4 to 5.6, or PostgreSQL default changes from 9.0 to 9.2). Usually there are upgrading hints at /usr/dports/UPDATING, but there are issues with this method of communication

  1. You must have /usr/dports installed and current, which kind of defeats the purpose of using binary packages
  2. You usually don't go looking there until after you hit a failure
  3. Proactively reading /usr/dports/UPDATING perhaps from DragonFly's Gitweb would be the best approach, but honestly nobody is going to do that.

Additionally, over time Administrators install packages to evaluate them or otherwise don't need them any longer, but often the Administrators forget to remove the package and its dependencies later. These extra packages still get upgraded unnecessarily.

Technique Instructions

The following technique will guarantee conflict-proof, integral updates and at the same time allow manually pruning of unwanted packages.

Step 1: Get list of primary packages

For pkg(8) version 1.5.1 or later, the "prime-list" alias is predefined in the pre-installed pkg.conf, so you can run the following command:

> pkg prime-list > ~/prime.list

If you are using an older version of package, or already had pkg.conf which was not overwritten, you can use the equivalent of the alias like so:

> pkg query -e "%a = 0" "%n" > ~/prime.list

The file ~/prime.list contains the list of packages that were manually installed. For example, if an Administrator only requested one package to be installed, Libreoffice, pkg(8) might pull in 200 dependencies, but ~/prime.list would only contain the name of a single package.

Step 2: Review and edit primary package list

Using your favorite editor, load ~/prime.list, which indicates which packages were manually installed. If there are any packages that are no longer desired, simple delete the line that contains it.

Step 3: Wipe everything out

Now everything except package needs to be removed off the system.

> pkg delete -ay

If you are using an HTTPS mirror you'll get an error similar to this one:

> Certificate verification failed for /C=US/O=Let's Encrypt/CN=Let's
> Encrypt Authority X3
> 34371318292:error:14007086:SSL routines:CONNECT_CR_CERT:certificate verify
> failed:/usr/src/lib/libressl/../../crypto/libressl/ssl/ssl_clnt.c:1121:

To workaround it, simply add the following line to your /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf:

> }

Don't forget to remove or comment them after the upgrade.

Step 4: Upgrade the repository category

What we really want to do here is update the repository catalog, but if there's a newer version of pkg(8), we can upgrade it at the same time.

> pkg upgrade

Say yes if pkg(8) wants permission to update itself on the system.

Step 5: Cleanse the package cache

To avoid any possible reinstallation of a stale package, we want to remove obsolete packages from the cache.

> pkg clean -y

Step 6: Reinstall the primary packages

Now we reinstall the packages that we really want on the system and let pkg(8) pull in the dependencies that are needed without fear of conflict.

> pkg install `cat ~/prime.list`

Provide affirmative answers to any confirmations pkg(8) asks.

How to create the prime-list alias for future use

Rather than try to remember that hard-to-type query, it's more convenient to define this command as an alias. Note this is not necessary for new installations since around 22 April 2015 (The alias is predefined for pkg(8) version 1.5.1 and later). To defined the alias, create or append the /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf file with the following:

  prime-list: query -e "%a = 0" "%n",

If ALIAS is already defined, just add the prime-list line to the list. You may review /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf.sample for other ALIAS suggestions. There are several useful ones offered there.

Building DPorts from source

The average user will probably not build packages from source. However, it's easy to do and it can be done even when packages have already been pre-installed on the system. Common reasons to build from source are:

Installing DPorts tree

DragonFly 3.4 or later is the minimum version that can build DPorts from source.

It's probably that pkgsrc binaries are already installed because it comes bootstrapped with new systems. It is necessary to rename /usr/pkg directory so that the existing pkgsrc binary tools and libraries don’t get accidentally used while building DPorts, causing breakage. For the installation of the DPorts tree, type:

# cd /usr
# make dports-create-shallow

If the /usr/pkg directory has already been renamed, git won’t be in the search path any more. One option is to download a tarball of DPorts and unpack it. To do this, type:

# cd /usr
# make dports-download

For future updates, pull delta changes via git is fastest, so it is suggested to convert the static tree to a git repository by typing:

# cd /usr/dports/devel/git
# make install
# cd /usr
# rm -rf /usr/dports
# make dports-create-shallow

The git repository is hosted on the github account of DragonFly.

Final thoughts

Building from source works similar to ports and pkgsrc: cd into the appropriate program's directory, and type 'make'. 'make install' to install the software, 'make clean' to clean up work files, and so on. Use 'make config-recursive' if you want to set all the port's options, and the options of its dependencies, immediately instead of during the build.

To take all the default build options and avoid getting the pop-up dialog box, set NO_DIALOG=yes on either the command line or the make.conf file.

If you just want to set the options for one package, and accept the default for all of its dependencies, do 'make config' in the package in you want non-default options, and then 'make NO_DIALOG=yes'. Note that this is only necessary if you want to build from source with a non-default set of options, or if no pre-built binary package is available yet.

More reading

DPorts contributor notes


Steps of every sync with FreeBSD Ports

  1. Around the 15th of each month a monthly branch is created in a local clone of the freebsd ports repository. This is taken as the base for the sync between freebsd ports and dports.
  2. The transformation scripts are applied on each freebsd ports' port and a temporary dports tree (called potential tree) is generated.
  3. In the staged build box (right now it's sting) a full build of the potential tree is built. Every package that builds will go to ports/staged branch and will also leave a trace of the build outcome in deltaports master branch.
  4. Once that build is done, a snapshot of the current failures is taken (snap-failures) and the port build fixing process starts.

Recommended way to fix DPorts failures

Setup the environment

In this guide the base directory will be /build/chroot.

Create a vanilla chroot installation in /build/chroot , that is from a DragonFly BSD source tree without modifications. If you need to build for RELEASE, use the release branch then.

# export BASEDIR=/build/chroot
# cd /usr/src
# make buildworld
# make installworld DESTDIR=$BASEDIR
# cd etc && make distribution DESTDIR=$BASEDIR

Clone the repos for freebsd ports, deltaports and dports. This 3 repositories should not be modified except for updates and such.

# git clone https://github.com/freebsd/freebsd-ports.git $BASEDIR/root/s/freebsd-ports
# git clone https://github.com/DragonFlyBSD/DPorts.git $BASEDIR/root/s/DPorts
# git clone https://github.com/DragonFlyBSD/DeltaPorts.git $BASEDIR/root/s/DeltaPorts

Copy /etc/resolv.conf to $BASEDIR/etc so that the chroot can have internet access.

Clone the DPorts repo in $BASEDIR/usr/dports and switch to staged branch. The port fixes will be done here:

# chroot $BASEDIR
# cd /usr && make dports create
# cd dports
# git checkout -b staged origin/staged

Install your favourite editor and other utils in the chroot. You only have to run 'make pkg-bootstrap' the first time.

# chroot $BASEDIR
# cd /usr && make pkg-bootstrap
# pkg install -y vim
# pkg install -y genpatch

Setup dsynth according your computer parameters (cpu, mem, disk) and needs.

For helping with the dports, one has to setup dsynth to use OpenSSL and not LibreSSL. For reference the following is the configuration used on sting.dragonflybsd.org.

DPORTS_BUILDER=         yes
DEFAULT_VERSIONS=       ssl=openssl
FORCE_PACKAGE=          yes
DEVELOPER=              yes

Save the adapted dports configuration in $BASEDIR/usr/local/etc/dports.conf, it will be used by the sync scripts.Example contents:


Create script $BASEDIR/root/bin/getdport.sh


. /usr/local/etc/dports.conf

if [ -z "$1" ]; then
        echo category/port to handle
        exit 1

[ -d /root/s/freebsd-ports/$1 ] || (echo $1 does not exist in ports && exit 1)
${DELTA}/scripts/generator/sync1.sh $1
[ -d /usr/dports/$1 ] && rm -fr /usr/dports/$1
cp -r ${POTENTIAL}/$1 /usr/dports/$1
cd /usr/dports/$1

Check latest failures

Latest failures can be checked in here:


Normally you would sort the report data by Skip. Skip means the number of ports that were skipped during the build because of that port.

Fixing port failures

Please note all the commands here are run while chrooted.

Make sure FPORTS is at commit of the current sync. See the timestamp and commitid in this document: https://github.com/DragonFlyBSD/DeltaPorts/blob/master/docs/synclog.json

For this guide we're going to pick www/node12 which currently shows 7 skips. All actions will take place inside the chroot. If you have enough RAM+swap, you can probably mount tmpfs in /usr/obj within the chroot.

# chroot $BASEDIR tcsh
# mount_tmpfs tmpfs /usr/obj
# /root/bin/getdport.sh www/node12
# cd /usr/dports/www/node12

At this point you might want to verify that the changes from the getport.sh script were done correctly, for example with 'git diff .' where you should see changes already but only when the freebsd ports version and the dports/staged version differ.

www/node12 failed in the patch phase, here's the failure text so you want to get to that point, locally.

# make -DBATCH -DDEVELOPER patch
===>  Patching for node12-12.18.0
===>  Applying ports patches for node12-12.18.0 from /xports/www/node12/files
===>  Applying dragonfly patches for node12-12.18.0 from /xports/www/node12/dragonfly
2 out of 2 hunks failed--saving rejects to deps/uv/src/unix/udp.c.rej
===>  FAILED Applying dragonfly patch-deps_uv_src_unix_udp.c
===> FAILED to apply cleanly dragonfly patch(es)  patch-deps_uv_src_unix_udp.c
*** Error code 1

make[1]: stopped in /xports/www/node12
*** Error code 1

make: stopped in /xports/www/node12

The source directory is specified in the WRKSRC make variable, you can easily print it:

# make -V WRKSRC

In the work source directory you will usually find the .rej files that were generated as a result of the patch phase failure:

# cd /usr/obj/dports/www/node12/node-v12.18.0
sting-chroot# find . -iname "*.rej"

Fix the patch and regenerate it again. In this case you move it to the dragonfly directory overwriting the previous patch, which failed to apply

# $EDITOR deps/uv/src/unix/udp.c
# genpatch deps/uv/src/unix/udp.c
generated patch-deps_uv_src_unix_udp.c
# mv patch-deps_uv_src_unix_udp.c /usr/dports/www/node12/dragonfly/

The patch phase should now successfully complete:

# make -DBATCH -DDEVELOPER clean
===>  Cleaning for node12-12.18.0
# make -DBATCH -DDEVELOPER patch
===>  Patching for node12-12.18.0
===>  Applying ports patches for node12-12.18.0 from /usr/dports/www/node12/files
===>  Applying dragonfly patches for node12-12.18.0 from /usr/dports/www/node12/dragonfly

More problems will likely arise, you have to keep adding fixes until the port fully builds and packages:

# make -DBATCH -DDEVELOPER package |& tee /tmp/node12.log
===>  Building package for node12-12.18.0

Make sure it passes a 'dsynth test www/node12', this may take a while.

# dsynth test www/node12
Processing 1 ports

Total 2
Resolving dependencies...done
Total Returned 54
Scanning 1345 packages

Total 1345
all done
Check Template: Good
[000] START   www/node12                          idep=137 depi=00/00 dep=0.23G
[000] SUCCESS www/node12                                               00:07:23

Initial queue size: 1
    packages built: 1
           ignored: 0
           skipped: 0
            failed: 0
           missing: 0

Duration: 00:07:23

Now it should be ready for submit.

Submitting your work


See below the key elements that might need to be included in the PR. Many examples exists already in the DeltaPorts repository, you can get most of the things you'll need to do from there.


This is evaluated for every port build. As much stuff as possible should be included here, like variable override or modification, sed commands, etc.


A way of patching directly the files within the port directory. For example, diffs/Makefile.diff will be applied to the port Makefile.


File which contains the file to be removed from the port, one file per line.


This directory holds the Dragonfly specific patches. Same rules as for FreeBSD files apply, i.e. just one patch per file, etc.

How to submit

Create a PR with the appropriate changes here: https://github.com/DragonFlyBSD/DeltaPorts/pulls

Local repository for the chroot

There are some packages that will have quite some dependencies and since you are going to be building with dsynth a lot, it is a good practice to keep a local binary repository in the chroot. That way you can quickly install need packages for a specific build. You can just add the repository as a local in the pkg repos configuration.

# fgrep -i packages= /etc/dsynth/dsynth.ini
Directory_packages= /build/dsynth/live_packages
# cat /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/00_synth.conf 
# Automatically generated.

Synth: {
  url      : file:///build/dsynth/live_packages
  priority : 0,
  enabled  : yes,

Internal: Procedure to sync freebsd ports

This documentation is not intended for anyone other than the person(s) responsible for generating dports from the freebsd tree using the DragonFly BSD project's muscle server. All of these commands are done as root.

Update the world / kernel of muscles

Ideally the host machine and the jail's world should match. In reality, if changes are close, the jail's world can be newer but it's best that they always match.

# cd /usr/src
# make -j12 buildworld > /tmp/bw.log
# make -j12 kernel > /tmp/kernel.log
# make installworld > /tmp/iw.log
# make upgrade
# reboot 

Update the jail's world

# cd /root/adm/exec-dports-builder
# make update-world

Note that after a new release of DragonFly, a new world has to be create rather than updated. This will appear in documentation later.

Find out what's the current ports checkout version

You can run:

# date -r `cat /usr/local/portsnap/tag | cut -f 2 -d '|'`
Thu Apr 25 05:33:17 PDT 2019

Bring in latest freebsd ports

# make update-ports

Purge the previous dports tree

# make merge-purge

This can take several minutes.

Merge the framework

# make merge-mk

It is very common that one or more of the patches will not apply. If that happens:

1. su automaton
2. cd ~/DeltaPorts/special/Mk/diffs
3. Regenerate the diff patch or patches as necessary
4. exit
5. make merge-purge
6. make merge-mk

Repeat cycle until every diff patch applies. When it's clear, issue this comand

# make sync-mk

Merge everything

# make merge-purge
# make merge

This takes several minutes. During the merge, you will almost certainly see ports fail to sync due to that port utilizing a "diff" against the freebsd which has changed since the last sync. Take note of all failed ports. If you lost that information, you can execute "make reject-list" command to see which ports failed to merge. You can see the reject files at /usr/xports/[category]/[portname] for more information.

Each port has to be fixed before continuing. The general process for doing this is:

# su automaton
# cd ~/Deltaports/ports/[category]/[portname]
  (assuming that the Makefile diff failed to apply in this example):
# cp /usr/ports/[category]/[portname]/Makefile .
# dupe Makefile
# modify Makefile accordingly (see diffs/Makefile.diff)
# genpatch Makefile > diffs/Makefile.diff
# exit
# ./sync [category]/[portname]
  (if the sync command has no output, then the fix was good)

Finish merge

# make rsync-tree

Prune old ports

Remove dports where the freebsd ports have been removed.

# make prune-confirm

Reclaim hard disk space

# make dist-clean

This removes all distfiles that are no longer needed. It takes a few minutes, but it can reclaim gigabytes of space. You can usually go a few months without running this command (so it's optional; skip it if you're in a hurry to get started).

Kick off full build

# make synth-full-run

This command takes 3-4 days to execute.