FreeBSD Ports: New Contributors 101

First up, thank you for deciding to dedicate your time and effort to the FreeBSD community and to make things better.

This guide is designed to be lightweight, get you ramped up quickly, and save you time and effort. Is it not exhaustive.

Get Ready

  • Create a dedicated Email address. But expect spam (Gmail is good)
  • Create a FreeBSD Bugzilla account.
  • Set your Full Name (for credit in commit logs)
  • Set DEVELOPER=yes in /etc/make.conf (turns on lots of QA/error/sanity checks)

Get The Tools

At a minimum

For bonus points

  • Bitbucket or Github account for managing a ports tree
  • Mercurial or Git

Your Resources

Your Support Network

  • EfNet IRC: #bsdports, #freebsd-bugbusters
  • FreeNode IRC: #freebsd-ports, #freebsd (You'll need to register your nickname: /ns help register)
  • Twitter: @FreeBSDHelp

The Basic Process

Create a place where you'll keep your local ports, ~username/ports is fine.

Setup your ~username/.porttools configuration (Read man 5 porttools)

  1. Copy the category/port you want to modify from /usr/ports into your local tree
  2. Make your changes
  3. Test your changes (portlint, poudriere, unit tests, etc)
  4. Submit your changes

Here it is in action

cp -Rp /usr/ports/category/portname ~username/ports/category
<make some changes>
port test
<fix reported issues>
port test
port diff

Looks good!

port diff > patch.diff

Create new Bugzilla issue

Attach patch.diff to issue

Protips and Magic Incantations

The following work in port directories (ie: category/port)

  • make makesum When you change what files a port downloads (updates distinfo file)

  • make makepatch Automatically creates patches in files/ using filename/filename.orig pairs)

  • make -V VARIABLE Check the value of a make VARIABLE