In most Linux distros there is a command sometimes the same one used to install or build (compile) packages with extra switch; which just download the source files instead of building or installing them.

I am trying to find the same command in FreeBSD. In FreeBSD we have portmaster but I couldn't infer anything like that from its man page.


portmaster ist a simplification for common use cases. For more control you can directly look into the ports collection.

[I assume you already have the ports collection in /usr/ports; if see the handbook for ways to download it.]

For example cd /usr/ports/sysutils/lsof to take a look at the lsof tool. The directory contains a Makefile with all information for this port (where to download it, how to compile it, if/how to apply options). ports(7) lists all make targets in a port directory.

A make fetch will download the source, make will build (extract, patch, and compile) it, make install will install it.

  • So if I go in each port directory for example /usr/ports/x11-themes/... and type make fetch all the files mentioned in Makefile will be downloaded into /usr/share/distfiles? – r004 Feb 22 '14 at 23:40
  • 1
    Yes. (Even though the list of files may still depend on a port's options, e.g. some can be build with/without plugins.) – mschuett Feb 23 '14 at 11:02
  • If you run 'make fetch' in the root of the ports tree, it will download all of the files. There are over 30,000 applications, some with many distfiles. This would take a long time and likely not be very useful. – Allan Jude Feb 28 '18 at 18:48

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