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I'm toying with the idea of installing FreeBSD or PC-BSD... as it looks now, I'll probably go for PC-BSD.

However, one thing I really would like, is the FreeBSD ports collection. So I was wondering if it can be installed on PC-BSD? If it can be used with PC-BSD - without too much conflict with PC-BSD's own package-installation and package-repository (ie. AppCafe)? (E.g. building and installing some packages from the port-collection, then removing it with PC-BSD's GUI package-manager... Or building and installing a package from the port-collection, and then adding a package that depend on the first one with PC-BSD's GUI package-manager...)

And finally how I can install it? Can I install the port-collection directly by installing some package (which?) from the PC-BSD repository? Or must I download it separately from FreeBSD (where?) and install it "manually" (how?) in PC-BSD?

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Yes, for PC-BSD you can install programs using the Appcafe, packages or ports. They MAY conflict. I exclusively use packages (or ports) and avoid the Appcafe at all costs. I don't remember why, just that I had issues with it years ago.

The package system is installed by default. If you need ports you can portsnap them or git them (see what I did there??) from the PC-BSD control panel > System Management (I think) > Fetch Ports Tree

I stress: use ONE. You're asking for dependency hell if you mix and match.

I favor packages. But I will fall back on to ports if needed. If I'm using Appcafe for anything other than window shopping, then it must be very important and I calculated the risk to be minimal.

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In the world of FreeBSD and its derivatives, including what used to be called PC-BSD, which for a time was then called TrueOS, and is now called Project Trident, packages and ports are effectively the same thing.

Ports and packages in the world of FreeBSD are designed to interoperate. A port builds a binary package and under the covers installs/deinstalls it through the package manager. It is simply a locally-built package, rather than one that was obtained from a package repository. The PC-BSD/TrueOS/Trident AppCafe is layered on top of packages, and to an extent is largely simply a convenient GUI for package management.

The difference between FreeBSD and its derivatives is not that these mechanisms differ from one another. It is that they are configured with different origins. The packages ae downloaded from a different package repository, built and published by the PC-BSD/TrueOS/Trident people. The ports tree comes from a different source repository, that tracks the FreeBSD ports tree but with PC-BSD/TrueOS/Trident modifications.

The idea that ports build packages under the covers remains unchanged, however. One still ends up with a ports tree under /usr/ports after going through the process of installing the ports tree. One still manipulates binary packages with pkg and pkg-static.

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