The FreeBSD Ports and Packages Collection offers a simple way for users and administrators to install applications. There are currently 17746 ports available.
The Ports Collection supports the latest release on the FreeBSD-CURRENT and FreeBSD-STABLE branches. Older releases are not supported and may or may not work correctly with an up-to-date ports collection. Over time, changes to the ports collection may rely on features that are not present in older releases. Wherever convenient, we try not to gratuitously break support for recent releases, but it is sometimes unavoidable. When this occurs, patches contributed by the user community to maintain support for older releases will usually be committed.
Each ``port'' listed here contains any patches necessary to make the original application source code compile and run on FreeBSD. Installing an application is as simple as downloading the port, unpacking it and typing make in the port directory. However, the most convenient (and common) method is to download the framework for the entire list of ports by installing the entire ports hierarchy at FreeBSD installation time, and then have thousands of applications right at your fingertips.
Each port's Makefile automatically fetches the application source code, either from a local disk, CD-ROM or via ftp, unpacks it on your system, applies the patches, and compiles. If all went well, a simple make install will install the application and register it with the package system.
For most ports, a precompiled package also exists, saving the user the work of having to compile anything at all. Each port contains a link to its corresponding package and you may either simply download that file and then run the pkg_add command on it or you can simply grab the link location and hand it straight to pkg_add since it is capable of accepting FTP URLs as well as filenames.