A user can install a package by passing the package name to the pkg install command.This downloads the appropriate package for the installed Free BSD release version, then installs the application, including any software dependencies it may have.
In general, anyone may become a port maintainer by contributing their favorite software to the collection.
One may also choose to maintain an existing port with no active maintainer. A package can be created from the corresponding port with the make package command; prebuilt packages are also available for download from Free BSD-hosted package respositories.
If the new port has needed dependencies on other applications or libraries, these are installed beforehand automatically.
Most ports are already configured with default options which have been deemed generally appropriate for most users.
However, these configuration options (called knobs) can sometimes be changed before installation using the make config command, which brings up a text-based interface that allows the user to select the desired options.
Historically, each port (or software package) has been maintained by an individual port maintainer who is responsible for ensuring the currency of the port and providing general support.
The Free BSD Ports collection is a package management system for the Free BSD operating system, providing an easy and consistent way of installing software packages.
As of July 2015, there are over 25,000 ports The ports collection uses Makefiles arranged in a directory hierarchy so that software can be built, installed and uninstalled with the make command.
When installing an application, very little (if any) user intervention is required after issuing a beginning command such as make install or make install clean in the ports directory of the desired application.
In most cases the software is automatically downloaded from the Internet, patched and configured if necessary, then compiled, installed and registered in the package database.