25.3 Portsnap: a Ports Collection Update Tool

Written by Tom Rhodes. Based on notes provided by Colin Percival.

The base system of FreeBSD includes a utility for updating the Ports Collection too: the portsnap(8) utility. Upon execution, it will connect to a remote site, verify the secure key, and download a new copy of the Ports Collection. The key is used to verify the integrity of all downloaded files, ensuring they have not been modified in-flight. To download the latest Ports Collection files, issue the following command:

# portsnap fetch
Looking up portsnap.FreeBSD.org mirrors... 9 mirrors found.
Fetching snapshot tag from geodns-1.portsnap.freebsd.org... done.
Fetching snapshot metadata... done.
Updating from Tue May 22 02:12:15 CEST 2012 to Wed May 23 16:28:31 CEST 2012.
Fetching 3 metadata patches.. done.
Applying metadata patches... done.
Fetching 3 metadata files... done.
Fetching 90 patches.....10....20....30....40....50....60....70....80....90. done.
Applying patches... done.
Fetching 133 new ports or files... done.

What this example shows is that portsnap(8) has found and verified several patches to the current ports data. This also indicates that the utility was run previously, if it was a first time run, the collection would have simply been downloaded.

When portsnap(8) successfully completes a fetch operation, the Ports Collection and subsequent patches exist on the local system that have passed verification. The first time portsnap is executed, you have to use extract to install the downloaded files:

# portsnap extract

To update an already installed Ports Collection use the command portsnap update:

# portsnap update

The process is now complete, and applications may be installed or upgraded using the updated Ports Collection.

The fetch and extract or update operations may be run consecutively, as shown in the following example:

# portsnap fetch update

This command will download the latest version of the Ports Collection and update your local version under /usr/ports.