Thread: Why ports?
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Old 14th July 2008
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Weaseal Weaseal is offline
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Originally Posted by disappearedng View Post
But how does that provide benefits from the user's point of view? Linux has repositories which they can download precompiled binaries.

FreeBSD allows you to compile from scratch. What is the advantages to this???
(Aside from optimization; if it is a huge factor, how much more optimized can it be?)
Actually, to my knowledge, all linux distributions are either binary packages or compilable packages, but almost never (for example, Gentoo is all source, where Debian is all binary). Actually, Arch linux has both a binary and source option, but I find their package system extremely immature (lots of broken dependencies, and poor management tools).

FreeBSD offers you both choices, and leaves it up to you. Packages = binary, ports = source.

If you need compile-time optimizations and/or customizations, use ports. Maybe you need an application to rely on PostgreSQL instead of MySQL, but the package is compiled against MySQL! Use ports there. In a binary-only linux distribution, you'd be out of luck, and forced to compile your own, outside of any package management.

Know that all packages you download are actually just pre-compiled versions of the exact same things in your ports tree. Try it yourself:
cd /usr/ports/category/port && make package
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