OpenBSD Journal

details on all the OpenBSD packages?

Contributed by jose on from the ports-and-packages dept.

anonymous writes: "I just got done upgrading an old OpenBSD 3.1 box to 3.4 and was adding one or two things from the ports tree, when I started wondering what all the other stuff in the ports tree was.

I can't find anyplace that describes the stuff in the ports tree.

I mean maybe I could really use "bitlbee-0.80" for example, but how do I know what things are without spending hours looking up everything in the tree ?

Suggestions ?"

There used to be pages on the OpenBSD site where you could get that information. Are they still around?

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Johan () on

    Check, Sounds like you want "cd /usr/ports && make readmes".

    1. By pyr () on

      Last I know they had the small descriptions for packages here for up to 3.2. I wonder why they stoped after 3.3. Click on the package and it give you a long description of the package.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        Yup, that is the page I recall. Too bad it is gone and some obscure series of commands must be issued instead.

        The OpenBSD team needs a person to improve customer relations, this being indictative of the many problems they have in this area.

        To paraphrase Office Space - you just can't let the engineers talk directly to the customers.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > The OpenBSD team needs a person to improve customer relations

          Thanks for volunteering.

  2. By Juanjo () on

    The FAQ is great, but sometimes I miss questions (well... the answers to thse missing questions hehe).

    May be obsd needs kinda freshports . Sometimes you get all the features you need in the base install, but very often you need to install a port also. It's safe to use that ports? This is the newest version? What about the dependencies... it's what I'm looking for?

    I think a lil' more documentation won't hurt.

    But don't think obsd has a lack of doumentation. Base install it's very well documented: man pages simply rocks!

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Dependencies are handled on the fly. If you try to install a package that depends on some other packages, you don't have to worry about those, as long they are available.

      Packages and external code, have not undergone the same type of security audit as 'native' OpenBSD code has. See

      1. By Juanjo () on

        Dependencies are handled on the fly. If you try to install a package that depends on some other packages, you don't have to worry about those, as long they are available.

        I know that.

        But sometimes I need to know what are de dependencies of installing a package X. Why? Because may be I'm not interested in installing openldap server and it's better I compile the port myself. In order to do that I need to know which dependencies has each package.

        About security audit... I thought port maintainers used to update the ports... If I'm using 3.1 and MySQL port has a security problem in that release, I would like to know I have an updated port to fix that.

        May be I'm not very experienced managing ports, excuse me ;)

        1. By tedu () on

          make show=LIB_DEPENDS
          make show=RUN_DEPENDS

    2. By brad () on

      May be obsd needs kinda freshports.
      I agree that a freshports is definitly needed in the OpenBSD world. Freshports gives a small description of the 100 most recently updated ports. By looking at this site once a day or so, you can get a sense of what programs are available, and what their purpose is.
      I think a site like freshports would be invaluable to the OpenBSD users.

    3. By Anonymous Hero () on

      Hmmm. What about this project?

  3. By Anonymous Coward () on

    /usr/ports/INDEX has one-line descriptions of each port. You can grep for info, or use one of the following make targets-

    cd /usr/ports ; make print-index

    gives a list in a more readable (if long) format, and

    cd /usr/ports ; make search key=TARGET

    will list packages with names or descriptions that match TARGET

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Hmm ....

      All these suggestion to something under /usr/ports.

      Which does not exist on my fresh clean 3.4 box.

      1. By Clint () on

        the ports tree is not installed by default. you either have to get it via cvs/cvsup or download the tar via ftp

      2. By Anonymous Coward () on

        You need to download ports.tar.gz from any of the mirrors and untar it in /usr to get the ports tree. Must be explained in the FAQ or Install or Web, 'cause that is how I learned about it.

  4. By raiten () on

    if you have an idea on the name, see

    openbechede on and pkg_search, see google

  5. By Anonymous Hero () on

    cd /usr/ports
    make search key=name

    Gives me a nice, small description. When i want to know more about it, i surf to the website of the project. Those are always extensive and accurate enought.

  6. By Anonymous Coward () on

    cat /usr/ports/CATAGORY/PORT/pkg/DESCR

  7. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I always use:

    cd /usr/ports
    cat www/*/pkg/DESCR | less
    and look at all the descriptions all at once.

    In nearly every case, the first word is the name of the package. Thanks to those port maintainers.

    It would be nice to have a big summary section, but it takes effort. I would welcome a "so you want to do graphs, here are some of the best in our /usr/ports/math/ subdirectory", with ratings and descriptions and what they are best suited for. It takes effort, and I don't have the time, so I'm not whining, I just love how it works.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      some people just dont get it. There are a lot of packages. If your not sure what you are looking for, or maybe just browsing, the name of the package doesnt help. You know know that its a web browser, astronomy calculator, or a cook book.

      Suggesting the user to the website, or even reading the readme, for each of the hundreds (?) of packages is a good way to tell users to not explore. its ungainly and time consuming.

      Its also the type of attitude that makes documentation unfriendly and discourages new BSD converts.

      1. By tedu () on

        has make readmes stopped working? lots of nice little html files to browse through, sorted by category.

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      pet peeve of mine: piping the output of cat into less.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        Haha, me too

      2. By tedu () on

        reading multiple files it can get annoying using just more/less. cat makes one nice stream to page up and down.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          Indeed. A lot more efficient.

  8. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Open BSD is great, and the man pages obviously are as good as the code, BUT for anyone new to it the RTFM attitude of many in the community isn't helpful.

    As this post points out it is really hard to find out which of the ports or packages are worth trying, etc.

    It would be really useful if there was some additional documentation especially for common setups (eg settingup a basic desktop environment, a web server, a print/ file server etc.) It doesn't need to be a highly detailed monkey-see/ monkey-do like a typical windows book - rather a set of hints, with a couple of examples for typical configurations.

    As for the ports and packages, as a minimum we need a short description of each on the web site together with the version(s) in the stable and current branches. Even better if there were links to the ports web site and a forum or wiki page where users could comment.

    1. By Ulysses () on

      how kind of you to volunteer for the job.

    2. By ann onimous () on

      BUT for anyone new to it the RTFM attitude of many in the community isn't helpful.

      Actually if you take into consideration the quality of the FMs and the general replies one gets after asking a question in #openbsd, i must say the openbsd crowd is a lot more newbie friendly than others in this respect.

      I remember being ignored or kicked out from some channels for asking a question an openbsd user would reply in a friendly manner to.

  9. By Anonymous Coward () on

    I know this is off topic, but...

    Anyone know if it's possible to make an OpenBSD tech CD?

    What I mean by this, is a bootable CD that boots into OpenBSD, kernel compiled with ntfs support, etc. Samba installed, nbaudit, nmap, dsniff, wireless utils, pptp (server/client such as poptop), ipsec, ppp, pppoe, etc.. but the OS boots off of CD and into RAM with read/write access.

    I've seen something like this with Linux but I'd love to make something like this using OpenBSD.

    I just don't know where/how I could start something like this or where I could read up on how to do such a thing...


  10. By Alex () alex at seidlitz ca on mailto:alex at seidlitz ca

    Just a comment: I tried to build readmes with "cd /usr/ports && make readmes" and it crushed my OpenBSD 3.3

    It was the first time in 3 years that I experienced a crush with OpenBSD.

    1. By Marc Espie () on

      You mean, your OpenBSD fell in love with the ports tree ?

      Oh, you mean CRASHED.

      Well, let me assure you that make readmes in 3.4 is completely different. There is probably not a line of code left over from 3.3... it's faster, and it works a lot better.

  11. By yo soy () spam at on mailto:spam at

    pkg_info http://wherevertheyare/whichever.tgz
    works great for me.

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