PortBrowser - A user interface for the BSD ports system

The PortBrowser is a FREE, easy to use implementation of a front end written for the BSD ports system. It has been developed for OpenBSD but it should also work on FreeBSD. Sometimes there will be a -current version available for download which represents a snapshot of the development version, and if that is the case, please test that version and report success and or failures back to me. Also look at the Changelog at the bottom of this page in order to get information about what’s going on and which problems have been fixed. Screenshots can be found here and you are also advised to read the man page that describes all the options available in the -current version of the PortBrowser. If you would like to see support for NetBSD in the future, then please contact me via E-Mail.


Build Procedure

Your can either use darcs to check out the latest sources:

 $ darcs get http://www.bytelabs.org/pbrowser/

Or retrieve a source tarball and unpack it:

 $ tar xvzf pb-browserXX.tgz

FreeBSD users may have to modify a Makefile, namely src/Makefile, before they can successfully compile PortBrowser:

 $ cd pb-browserXX
 $ make
 $ src/pbrowser


Screenshot of stable version running on OpenBSD

Installation Progress Dialogue


  • New stable version -0.5 (2007-08-11):
    • Mostly changes from the previous -current version have been incorporated and some OpenBSD specific tweaks have been made.
    • Thanks to Dan Angelescu from the RoFreeSBIE project for help on testing a bug fix!
  • New -current version (2005-06-16):
    • Thanks to Travis Poppe a bug has been fixed where interactive port installations have not been handled correctly on FreeBSD systems.
  • New -current version (2005-06-15):
    • Improved /usr/ports/INDEX file parsing code. Made the new parser a lot simpler, faster, more robust and verbose in case of failure.
  • New stable version -0.4 (2005-03-13):
    • Mostly changes from the previous -current version have been incorporated and some OpenBSD specific tweaks have been made.
  • Notice for FreeBSD users tracking FreeBSD-current (2004-11-16):
    • According to this commit message, the FreeBSD portmgr decided to remove the INDEX{-5} file from the CVS tree. You will still be able to build your own INDEX or use the ‘fetchindex’ target in /usr/ports/. BE AWARE THAT YOU NEED AN INDEX FILE FOR PBROWSER TO WORK!
  • Changes made for -current version (2004-11-14):
    • Added option -s which finally makes it possible to use sudo(8) for all privileged operations. That’s when I figured out that FreeBSD does not ship sudo(8) with their base system :(. This stuff will need a lot of testing though!!
  • Changes made for -current version (2004-11-13):
    • A menu entry has been added to the pbrowser making it finally possible to modify the package path without having to restart the application.

    • Instead of prompting the user for a password every time a privileged operation is requested, we only prompt the user once! The old behaviour can be restored by starting the pbrowser with the -a option.
  • Changes made for -current version (2004-11-10):
    • Since I finally got my hands on a FreeBSD machine, many improvements have been done for FreeBSD. Package Installation finally works now and the INDEX-5 file is also finally honored if you run FreeBSD 5.x.
    • FreeBSD users tracking FreeBSD -current should take a look into the src/Makefile and verify that all FreeBSD specific variables are set correctly.
    • A correct implementation for the case when the root shell is set to something non standard on OpenBSD and tset is called has been made. A workaround for this problem for versions of the pbrowser which do not handle this case properly would be to set the root shell back to the default value.