Solved Portmaster - unknown traffic

Dear forum,

first if all I hope that I'm posting in the correct forum. Please correct me if it's wrong.

I noticed that there is a lot of traffic while upgrading ports with portmaster. I do not mean the actual download of source code, rather during the building process.
Also, there is almost no traffic when I use portupgrade or directly use make.

It would be nice to bring some light into this, since this might not only be some security issue but also slows down the actual download of source code.

Best regards,
I should add: I tried to analyze the traffic with nethogs and netstat, but I don't really understand what is happening...


Staff member
All these tools are basically wrappers around the ports build system. They don't have any networking code of themselves.
hmm... that doesn't explain the multiple fetch requests.
Might there be something wrong with my system/setup then?
Or is it trying to fetch all the required sources at once?

Deleted member 30996

I should add: I tried to analyze the traffic with nethogs and netstat, but I don't really understand what is happening...

In the beginning of the build ports-mgmt/portmaster determines all the dependencies required for the build. When you're ready to OK the build it lists everything that will be built along with the initial program you want to install.

During the build it fetches the dependencies. The last thing it will build will be the program you wanted in the first place, once all dependencies have been built.

That's what you're seeing, it's normal operation for using it. I use ports exclusively and ports-mgmt/portmaster when I do. Sometimes it takes long enough you can read where it's fetching it from. Fetching skins for XMMS usually took a few attempts.
Oh, I see.
I know how dependencies work.
It's okay to download while building, otherwise it would be a waste of time, I guess.
But it seems to be downloading multiple sources at once...
Since my internet connection is slow and I can't let the PC run for days, I would prefer to control the number of simultaneous downloads. Otherwise I will have to start over again and again resulting in zero progress...

I will try and check the manual once more. It's easy to overlook some details :)
Portmaster and Portupgrade ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

Portmaster is basically a simple macro and doesn't rely on any database. This means that to define dependencies, it launches multiple http/ftp queries directly to the decentralized port system . Portupgrade is a more complex tool written in ruby and relying on a local database.
As a consequence portupgrade doesn't need to fetch dependencies each time as list of dependencies is already in "cache" in its local database.

If you had make little effort to read the man page of each tool, you should have understood, this is well explain in the 'man page" of portmaster : "a simple tool not relying on any database"

I personally hate "portmaster" and "synth". Theses tools are too slow and for my own experience, upgrade process often abort unexpectedly..
I prefer "portupgrade", this is faster and portupgrade has some specific options. Just read the man page.
You can use portupgrade to do, at your own risks, more permissive things as forcing an install without updating the forward dependencies.
Portupgrade can automatically prefer to install a package rather than building a port if possible (the port to install has his options set to default and all dependencies of this port have also their options set up to default)... read again the man page

It is not recommended to mix "portmaster" and "portupgrade". Choose either one or the other, but using both cumulatively is totally useless. I have tried several time "portmaster" and "synth" and personally I definitively can't bear theses tools.
I use exclusively "portupgrade" since my beginnings on FreeBSD (FreeBSD 8), this is not a perfect tool, but I haven't found better.
Oh, thank you very much for your explanation and opinion.
I did look through the manpages. But I didn't notice anything about this downloading behaviour.

I also noticed that portmaster sometimes keeps trying to download something and doesn't come to an end. Aborting and restarting was often a solution...

Didn't notice that I shouldn't mix both. Thanks for the advice. I also feel that portupgrade is much faster.
I guess, I will completely switch to portupgrade then.

Either way, to close this thread, I will try to provide some more details.

Thank you Wozzeck.Live :)
By the way, my first experience with FreeBSD was with 7.2. haven't been using is ever since though. I changed to Linux back then.
But there are so many things going on over there that I don't like, so I wanted to come back to FreeBSD and give it a try again. Now that I am much more experienced. Still, there are many things to learn. O:‑)


If you are familiar with the way ports(7) work, I think you can use any of the tools that have been described in this thread. But if this is not the case, I would rather recommend synth(1) to build your ports(7) (poudriere(8) works fine but requires more settings IMHO).

Deleted member 30996

I love using ports and ports-mgmt/portmaster but have the time to do so and used it long enough I can work out any issues that might require my intervention. I used to use ports-mgmt/portupgrade but not since I discovered ports-mgmt/portmaster.

I occasionally have to use # make DISABLE_VULNERABILITIES=yes install clean when a port requires a dependency that has a vulnerability. Then go ahead with the build using portmaster.

pkg will install a vulnerable program for you without asking if it's OK to do so, but if time or stress on my machines was a factor I'd use pkg and do on OpenBSD.
Thanks. I tried pkg about two months ago. I don't know where it went wrong, but had many troubles with VirtualBox and other things.
Then I decided to use build the system and kernel and switch to using ports.
I'm experiencing a lot of differences.
Volume control and many other things seem to be better integrated.
By the way, I just noticed that portmaster already downloads things while waiting for the initial "Proceed? y/n"...
And what's more: With Nethogs, I can see that the port is changing about every second... :/

EDIT: Oh... I guess that's the address of my wifi network... That's strange...
EDIT2: it's just the two connections order changing. Nothing to worry about.


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Seems that portsmaster stops downloading after necessary things are fetched. I wish there was a bit more transparency and control about this.