To src or not to src, docs and ports are the question!

Just as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question – Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer, do you suffer whether or not to include src, docs, and ports when performing a fresh install of FreeBSD 10?

Let’s take a look at the options presented during the installation process:


FreeBSD Distribution Selection Screen Shot


Referencing the FreeBSD HandBook a description of each is provided:

  • doc – Additional documentation, mostly of historical interest
  • games – Several traditional BSD games, including fortunerot13, and others
  • lib32 – Compatibility libraries for running 32-bit applications on a 64-bit version of FreeBSD
  • ports – The FreeBSD Ports Collection
  • src – System source code

Whether to include docs, ports, src or any of the other options is a matter of personal perspective since these options can be installed at a later date.

  • doc – Never include:  Since the documentation is mostly of historical interest, best practice dictates to leave this option unchecked to avoid wasting disk space.  Of course, the information is always available on  Additionally, the documentation can be installed via the ports tree at misc/freebsd-doc-all
  • games – Always include: Never take away a sys admin’s fun!  And really, Fortune is so cool
  • lib32 – Always include:  64-bit is the future and lib32 ensures backwards compatibility with applications
  • ports – Always include:  Better to extract the ports tar ball now then update ports via “portsnap fetch update”
  • src – Always include:  When least expected, src will be needed at some point.  Also, updating src via subversion is easy and a topic for an additional discussion


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