6.4. Ports with Distribution Restrictions or Legal Concerns

Licenses vary, and some of them place restrictions on how the application can be packaged, whether it can be sold for profit, and so on.


It is the responsibility of a porter to read the licensing terms of the software and make sure that the FreeBSD project will not be held accountable for violating them by redistributing the source or compiled binaries either via FTP/HTTP or CD-ROM. If in doubt, please contact the FreeBSD ports mailing list.

In situations like this, the variables described in the next sections can be set.


This variable indicates that we may not generate a binary package of the application. For instance, the license may disallow binary redistribution, or it may prohibit distribution of packages created from patched sources.

However, the port's DISTFILES may be freely mirrored on FTP/HTTP. They may also be distributed on a CD-ROM (or similar media) unless NO_CDROM is set as well.

If the binary package is not generally useful, and the application must always be compiled from the source code, use NO_PACKAGE. For example, if the application has configuration information that is site specific hard coded into it at compile time, set NO_PACKAGE.

Set NO_PACKAGE to a string describing the reason why the package cannot be generated.

6.4.2. NO_CDROM

This variable alone indicates that, although we are allowed to generate binary packages, we may put neither those packages nor the port's DISTFILES onto a CD-ROM (or similar media) for resale. However, the binary packages and the port's DISTFILES will still be available via FTP/HTTP.

If this variable is set along with NO_PACKAGE, then only the port's DISTFILES will be available, and only via FTP/HTTP.

Set NO_CDROM to a string describing the reason why the port cannot be redistributed on CD-ROM. For instance, use this if the port's license is for non-commercial use only.


Files defined in NOFETCHFILES are not fetchable from any of MASTER_SITES. An example of such a file is when the file is supplied on CD-ROM by the vendor.

Tools which check for the availability of these files on MASTER_SITES have to ignore these files and not report about them.


Set this variable alone if the application's license permits neither mirroring the application's DISTFILES nor distributing the binary package in any way.

Do not set NO_CDROM or NO_PACKAGE along with RESTRICTED, since the latter variable implies the former ones.

Set RESTRICTED to a string describing the reason why the port cannot be redistributed. Typically, this indicates that the port contains proprietary software and that the user will need to manually download the DISTFILES, possibly after registering for the software or agreeing to accept the terms of an EULA.


When RESTRICTED or NO_CDROM is set, this variable defaults to ${DISTFILES} ${PATCHFILES}, otherwise it is empty. If only some of the distribution files are restricted, then set this variable to list them.


If the port has legal concerns not addressed by the above variables, set LEGAL_TEXT to a string explaining the concern. For example, if special permission was obtained for FreeBSD to redistribute the binary, this variable must indicate so.

6.4.7. /usr/ports/LEGAL and LEGAL

A port which sets any of the above variables must also be added to /usr/ports/LEGAL. The first column is a glob which matches the restricted distfiles. The second column is the port's origin. The third column is the output of make -VLEGAL.

6.4.8. Examples

The preferred way to state "the distfiles for this port must be fetched manually" is as follows:

IGNORE=	may not be redistributed because of licensing reasons. Please visit some-website to accept their license and download ${DISTFILES} into ${DISTDIR}

This both informs the user, and sets the proper metadata on the user's machine for use by automated programs.

Note that this stanza must be preceded by an inclusion of bsd.port.pre.mk.

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