FreeBSD 'make install' Fails - Installing Programs Apps - Dies, Fails, Quits, Error Code - Tutorial, Howto, Newbie, Beginner, Tips, Tricks, Hints
'make install' fails, dies, quits on FreeBSD(TM)



  1. You have already installed FreeBSD.  If not, then click here: How to Install FreeBSD

  2. You have configured the FreeBSD shell.  If not, then click here: How to Configure the FreeBSD Shell

  3. Your 'ports tree' is up to date.  If you don't know, then it probably isn't current.  Update the ports tree by issuing one of these commands: Update the Ports Tree Using CVSup

  4. Here is how to configure your computer so that CVSup is run on a regular basis


    FreeBSD has advantages over other operating systems, one of which is the built-in dependency tracking of the 'ports system'.  What this means is that when you install a port:

    cd /usr/ports/SomeCategory/SomePort/
    make install
    while constructing and installing the 'SomePort' program, FreeBSD automatically also makes and installs any and all programs that 'SomePort' depends on for its operation.  At least that's the way that it is supposed to work.


    When it doesn't, you will usually see a number of errors output to the screen.  The most important one is the FIRST instance of:

    *** Error code 1
  5. Look just before this FIRST instance, and you will see some sort of reference to a program.  (By the way, if the 'Error code' number is something other than '1', it is likely that there is a problem inside the code, rather than it being a simple problem that is easy to fix.  Try the following steps in any case.)  Odds are this program has one of these problems:

    A. Isn't installed
    B. Older (or newer) version than is required.
    C. Installed incorrectly


  6. First, determine if the program is installed. To do this enter:

    pkg_info  |  more
    (The pipe character '|' is probably located on your keyboard as the shifted version of the '\' key).

    (The 'more' command after the pipe character tells the computer to only show a page of data at a time.  In order to see other pages, use the 'Pg Dn', 'Pg Up', 'Enter' keys, space bar, or arrow keys.)

  7. Look closely at all of the listings to find your 'SomePort'.  You should notice that the programs will be listed with their version numbers like so:


  8. If you do NOT see the dependent program listed, it is probably not installed.  In this case, try to install it.  (If the program IS installed, CLICK HERE to jump past the install steps.)

  9. Before you can install it, you need to find out where it resides.  The 'locate' program is good for that.  Enter something similar to:

    locate someprogram | more
  10. If that doesn't work, perhaps try the whereis or find commands:

    whereis someprogram | more

    find / -name "someprogram*"
  11. Look for the location of the appropriate file.  It will start with /usr/ports/.  You may need to reissue the 'locate' command if there are a number of listings and you can't find it on the first pass through.

  12. Next, as appropriate, change to the directory and install:

    cd /usr/ports/SomeCategory/SomeDependentPort/
    make install
  13. If everything goes OK, you should see a notice that the program has been installed.  You should NOT see any error messages.  Click here to jump past the next section since everything went OK.

    If there are errors, then you will need to 'deinstall', then 'reinstall'.  These steps are next:


    If the program is installed, but it isn't working, we will need to deinstall it, then reinstall it.  First, travel to its directory:

    cd /usr/ports/SomeCategory/SomeDependentPort/
  14. Next, enter:

    make deinstall
    Wait until it finishes.

  15. Now enter:

    make reinstall
    Once it has finished, it should give you some sort of message that it reinstalled properly.

  16. At this point, either we have either installed or reinstalled the dependent port.  So, let's go back and try again to install the original program:

    cd /usr/ports/SomeCategory/SomePort/
    make install


  17. If this procedure of manually installing programs doesn't seem to work, it's time to ask the experts.  There is a mailing list set up for just these types of problems.  It's called 'FreeBSD-Questions'.  By searching this list, you are likely to find an immediate answer to the problem you are having.  There are a number of sites that archive the FreeBSD-Questions mailing list, but seems to be the most convenient, since it arranges the postings by subject.  Just type in your relevant search terms in the search box:

    Click here to visit the archive of FreeBSD-Questions at

  18. If a search of the archives doesn't give you the answer you need, you can contact FreeBSD-Questions directly.  There are two ways to subscribe to the mailing list.

    Firstly, you can subscribe via the Web:

    Or, you can subscribe using email:

Here are some other FreeBSD related links:
How to Install FreeBSD

Shell Configuration

FreeBSD Device List

Hardware Burn-In Test Using FreeBSD

FreeBSD Commands Cheat Sheet

'make install' fails on FreeBSD

The FreeBSD 'Handbook' online

Search for Answers to Questions about FreeBSD

How to Install NTP (Network Time Protocol) software on FreeBSD

How to Install Samba file server software on FreeBSD

Mounting and Using the Floppy Drive in FreeBSD

Mounting and Using the CD-ROM Drive in FreeBSD

How to Find or Search for a Directory or a file

How to Preserve the Date and Time Stamp When Copying Files

How to Copy Files, and Directories recursively in FreeBSD / unix

How To Fix The 'Read Only File System' Problem When rc.conf is Corrupted on Freebsd

Random Passwords Generator

URL Decoder / Link Maker

AT YOUR OWN RISK: These instructions have no guarantee or warrantee of fitness for any purpose whatsoever--and none shall be implied or inferred.  If you use these and incur any kind of damage--it is your responsibility.

'make install' on FreeBSD quits. Dies, crashes, fails, Error Code 1. Configuration, Linux, Unix, Nix, Cheat Sheet for FreeBSD Installation. Configure, Options, Configuration, Howto, How To, FreeBSD.

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