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PC-BSD® provides a unique file format known as a PBI (push button installer). PBI files end with the .pbi extension and are self-contained installation programs. This means that even novice users can safely install and uninstall PBIs without inadvertently overwriting or deleting files needed by the operating system or other applications.
A PBI file includes all the runtime and library dependencies required by the application. This means that a PBI is a large file, but this does not necessarily mean that the installed PBI will be that large. During installation, the PBI system compares the currently installed libraries and files with the ones contained within the PBI file and only installs the ones that are not already installed on the system. A hash database is used to eliminate dependency problems while allowing the computer to share libraries between different programs.
In order to create a PBI, the software must already be ported to FreeBSD. The easiest way to confirm whether or not a FreeBSD port exists is to search for the software at. If a port does not exist, you can issue a port request at the PC-BSD® Port Requests forum using . Alternately, if you have ported software before, the contains detailed instructions for porting software to FreeBSD.
Creating a PBI from an existing FreeBSD port is a mostly automated process that does not require development skills. Some ports are effortless to convert while more complex ports may require some thought and simple scripting. Two utilities are available for converting a FreeBSD port into a PBI:
- EasyPBI: provides a graphical interface and is available in Control Panel. See the EasyPBI section of the Handbook for instructions on how to use this utility.
- pbi_makeport: provides a command line utility.