Welcome to the PC-BSD FAQS!
The FAQS (Frequently Asked Questions) are meant to answer the questions that users new to PC-BSD ask most. This document is under constant development, meaning that you may come across mistakes and out-of-date information. If you find a mistake or have a question you can't find an answer to, let us know on the Documentation Forum, the Documentation Mailinglist, or by leaving a comment at the PC-BSD Blog. We hope this FAQ is both simple and useful and makes using PC-BSD an enjoyable experience. We value your opinion and thank you for your support.
The FAQS are divided into categories. Each category contains related questions which you can click on to find their answers. You can use your browser's search utility to search for key words to help find the answer you are looking for. Or, you can read through FAQS that sound interesting and learn something new along the way.
If you can't find your answer here, it may be in the [PC-BSD Handbook].
How do I install software on my PC-BSD system?
The easiest way is to install PBI software using Software Manager. This is the recommended method as it does everything for you and provides an easy way to find, install, upgrade, and uninstall applications that have been tested to run on your PC-BSD system. It also ensures that you don't inadvertantly overwrite or delete files or libraries needed by the operating system or other applications. Instructions on how to use Software Manager are in this section of the PC-BSD Handbook.
Advanced users familiar with the FreeBSD ports and packages collection can use Ports Jail to safely manage their FreeBSD applications. Instructions on how to use Ports Jail can be found in this section of the PC-BSD Users Handbook. NOTE: using ports or packages outside of Ports Jail can over time render your system unusable, especially if a major library changes. Be forewarned and use Ports Jail.
It is not recommended that you download .tgz files directly from sites such as Sourceforge as most software needs to be ported to work on a FreeBSD/PC-BSD system. If the application you are looking for is not in Software Manager or Freshports (which allows you to search for all available FreeBSD ports/packages), it is better to submit a request for a PBI.
Can I use Linux software on my PC-BSD system?
First, you should know that most "Linux" software is really "open source" software. That is, it is freely available for many operating systems, not just Linux. Most software that runs on Linux should also run on PC-BSD.
Like FreeBSD, PC-BSD uses something called Linux Binary Compatability. In a nutshell, that means you can run many Linux applications as-is. This section of the FreeBSD Handbook explains this compatability in more detail and when it does not work.
However, you don't have to setup Linux Binary Compatability on your PC-BSD system as it is already configured for you and should "just work". To install applications, see the PC-BSD FAQ How do I install software on my PC-BSD system?.