You want to download an application/game package for your FreeBSD PC, without internet it is hard on *BSD or, GNU/Linux unless you have the software on discs.

This made me to resolve to write a basic shell script to download a package and its dependencies for a FreeBSD 10 machine. As this is the OS I am using day to day.

However, when I started dwelling deeper I noticed FreeBSD’s pkg already had it covered!  🙂

You need following:

  1. A FreeBSD PC which is connected to internet, the architecture must match that of the target where you want to install the packages.
  2. pkg installed on this internet machine running FreeBSD.
  3. root privileges on this machine
  4.  A storage medium to transfer packages from this machine to another.


With above ready you can then use the following command to download a package and its dependencies.

# mkdir /root/off-pac

# pkg fetch   -d -o  /root/off-pac   vlc

Updating FreeBSD repository catalogue…
FreeBSD repository is up-to-date.
All repositories are up-to-date.
The following packages will be fetched:

New packages to be FETCHED:




libdvbpsi-1.2.0 (0.09% of 118 MiB: 104 KiB)
opus-1.1.1_1 (0.20% of 118 MiB: 243 KiB)

The process will require 118 MiB more space.
118 MiB to be downloaded.

Proceed with fetching packages? [y/N]:

That is it!

This will download all packages necessary to install vlc. Now you  need to transfer the directory /root/off-pac to your storage medium and install the application on your FreeBSD PC which is not connected to internet.

This is easier than I was expecting, I wonder what I can do for Debian similarly.

Update[10 March 2016]:

There is a gotcha which I had not covered as I had not faced it ;), the default FreeBSD repository is pointed to the quarterly release branch, that is applications are updated once in three months or so.

But as the RELEASE disc comes with a fixed package set, using applications from the quarterly can cause issues, especially with the dependencies. It is better to stick to the RELEASE repository.

In my example I had tried this on FreeBSD RELEASE 10.2, but some of the libraries were old by the time I started downloading packages from the official quarterly repository.

This is simple to solve as pkg in FreeBSD supports configuring and use of multiple repositories.

How to configure this:

Find out the release URI for the FreeBSD version you want packages for by visiting

In my case the OS was 64 bit and RELEASE 10.2, so I noted the following URI:

Copy the default pkg repository at /etc/pkg/FreeBSD.conf config to /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/r102.conf

I choose r102.conf, it could be any arbitrary name. But must end with .conf! Choose something meaningful 🙂

cp /etc/pkg/FreeBSD.conf /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/r102.conf

Now edit the r102.conf file replace the url variable and it would look something like this:

r102: {
url: “pkg+${ABI}/release_2“,
enabled: true,
signature_type: “fingerprints”,
fingerprints: “/usr/share/keys/pkg”,
mirror_type: “srv”

Refresh the repository cache:

pkg update

You can now install applications from this repository:

pkg install-r r102 vlc

Now to fetch packages from this repository, use the -r switch, like:

pkg fetch   -d -o  /root/off-pac  -r r102  vlc

What this does is it downloads vlc from the repository configured in r102. The packages downloaded like this should be compatible with the libraries you might have installed using the RELEASE disc.