Yesterday I need to build nmap out of the ports tree to test for open ports on a host. When I started the make install it told me that it need a later version of the pcre port and that I should deinstall/reinstall pcre which I proceeded to do.
This was a bad mistake. PCRE seems to be linked to almost “all” other ports and just upgrading pcre and its libraries breaks quite a lot of things. Even simple things like vim stopped working.
The easiest way to recover was to do the following:
1) read /usr/ports/UPDATING (note its not /usr/sys/UPDATING which is the only file I knew off)
2) cd /usr/ports/ports-mgmt/portmaster ; make install
3) portmaster -w devel/pcre (to correctly upgrade PCRE – information from UPDATING file in step 1)
4) portmaster -R pcre (update / rebuild all ports that rely on pcre)
After a few hours, everything completed with no issues.