Wisdom of automating upgrades
peter at circlesquared.com
Tue Jun 8 06:15:56 PDT 2004
The main cost of having computers for most companies lies not in
software or hardware, but in support. I have been pondering the wisdom
of automating the upgrade process, so that sources are cvsup'ed nightly
and make buildworld buildkernel etc and portupgrade happen overnight
maybe once a week or month - and perhaps every day a security fix is
Windows and Mac users are accustomed to automatic software updates on
server products as well as desktops, so there is a competitive issue
here. I've persuaded a number of companies to switch to FreeBSD and want
to ensure the commercial logic of doing so is as complete as possible.
cvsup'ing overnight is routine and fine.
The make build/install stuff seems a bit more delicate. I'm happy that I
have figured out how to automate this, but not _whether_ I should do so.
I am of course only considering tracking RELENG_4 at this stage.
Ports are perhaps more likely to be problematic (though less likely to
be a blocker to remote fixing than a failure to boot). Having said that,
deprecation of versions and ports is fairly rare and keeping track of a
small group in common use is feasible.
I'd be grateful for any input on this. I can picture waking up to find
that every machine I administrate is simultaneously *#!$%ed one morning.
On the other hand, I like to provide the best value I can for clients
and at the moment I have to charge for my time whenever an upgrade is
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