Getting started with FreeBSD

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at
Wed Oct 11 11:07:48 PDT 2006

On 2006-10-11 08:45, cothrige <cothrige at> wrote:
> * Tore Lund (toreld at wrote:
> > 
> > I wondered about the same thing some time ago.  I was told by one of the
> > gurus to try packages-6-stable, which would most likely work with
> > 6.1-RELEASE.  So I tried to fetch the latest Firefox in this way:
> > 
> > pkg_add [no line break]
> > ftp://ftp.<mirror>,1.tbz
> Doesn't this seem a tad clunky and unfinished?  I am still having a
> bit of trouble figuring out what I am overlooking.  Why would a fully
> binary installed OS offer no binary support for updates at all?

Oh but we do.  Just have a look at "freebsd-update", "portsnap" and

> Why have a nice secure RELEASE edition when once installed it will
> naturally develop security holes that are very hard to find and fix?

Because in FreeBSD we don't install a system that fires up the kitchen
sink, the hairdresser and a few local classical orchestras, when it
starts.  You know the feeling... I mean, after all, you are a
_Slackware_ user, right? :)

Security updates can be fetched pretty fast with `freebsd-update' and
they don't always affect you.  So, if there's no need to upgrade to the
latest and greatest release of all the other things, why do it for your
base system?

> One of the things I don't get is the stable vs. release concept.
> There is basically nothing said to address this.

Heh!  You areally _are_ a new FreeBSD user, after all.  This is,
typically, the first question one asks after the first "Oh!  Ah!  Wow!
You mean it does... Awesome!" parts:

    ``What is "STABLE", "CURRENT" and what do I do with them?''

The answer is in the Handbook
( here: )

> I can imagine that the packages in packages-6.1-release are fixed and
> static, though it surprises me that no security fixes are placed
> there, but what about packages-6-stable?  These seem quite new,
> comparitively, and so I would assume that they are not static as
> release are.  And if they are in fact tracked and improved, how can
> they be accessed via the tools?

Try reading the manpages of the pkg_xxx tools:

    % man pkg_add
    % pkg_check
    % pkg_create
    % pkg_delete
    % pkg_info
    % pkg_sign
    % pkg_version

In FreeBSD, the manpages are _really_ informative and we try to keep
them up to date.  Learn to search through them, with apropos(1), to read
them carefully and you'll find a huge wealth of information.  No Linux
distrubition has *EVER* convinced me that they value their manpage
documentation as much as the FreeBSD people do.

- Giorgos

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