freebsd-update killed my /var

andrew clarke mail at
Sun Dec 14 08:58:19 PST 2008

On Sun 2008-12-14 19:28:16 UTC+0500, FuLLBLaSTstorm (fullblaststorm at wrote:

> Recently I've run freebsd-update on my desktop machine, but it failed
> saying that it cannot save its files anymore to /var because the
> filesystem is full.

If you are short on disk space then from what I can tell it seems to
be harmless to erase everything under /var/db/freebsd-update before
you run "freebsd-update -r x.x-RELEASE upgrade".  The catch is that
you lose the ability to use the "freebsd-update rollback" command.

After all, /var/db/freebsd-update/ presumably begins life as an empty
folder after an initial install of FreeBSD.

That is my experience, anyway.  I may be wrong!

I assume the way "rollback" works is that if you use freebsd-upgrade
to upgrade from 6.2-REL to 6.3-REL, then again to 6.4-REL, the theory
is that you can reverse the upgrades all the way back to 6.2-REL
again.  Whether you'd actually want to do that... I'm not sure.  It
seems to me that if you upgraded to 6.4-REL, then you'd probably only
ever want to rollback as far back as 6.3-REL.  I guess the ability to
rollback multiple releases is provided mostly because it's possible,
and disk space is cheap.

I suppose you could always create a symlink:

mv /var/db/freebsd-update /var/db/freebsd-update.old
ln -s /disk/with/lots/of/space/freebsd-update /var/db/freebsd-update

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