living with freebsd

Manolis Kiagias sonicy at
Mon May 5 05:36:26 UTC 2008

prad wrote:
> i'd like to know how people live with freebsd.
> do you use only ports or only packages or a mixture?
> do you upgrade from version to version using freebsd tools or do it
> manually?
> do you have a different approach regarding the above depending on
> whether it is for a server or a desktop?
> the handbook tells you what you can do, but i'd like to know what is
> actually done and why.
You will probably get too many different views - it is a flexible system 
after all.
For example, I rarely mix ports and packages. On my small home server 
(which also doubles as a workstation for light use) everything is 
compiled from ports. This includes which took more than a 
day to download and compile. I doubt I'll ever upgrade it the same way...
On this machine I am using the XFCE desktop, which I start manually from 
the command line when used as a desktop. But on a real dedicated 
desktop, I would use Gnome (or KDE).
As for versions, I always run -RELEASE. I would go to STABLE if I 
desperately needed a feature not present in RELEASE, but this hasn't 
happened yet. I am using freebsd-update to get security updates / 
patches and then recompile my kernel when needed. I also used 
freebsd-update to get to 7.0-RELEASE from 7.0-RC1.  Quite painless.

For desktop machines, especially when I need to get them up and running 
quickly, I use packages. You can either use the stable packages from the 
site (by setting the PACKAGESITE env variable) or use another machine to 
compile your own (have a look at ). I 
almost never use the CD packages (except maybe for demonstration 
purposes) since they get outdated really quickly.

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