freebsd version numbers

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Mon Jun 1 09:34:15 UTC 2009

Pieter Donche wrote:
> I upgraded to Freebsd systems from 7.0 to 7.2
> on the first one, done May 25th, I use the generic kernel
> $ uname -a reports: 7.2-RELEASE #0
> on the second one, done 3 days later (May 28th)
> on this system I also build and installed a custom kernel after upgrade.
> $ uname -a reports:  7.2-RELEASE #1
> Why is this different? (#0 versus #1)
> What does #Number actually mean: is this the same as -pNumber used in
> the mails from   @daily          root    freebsd-update cron
> "The following files will be updated as part of updating to
> X.Y-RELEASE-pNumber"

No, it's nothing like that.  It's a count of the number of times a
kernel has been built from a particular source tree.  Unless you're
doing active kernel development it doesn't mean anything much.

> If not, what is the difference ?
> what's the difference between version, level, patchlevel, 'release
> level', 'version level of a release' (any others ?), ...


which explains quite a lot of that sort of thing.  Effectively there are
releases made at approximately regular intervals of about 4 months.
These have names like '7.2-RELEASE'.  When significant problems or
security holes are discovered, patches will be produced for any
supported releases. These have names like '7.1-RELEASE-p5' where the
p-number is just a counter showing how many patches there have been
since the actual release.  There may be several major versions with
releases being made from them -- e.g. 6.4-RELEASE and 7.1-RELEASE came
out pretty much simultaneously.  The next release due is 8.0-RELEASE,
but there will be 7.3-RELEASE sometime after that.  There's a new major
version approximately every 18 months, from which there will typically
be 4 or 5 minor version releases).

In addition to the releases there are two types of development streams
that you can track: at the moment that's 8.0-CURRENT also known as HEAD
(the bleeding edge which is not at all suitable for beginners, nor would
any sensible person run anything important on it) and then the various
STABLE streams such as 7.2-STABLE a.k.a RELENG_7 (STABLE here is a
comment on the runtime characteristics of the OS, not on the rate of
change of the code base -- these are active development branches).
Around the time a release is made, the STABLE streams change name to eg.
7.3-PRERELEASE and possibly a few others, but it's all from the same CVS



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       Flat 3
                                                      7 Priory Courtyard
PGP:         Ramsgate
                                                      Kent, CT11 9PW, UK

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