Help understanding basic FreeBSD concepts (ports, updates, jails)

Randi Harper randi at
Sun Nov 8 03:19:53 UTC 2009

On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 9:31 AM, Roger <rnodal at> wrote:

> My second concerned is the ports. In the file "ports-supfile" there is
> one option, "*default release=cvs tag=.".
> I believe this specifies which cvs tag to use when pulling files from
> the ports. At one point I had "*default release=cvs
> tag=RELEASE_7_2_0".
> When I pulled the ports using the "RELEASE_7_2_0" tag and tried to
> build "portsupgrade" the installation failed because the ruby version
> that was going to be installed I believe had a security problem. (I
> love the fact that I was stopped from installing software that is
> KNOWN to be vulnerable).
> I figured that maybe I needed to get the latest version. So I went
> ahead and changed the cvs tag to "." (which I believe means the head
> version).

Don't bother with any of that. Just use portsnap. It's also part of base,
and was written by the same person that wrote freebsd-update. It's lovely
and much faster, although some people may argue with me on that.

I updated the ports and then tried the installation again, this time
> the installation went further but failed again due to the fact that
> my libtool (I can't remember the exact name) was older than what the
> installation required. So that threw me off.
> I believe that libtool is part of the base system and not the ports,
> correct?
>  So that made me think that maybe because of using the latest version
> of the ports I can build certain ports if my base is not
> concurrent (in terms of what the ports requires and what my system
> offers) with the port system.
> So my question is this, if my FreeBSD release is 7.2-RELEASE-p4 which
> tag should I set for the ports system?
> Should I put the tag "RELEASE_7_2_0" and then wait for a security fix
> of the particular port (ruby) and then proceed to install?
> What is the recommended approach if your aim is to have your system up
> to date and stable?

For your system, use freebsd-update. For your ports tree, use portsnap. For
installed ports, use portupgrade or portmanager. I'm more fond of
portmanager, but it seems portupgrade has many more users. Both portupgrade
and portmanager are available in the ports tree, not base.

-- randi

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