Help! Upgrade from fbsd 5.4 to 8.x

Roland Smith rsmith at
Sun Jan 31 08:33:58 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 11:08:05PM -0500, Jeff Mitchell wrote:
>  	ie: This machine has a lot going on .. wiki's (ie: apache et al), 
> mysql databases, mailing lists, and a dozen hand rolled applications. 
> (Hey, someone has to write custom emulators of ancient systems to keep 
> BBSes alive, right?) Naturally, /etc is modified all to hell, and I'm 
> terrified of any automated upgrades for fear random things would just not 
> work later. Especially with the age... Things work great, but I worry 
> about security naturally, and keeping up with patches or installing 
> anything new is a nightmare due to dependancies.

Realize that things like apache, mysql etc. will have changed since the 5.4
days as well. As for the files in /etc and /usr/local/etc, I tend to have a
~/setup/$HOSTNAME directory where I keep configuration files under revision
control. I use some perl scripts so check if e.g. a port or system has caused
any changes in /etc. There is also a script the installs the files in their
proper location and executes post-install commands. I've documented this on a

>  	o Some of the executables on this box are without source but I 
> still need them to run; short of moving them to a VM and doing some 
> voodoo, what are the chances a binary built for fbsd 5.x works fine in 
> 8.x? (earlier fbsd's had the break between gcc versions, but I'm rather 

The GENERIC kernel in 8.0 comes with the COMPAT_FREEBSD5 option by default, so
the only thing you need to do is to install the misc/compat5x port.

>  	3 - yank the drive, slap a giant new fat drive in there, do a full 
> fbsd 8.0 install, and then migration from old drive as needed

Definitely #3.

>  	Aside -- whats the recommended way to stay on top of upgrades 
> anyway? It used to be a tortuous process back 5 years ago, but hopefully 
> things are much more streamlined now .. nightly 'make upgrade' ftw :)

I tend to keep my main machine on RELEASE-pN, unless there is good reason to
follow STABLE (e.g. hardware support). As for ports, there is the following
weekly ritual;

    less /usr/ports/UPDATING
    portsnap fetch extract
    portmaster -a -B -d


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