Help! Upgrade from fbsd 5.4 to 8.x

Erich Dollansky erich at
Sun Jan 31 11:30:03 UTC 2010


I did recently an unplaned update of a machine out of the same time.

You will face so many changes that simply setting up the machine newly might be less work.

Of course, do a good backup to at least two media and then install the new version.

One thing I experienced was a bit strange. 8.0 did not support my old USB hardware. I am running now 7.2 on the machine without problems.

Remember, the USD stack was rewritten from scratch.

I rescuded as much as possible from the old hard disk and copied it onto the new one, took the sources, compiled them, run mergemaster and it was working again with the exception of the group file. Ok, an editor fixed the problem.

As the problem became obvious while rebooting into the new kernel, you whould be able to switch back to your old kernel and then move back to 7.

I did not have this option.

On 31 January 2010 pm 12:08:05 Jeff Mitchell wrote:
>  	Hello my friends,
>  	I've just noticed one of my beloved headless shell boxen is 
> FreeBSD 5.4; its a workhorse I've been neglecting far too long and I'd 
> really like to bring it up to 'current' (say fbsd 8.x). For awhile it was 
> held back by very specific applications I had to support, but I'm in the 
> clear now.
>  	Given the age of the installation, I'm wondering what the 
> recommended upgrade path would be.
>  	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.
>  	o I should be able to identify most important changes and data; 
> /etc, /home, the kernel build path so I've got the old kernel conf files I 
> used for this machine (yay!), /usr/local was used instead of polluting 
> /usr-proper, etc.
>  	o I'd love if I coudl do an upgrade, and things would still work; 
> I mean, from samba configuration etc and so on, eveyrthign is great. I 
> realize this is unlikely though .. upgrading services likely means conf 
> changes all over the random place, etc.
>  	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 
> hoping thats not a problem here.)
>  	gcc (GCC) 3.4.2 [FreeBSD] 20040728
>  	The obvious options are..
>  	1 - upgrade step by step; go from fbsd 5.4 to 6.4 (say) to 7.2 
> (say) to 8.0
>  	2 - one big-ass upgrade from 5.4 to 8 (*fear*)
>  	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
>  	Strikes me most people will recommend (3) -- nice big new drive, 
> no risk of destroying a working machine (can always slap old drive back 
> in), easy migration of service by service, etc and so on. Strikes me as a 
> PITA, but then again .. the others are probably all PITAs as well given 
> the age of the box. Something will break, so maybe its best to just start 
> fresh with a nice new install and go from there.
>  	*ugh* but that'll teach me to stay on top of it more :)
>  	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 :)
>  		jeff
> --
> If everyone would put barbecue sauce on their food, there would be no war.
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