freebsd-update(8) under sparc64? Why is it not available?

Colin Percival cperciva at
Fri Mar 26 15:00:39 UTC 2010

Hi all,

Marius Strobl wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 02:11:00PM +0000, Craig Butler wrote:
>>>>>> World build started on Sat Mar 20 23:34:54 EDT 2010
>>>>>> World build completed on Sun Mar 21 00:50:58 EDT 2010
>> Can we bend the rules a little ?? Who set the requirement of an hour ?
>> freebsd-update might be a good thing to have..
> IIRC it was Colin who once mentioned that this was decided
> by the Security Officers in order to be able to react to
> high impact security issues affecting multiple branches in
> a timely manner should the need ever arise. In any case
> he should be the right person to talk to about this so I
> CC'ed him.

The can-buildworld-in-an-hour is a rough rule of thumb, but
it's pretty good.  The issue here, as Marius said, is that we
want to be able to push out advisories promptly; this isn't a
problem when we're only dealing with one branch, but sometimes we
have issues which affects all the releases -- currently we support
{6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 8.0}, which is a fairly typical set -- and
each run of patch builds requires two complete buildworlds plus
some other stuff (kernel builds, comparing bits between builds,
shuffling them around, building binary patches)... so I imagine
that a 1.5 hour sparc64 buildworld time would put us at over 24
hours for a complete set of patch builds.  And that's not counting
the fact that every new FreeBSD release takes longer to build.

Some people have suggested in the past that we could do sparc64
update builds but not hold up advisories waiting for them -- but
I really don't like that option, since it would "train" people to
use binary updates rather than source updates, and the times when
they would need to wait -- time-sensitive security advisories --
are exactly the times when they shouldn't wait.

(As a side note, for obvious security reasons I don't want to add
hardware outside of the established datacenters for
this sort of thing.)

I think the best approach towards having FreeBSD Update support for
sparc64 is to get release cross-building working; that way we would
be able to use amd64 hardware, which I think we can safely assume
will continue to be available in ever-increasing speeds.

Colin Percival
Security Officer, FreeBSD | | The power to serve
Founder / author, Tarsnap | | Online backups for the truly paranoid

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