Managing ports on multiple jails

Roland Smith rsmith at
Mon Nov 1 20:36:52 UTC 2010

On Mon, Nov 01, 2010 at 11:47:16PM +1100, David N wrote:
> Hi,
> I have multiple jails using ezjails, approx 20.
> Does anyone have any other ways to quickly upgrade multiple jails or
> even multiple boxes?

If you don't mind that all 20 boxes have the same software installed;

1)  Use one box or jail as the build box. Only this box/jail needs a ports
    tree. The others don't need /usr/ports, nor /var/db/ports or /var/db/pkg.
2a) In case of real boxes, rsync /usr/local from the build box to the other
    boxes. Then re-start updated ports.  
2b) In case of jails, have all but the build jail share (a read-only)
    /usr/local via nullfs. Use rsync to copy /usr/local from the build jail to
    the shared location of the other jails, then restart the upgraded ports on
    all jails.

Except from /usr/local, you might need to update stuff in other parts of the
filesystem, depending on the port. Like /etc/rc.conf, or sometimes stuff in

The usage of nullfs (with unionfs) is described on one of my web pages:
Look under the section "Using nullfs and unionfs for the ports tree in a jail".

Hope this helps.

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