Free BSD 8.1

Polytropon freebsd at
Tue Sep 28 07:38:07 UTC 2010

On Tue, 28 Sep 2010 02:24:26 -0500, Ryan Coleman <ryan.coleman at> wrote:
> As I understand it: The OS itself is stable, but the ports are
> constantly in flux and may be issues.

Not exactly. It depends on which update road you follow.

Say, you use freebsd-update (the binary update), or use c(v)sup
to track -RELEASE (including the security patches), your OS is
stable. Certain points in time can be addressed by a specific
patch level, e. g. -RELEASE-p1 for the first one, -RELEASE-p2
for the second one, and so on.

If you track -STABLE by using c(v)sup (doesn't work with the
binary freebsd-update!), your OS is also stable. There is no
further "versioning" as with the patch levels; the date decides.
As you can't binary upgrade here, compiling yourself is needed.

But if you track -CURRENT (means -HEAD), it *might* be that the
OS won't even compile, or runs unstable. This is due to the fact
that *this* branch does sometimes include experimental changes
or features that are tested, and maybe removed later on. It's
obvious that you need to retrieve the sources and compile your-
self in this case, too.

Ports, on the other hand, are not related to the OS version. If
you use -RELEASE for example, you can, if it fits your needs,
stay with the default ports tree that has been "issued" the same
time the release came out. This is the state you'll find on the
installation media. You can also use the precompiled packages.

If you decide to upgrade your ports tree because you need newer
versions or specific features, it *may* be possible that a certain
point in time of -RELEASE is not sufficient, and this might force
you to change your road to follow -STABLE. This can either be the
case by installing from an updated ports tree or from Latest/
packages (instead of RELEASE one's).

Summary: -RELEASE and -STABLE are stable, -CURRENT or -HEAD do not
neccessarily have to be.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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