Date of a FreeBSD installation

Devin Teske dteske at
Thu Jan 13 21:46:25 UTC 2011

On Thu, 2011-01-13 at 13:03 -0800, Chip Camden wrote:
> Quoth Chuck Swiger on Thursday, 13 January 2011:
> > On Jan 13, 2011, at 12:45 PM, Chip Camden wrote:
> > > On my system, /etc/termcap has the date well after my installation
> > > (Jun 28 2010) and /etc/rmt dates to well before (Nov 21 2009).  I first
> > > installed FreeBSD on this system on Apr 1 2010.
> > 
> > Certainly the target of the link would change; my /etc/termcap points to:
> > 
> > -r--r--r--  1 root  wheel  206901 Dec 14 21:03 /usr/share/misc/termcap
> > 
> > This particular box I'm looking at had been updated from FreeBSD-4.x through 7-STABLE, so a 2001 timestamp for the original installs seems about right.
> > 
> > I wonder, are you folks using something other than UFS for / filesystem...perhaps ZFS or whatever handles the dates on symlinks differently?
> > 
> > Regards,
> > -- 
> > -Chuck
> I'm all UFS.  My first installation was 8.0-RELEASE.  At that time, I
> don't think termcap was even a symlink, but I could be mistaken.
> I'm looking at the date on the symlink itself, not its target.

This is nearly always accurate on any FreeBSD system (when wanting to
query the date the machine was built):

	ls -l /etc/defaults/rc.conf

But again... not always. Though for all situations where the answer is
_NOT_ the correct answer... there's usually a damned-good explanation
why (the machine was rsync'd etc.), in which case I still consider the
date returned to be accurate (for any time /etc/defaults/rc.conf -- or
perhaps even better... /etc/rc -- is touched, I'd consider the system to
be "rebuilt" since those files should be somewhat "golden" on a system
-- read: never touched except during system upgrade or rsync etc.).
Devin Teske

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