Keeping FreeBSD with custom kernel up to date: freebsd-update no option?

andreas scherrer ascherrer at
Tue Apr 16 19:38:20 UTC 2013

Dear FreeBSD savvies

I am (still) struggling to understand how to keep my FreeBSD system up
to date ("world"/system, not ports). I want to "track" RELEASE (not a
development branch) and I want to receive security related updates. And
I want to run a custom kernel.

>From what I understand I cannot use "freebsd-update" in this case
because it will invariably either overwrite my custom kernel (if I have
"Components kernel" in the config file) or not update the kernel sources
in /usr/src/sys (when I do not have "Components kernel" in the config
file). See [1].

This leaves me with the only possibility to use SVN to update /usr/src,
right? I have a copy of the SVN sources (for the outdated RELEASE-9.0.0
but that's a different story), see below for "svn info"). As I
understand [2] I cannot mix freebsd-update and SVN, right?

So I can run "svn update" in /usr/src whenever I like. But what then? Do
I need to rebuild the world and my custom kernel every time I run "svn
update" (and there are some updates)? I'm on a low powered consumer
device and it takes considerable amount of time to build the world and
kernel (plus I still don't feel comfortable doing such tasks remotely).

Is this really "the way to do it" or am I missing something?

There are quite some posts, websites and threads out there (see [3] or
[4] for example) about this topic but (surprisingly?) I could not (yet)
find a conclusive answer.

Any hints, help, tutorials or corrections would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards


# svn info
Path: .
Working Copy Root Path: /usr/src
Repository Root:
Repository UUID: ccf9f872-aa2e-dd11-9fc8-001c23d0bc1f
Revision: 248546
Node Kind: directory
Schedule: normal
Last Changed Author: kensmith
Last Changed Rev: 229307
Last Changed Date: 2012-01-02 19:59:55 +0100 (Mon, 02 Jan 2012)

Ps.: Is there a way I can contact "someone" (Tom Rhodes?) about the
outdated freebsd-update documentation (concerning the custom kernel
handling) in the Handbook ("FreeBSD Update" [5])?


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