Should I be able to use mergemaster with freebsd-update?

Eugene genie at
Tue Jul 9 15:44:11 UTC 2013

Hi all,

A small followup:

Looks like freebsd-update does try to rebuild the password database but does
not quite succeed, leaving binary files in somewhat corrupted state, this 
leading to some problems when trying to add new users later. This is 
discussed here:

However the master.passwd is fine, thus as a workaround you can simply run 
vipw to resave master.passwd, then vipw regenerates binary password 
databases correctly and everything works quite nicely.

Best wishes

-----Original Message----- 
From: Eugene
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 8:37 PM
To: freebsd-questions at
Subject: Re: Should I be able to use mergemaster with freebsd-update?

Hi all,

In case anybody was following this discussion, I have successfully upgraded
the system from 8.2 to 8.4 using freebsd-update. The process did have some
glitches (in retrospect, minor ones) but mostly they were not related to
freebsd-update (like some issues with gmirror and firewall configurations).
The data merging phase was quite bearable and reasonable (if a bit tedious)
and all the databases got properly updated.

Thanks to everyone involved!


-----Original Message----- 
From: Mike Brown
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 6:22 AM
To: freebsd-questions at
Subject: Re: Should I be able to use mergemaster with freebsd-update?

On Tue, Jun 25, 2013, at 15:29, Eugene wrote:
> I do not quite understand. Is the freebsd-update upgrade process
> completely broken?

IMHO it is partially broken; I'm not doing anything special. How broken it
depends on what's getting changed. Most of what the system is designed to
it indeed does very well. It also overlaps some of the functionality of
mergemaster in that it automatically merges as many files as it can, which

Where it is under-designed and under-implemented is in its rudimentary
handling of un-mergeable files, and in its total lack of support for the
regeneration of /etc/*.db files (like the, uh, rather important password
database) and sendmail aliases - things that you would handle via
in an ordinary, source-based upgrade, but which you must now figure out how
do by hand, without any guidance, and they really don't make it easy for


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