Freebsd-update to 9.3 from 9.2

Doug Hardie bc979 at
Sat Jul 19 09:56:41 UTC 2014

On 18 July 2014, at 16:40, Michael Powell <nightrecon at> wrote:

> Doug Hardie wrote:
> [snip]
>> svn doesn't work either:
>> svn checkout /usr/src
> Incorrect syntax, which creates a new problem that didn't exist yet.

Thats interesting.  The command I used came directly from the manual.  It also worked.  There is a real problem with the documentation for upgrading the base and ports.  The typical man page structure only tells you what the various flags are etc.  It doesn't tell you how to accomplish the normal goals.  There needs to be some direction and examples on using these things for the normal admin functions of updating a system.

>> The latest version of UPDATING I get is from 20130705.  The web repository
>> shows the latest entry as 20140716.  I have used FreeBSD since 2.5.4 and
>> it used to be easy to manage.  Now its virtually impossible.  Complete
>> reinstalls on production systems are just not viable.  We need a working
>> way to upgrade.  I haven't found it yet.
> I have exactly zero experience with freebsd-update, and do not want to seem 
> disparaging towards the work of someone much smarter than me. I also have a 
> noted tendency to stick with what has worked well in the past and don't 
> change things until either I have a really good reason or some other change 
> makes trying "the new way" mandatory with no choice. Hence I still do 
> upgrades along the make world/buildworld/etc dance. Generally speaking, I've 
> been doing it this way since circa 2000 and have had almost never a problem 
> so I stick with it.
> Under a populated /usr/src there is a .svn subdirectory. I actually know 
> very little about subversion, but I think this directory contains all the 
> internal housekeeping. I've noticed before the header in many of the files 
> I've read through all seem to contain OS version information. If you have a 
> populated /usr/src you can cd to /usr/src and do rm -rf * and this will wipe 
> everything _except_ the .svn subdirectory. You will first need to chflags -R 
> noschg on this directory before you can rm -rf it.

There is no mention of any of that in the manual…

> Once wiped clean, do this:
> svn checkout svn://  /usr/src
> Please note the svn:// , releng instead of release, and the space before 
> /usr/src. This will pull in a fresh source tree for 9.3. To update do this:
> svn update /usr/src
> Usually running this immediately after pulling in a fresh tree does nothing, 
> other than tell you you're already at the latest. If time goes by and 
> security updates come out the svn update /usr/src command will pull in what 
> once was known as the release 'security' branch. Of course, any of this only 
> applies to NOT using freebsd-update.
> One of the really neat things I do like is the revision number. You will see 
> it in uname like this: 9.3-RELEASE FreeBSD 9.3-RELEASE #0 r268715. I have 
> one machine left that only has a CD burner instead of the DVD burner all the 
> others enjoy. So in order to fit a backup dump on a CD I have to delete the 
> source tree. If at some point later I should need to pull in the source tree 
> that matches my existing kernel  I look up the revision number in uname and 
> do something like this:
> svn checkout -r r268715 svn://  
> /usr/src
> Using the revision numbers in this fashion allows for world and kernel to 
> stay in sync. Typically this is not required most of the time, but I like 
> very much that the feature exists and is so easy to utilize.
> I can't speak to the original situation where the source tree was stale after 
> freebsd-update. I simply just know next to nothing about freebsd-update, 
> other than problems people have had with it that I've read about on the 
> list. I've been steadily doing source based upgrades for 14 years and it 
> works so I keep doing it that way.   :-)

I have been using the freebsd-update approach on several systems without issues till now.  Some use generic kernels and then it works great.

> -Mike
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