Upgrade to 11.2 failure

Scott Ballantyne boyvalue at gmail.com
Thu Dec 20 18:52:12 UTC 2018

Ok, this is here as a cautionary tale, not as flamebait. Let me preface
this by saying I've been
a FreeBSD user for 20+ years and this is the very first time I've had this
experience. Up until today, I have been a very happy FreeBSD user with my
home and
several remote systems running flawlessly.

First, all praise to the freebsd ZFS team. Without their solid work, I would
be in really deep trouble at the moment.

If you read my earlier message, you know that this all started when I tried
upgrade firefox. That hosed the GUI and so now I have to ssh to the box.

I'm running 10.4, so the obvious thing to do (which a few people pointed
was to upgrade to 11.2 or 12.x.

I've used FreeBSD-update many times, no problems. So I proceeded to do this.
All went as expected until the pkg-static upgrade -f step, which core
dumped. i ran
 a debugger on it, but it is compiled with no symbols, so I can't give much
more detail.

Out of curiosity, I ran pkg-static to update my emacs. That identified
hundreds of
binaries whose ABI had changed, so I updated those. pkg-static upgrade -f
seg faulted after that, so I tried pkg-static autoremove after which it
a few files. I finished with the required final run of freebsd-install and

Now I couldn't login at all. The system wasn't recognizing my credentials.
I booted to single-user, thinking
that perhaps I had made an error in editing the password files during the
merge, but they were fine. I also
discovered that even after the apparently successful runs of
freebsd-install and pkg-static upgrade -f that
there was software on the system that couldn't find the proper libraries to

This was obviously a disaster. Fortunately, I had taken zfs snapshots of
the filesystems prior to the upgrade
and was able to roll things back to the point where only the GUI was hosed.
So once again, thanks are
due to the creators and porters of ZFS.

Obviously, many people have succeeded in doing this and perhaps I made some
error, although, as I have said
I have done this many, many times. It does seem that the freebsd-update/pkg
system is more fragile than
I have thought. This isn't a big deal for the stuff I have at homes, but I
have come to rely on this combo
to update systems to which I don't have physical access. Now I am a bit
concerned about doing that.

When I have more time, I will go back to my older method of building the
system from source. But for now
this will have to do.

Thanks for reading :)

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list