install, update, pkgs consistency

Gary Aitken freebsd at
Thu Aug 27 14:28:24 UTC 2020

On 8/27/20 12:47 AM, Steve O'Hara-Smith wrote:
> On Wed, 26 Aug 2020 22:31:30 -0600
> Gary Aitken <freebsd at> wrote:
>> I'm confused about the synchronization between a sys install, sys update,
>> and packages (as opposed to ports).
>> It was my understanding that packages are built to be consistent with the
>> OS, so that once the OS version is installed, any "pkg install" is
>> more-or-less guaranteed to be consistent and compatible with the OS and
>> other packages being installed.  true?
> 	Essentially yes - FreeBSD maintains ABI compatibility throughout
> the life of a major release (barring bugs and mistakes such as the DRM one
> between 12.0 and 12.1) so packages are built to the major release ABI.
> 	The ports tree from which the packages are built is continuously
> updated but quarterly snapshots are taken and used to make quarterly
> package updates. You can choose to follow the quarterly snapshots or live
> on the bleeding edge - by default the quarterly snapshots are what you get,
> controlled by /etc/pkg/FreeBSD.conf.
>> If I install a package shortly after installing the OS, then some months
>> later delete the package and install it again, will the same version be
>> installed (assuming I have not updated the system)?
> 	Probably not, you will get the version in the latest quarterly
> snapshot.
>> When the OS is upgraded, e.g. for security patches using freebsd-update,
>> does the package collection remain unchanged, or is it updated as well?
> 	It is updated independently of the OS at quarterly intervals for
> the snapshots and continuously for the latest.
>> If I install packages, then some months later update the system
>> (freebsd-update), could some of the previously installed packages
>> no longer function properly?
> 	Only if you cross a major version boundary or there's a screwup in
> maintaining ABI compatibility (those are very rare - I only recall one).
>> If I install packages, then some months later update the system, then
>> install more packages, could some of the new packages not function (or not
>> install) because of incompatibilities with previously installed packages?
> 	The install will also perform any necessary updates.
>> Why does /var/cache/pkg show multiple versions, some dated after the date
>> of the installed system, if pkgs are supposed to be tied to the original
>> sys install or update?
> 	Quarterly updates - 'nuff said ?

Thank you!

Are there semi-definite dates for quarterly updates, or some way to determine
when one was last made?

Is there a way to force a ports tree to be from the last or current quarterly


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