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CTM (CVS Through Mail) is a method for keeping a remote directory tree in sync with a central one. You can use it to keep both the system source and the ports tree current.

The ctm program is part of the FreeBSD base (after 2.0). To update a tree, first obtain the appropriate deltas by ftp (mirrors) or by subscribing to the right mailing list. The trees are:

  • src-3, src-4, src-5 or src-cur for the respective stable branches or the current branch of the system base
  • ports-cur for the latest port tree
  • cvs-cur for the entire cvs tree

The first time you update, you will need to download the latest 'base' delta (with 'xEmpty' in its name) which can be quite large. After that you only need the small differential updates.

To update a tree (say the src-5 tree) do as root

# cd /usr/src
# ctm -v /path/to/downloaded/delta/src-5.xxxx.gz

The -v is for verbose output (see man ctm). Similarly for the ports tree you would cd to /usr/ports and run the corresponding delta through ctm.

For more options see Using CTM in the FreeBSD handbook. Also see updating the system.

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