Updating the system
Note: If you only want to install security updates, it's enough to subscribe to FreeBSD security notifications and follow the instructions in each advisory. Otherwise, read on.
In FreeBSD, the base system and ports can be updated independently if desired. Here's how to do it.
Updating the base system
To upgrade to a RELEASE version of FreeBSD, you can do one of three things:
- Do a binary Upgrade to a release version
- Do a binary Upgrade using the method described here
- Do a source upgrade as described here
A binary upgrade to a release version can be done by running sysinstall from the installation medium (e.g. CDROM). See the release notes of the release for details. Note that this will wipe out a lot of customizations.
Many open-source apps are under active development, so this is something you'll probably want to do quite regularly to ensure that you have the latest versions of everything.
First update the ports tree (/usr/ports/). This can be done via cvsup, ctm or portsnap. The ports can then be automatically updated using portupgrade or portmanager, which are capable of dealing with dependencies.
How do I download updates?
The most common method used is cvsup (see updating the ports tree). However, you might not be able to use it if you're behind a restrictive firewall (blocking tcp port 5999) or on a weak connection. In that case you can use ctm to obtain differential updates by email or ftp.
For updating the ports tree, a third option is available. Portsnap is an automated tool which offers many advantages over both the other methods:
- secure (uses cryptographic signing)
- very efficient in terms of bandwidth consumption and server load
- uses http only
- easy to use