Upgrading the base system

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Upgrading a FreeBSD system is relatively painless if the proper steps are followed.

Traditional update

The standard way to upgrade a FreeBSD system is to update the source code to the new version then recompile the source and install. There are automatic commands for much of the process.

In overview the steps are:

  • Backup important files
  • Update the system source code (csup over the internet or install source from a new CD)
  • Read /usr/src/UPDATING to look for any gotcha's or recent changes
  • Compile the source for the system except for the kernel (make buildworld)
  • Compile the source for the kernel (make buildkernel)
  • Install any critical config files that have been updated (mergemaster -p)
  • Install the new kernel if it has built successfully (make installkernel)
  • Reboot to run the new kernel
  • Drop to single user mode (see init)
  • Install the rest of the system (make installworld)
  • Update the config files (mergemaster)

Quick update

The command freebsd-update can be used to update the base system only on release versions of FreeBSD. Sometimes the kernel has to be recompiled after running this program. To fetch updates and install run:

#freebsd-update fetch install

For information about the different FreeBSD release branches, look at FreeBSD Release Branches. For a specialized HOWTO regarding updating from FreeBSD 5.4 to FreeBSD 6.0, see Updating to FreeBSD 6.0

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