The joys of ZSH! (Re: What we're doing with FreeBSD (was Re: Newbies or trolls?))

James O'Gorman james at
Tue May 16 21:20:12 BST 2006

S. Anthony Sequeira wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-05-16 at 20:43 +0100, James O'Gorman wrote:
>> Since I made the switch from Debian, I've honestly never looked back.
>> It's a much easier system to administer, and works wonderfully most of
>> the time (hey, nothing works 100% all of the time). Things like the
>> base
>> system and kernel being a whole, rather than lots of separate things
>> just seems to make more sense and makes for a much easier upgrade. 
> This is my quibble with FreeBSD.  AFAIK there is _no_ easy upgrade path
> from major version to major version, whereas Debian does have the
> admirable 'apt-get dist-upgrade'.  If things have changed, I would be
> extremely happy to know.

True, there's nothing akin to apt-get dist-upgrade, but then FreeBSD is
more about source-based stuff anyway. Even so, you can just boot off the
install CD and do a binary upgrade that way (or if you're really feeling
brave, download the release and run sysinstall from the disk!)

Otherwise there's the good old cd /usr/src; make buildworld && make
kernel && make installworld (with relevant mergemasters added in, of

Colin Percival has also release freebsd-update which does binary
updates, but I think that's only for security updates. I wonder if he
could adapt it to do a binary release update...

> I still have a FreeBSD 4.11-STABLE server that I need to upgrade, I have
> just managed to move all the services off it, and will probably be
> installing Debian for this very reason.

Unfortunately moving from 4.x is best to do a reinstall anyway,
otherwise you won't benefit from UFS2. I think 6.0 at least is
definitely worth the upgrade/reinstall.

> This is just about the only thing stopping me from using BSD, I am very
> impressed with what I have seen.

Well, you don't have to upgrade to every new version that comes out (for
example, my main server is going to skip 6.1, and probably wait till 6.2
or 6.3), and the ports tree is updated often enough that even if the
base system is getting a little stale, you can still have up-to-date

(As an aside, I have one machine which runs Joe Marcus Clarke's
tinderbox, so can build packages for any release I put on it - I've got
a 5.4 machine building packages for 5.4 and 4.11.)


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