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Date:      Sat, 23 May 2020 19:37:54 -0600
From:      "Kurt Buff - GSEC, GCIH" <>
To:        "" <>
Subject:   Re: updating a FreeBSD workstation
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Sat, May 23, 2020 at 12:39 AM Doug Denault <> wrote:
> Thoughts/questions on updating a FreeBSD desktop.
> This comes out of the "FreeBSD 12.0 end-of-life" thread. It seems to me there
> are two distinct sets of users: server and desktop. There have to be a few like
> me with a foot in each camp.

I am somewhat in the same situation - I am no longer primarily a
sysadmin, but have stood up a few servers, and currently I use a
couple of FreeBSD machines on our vSphere cluster, and FreeBSD as my
secondary desktop, running as a VM on VMWare Workstation Pro on my
personal Win10 laptop and under Hyper-V on my work laptop.

> The desktop is a whole different thing.

Why yes - it is. :)

> My solution has been every so often
> start fresh because I can not afford the time to risk a non-working desktop.

I have done that a couple of times, but haven't needed to do that in
quite a while. But, because the desktops are secondary, and not as
heavily used, perhaps that makes a difference.

> When the ports moved to being based on the release head I had high hopes. I
> think I did not understand what that actually meant. My environment is xfce with
> enough stuff to give me something close to my partner's OS/X system. In addition
> to the "normal" stuff for me this means having, firefox, chrome, libreoffice,
> mysql and tigervnc. This ends up with 625 (or so) ports and packages. I did my
> current system in December.

I don't use mysql on my desktops (but if I needed a database, I'd use
postgresql), otherwise I tend to use things like nmap and other
network-centric tools.

> In this environment, I have never been able to update firefox or the xfce
> desktop/panel components to correct bugs or get a new feature.


I have good results using synth, like "portsnap fetch update && synth
upgrade-system" and let it run overnight. I do that whenever the mood
strikes, or once a month, whichever comes first.

> So for example, when glib-2 56 3_6,1 is updated to glib-2 56 3_6,2 or later, I
> can not update using pkg or ports. So I guess the question is, is this a Make
> file issue, or is the next version really not compatible? As long as the answer
> is, either who knows, or it's the same thing, I am pretty much forced to follow
> my pattern of all or nothing updating. This has not really been an issue for me,
> I've had no security issues as these systems have always been behind a router
> and I also use a basic ipfw configuration.
> So all of this is to ask is the update problem totally a technical one, or a
> natural consequence stemming from how the FreeBSD project organized?

Can't say - haven't had the problems you're seeing. But again - I'm
not a heave desktop user, so perhaps I'm not stressing my system like
you are.


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