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Date:      Tue, 8 Dec 2015 15:05:07 +0000
From:      Paul Stuffins <>
Subject:   Re: Migrating to FreeBSD from Debian
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <86io4a6l2w.fsf@WorkBox.Home>
References:  <> <86io4a6l2w.fsf@WorkBox.Home>

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On 07/12/2015 20:49, Brandon J. Wandersee wrote:
> Paul Stuffins writes:
>> Hi Everybody,
>> As 2016 is fast approaching I want to finally move to FreeBSD and stay with
>> FreeBSD, so my question is, what is the best or most efficient way of
>> upgrading all ports on a FreeBSD machine?
> Right, so since this kinda derailed quickly, I'll try to answer this
> clearly and comprehensively. I moved from Arch Linux to FreeBSD myself
> just over a year ago, so I'll try to iron some things out for you, since
> it took me some time to sort all this out myself and I sympathize.
> The package package manager isn't drastically different from pacman or
> dpkg/apt, so you should find understanding it pretty easy. Just read the
> man pages and the relevant section of the Handbook for the
> basics. Beyond that, though, there are some characteristics of the
> packages and repository that need to be understood. First, in almost
> every case a single port is built into a single package with a fairly
> sane set of default options. Even in cases where multiple versions of an
> application exist--such as Emacs--there is a corresponding port with a
> different set of options. So if you're lucky, you'll be able to use
> packages for everything you need. If there's any application built
> without an option you want, you'll have to build it from the ports tree.
> This raises some caveats. For one thing, while packages are built and
> the repository updated several times a week (up from just two or three
> times a week when I first started--great work, folks), as of now it's
> not a continuous process. This means the ports tree (which works by a
> rolling-release model) is always a few hours to a couple days ahead of
> what you'll find in the repository, raising the possibility of
> dependency conflicts if you mix ports with precompiled packages. For
> another, if you try upgrading your binary packages using `pkg update &&
> pkg upgrade`, pkg(8) will also replace your personally compiled ports
> with the most recent default versions found in the package repository.
> There are two ways to avoid these issues. If you just have, say, two or
> three ports to manage, you can use pkg-lock(8) to prevent pkg(8) from
> messing with your ports. You can then upgrade your packages as usual,
> and then use ports-mgmt/portmaster or ports-mgmt/portupgrade to upgrade
> your ports afterward. This can be a little tedious, as (a) you'd need to
> use Subversion to synchronize your local ports tree to the revision used
> to build the most recent set of packages, which must be done manually;
> and (b) you would need to use `pkg unlock` on your custom package before
> upgrading them (but *after* upgrading your vanilla packages), and then
> run `pkg lock` on them again after upgrading. So it would require
> building some new habits. There are a couple sripts I've seen that are
> supposed to synchronize your ports to the package repo automatically,
> but last I checked they hadn't been updated for 10.2 and did not work
> for -STABLE or -CURRENT.
> If you have more than a few ports to build, or don't mind waiting a few
> months between package upgrades (you are a Debian user, after all), you
> can just use the quarterly repository and ports tree, which are always
> kept in sync and updated every three months. As of FreeBSD 10.2 the
> quarterly package repository is used by default on new installs, and
> fetching the quarterly ports tree with Subversion is easy enough (it's
> in the same SVN repo as the main ports tree). So this is definitely the
> easier way to go if you want to mix ports with packages.
> Of course, if you have lots of ports you want to customize, you might
> just skip packages entirely and stick with ports. In that case,
> ports-mgmt/portmaster seems to be the semi-official way of handling
> things. You'd just run `portmaster -a` to upgrade all installed
> ports. If there are any new options available in a new version of the
> port, portmaster will prompt you to check your options interactively
> before continuing.
> You could also use ports-mgmt/poudriere to build custom packages into a
> locak repository; it's the same build system used for the official
> package repository. Setting it up the first time takes a little work,
> but it would allow you to build from either the rolling or quarterly
> ports tree as you see fit, and updating is just a matter of fetching the
> latest commit of whichever ports tree you're tracking and running the
> build command. I use it myself, and love it. Poudriere is quicker and
> more efficient than Portmaster on machines with plenty of RAM and
> multi-core CPUs.
> Since the ports system and package manager are tied to each other, once
> a port is installed you can perform any actions you see fit on it using
> pkg(8). It's all the same at that point. And as was already mentioned,
> always make sure to read /usr/ports/UPDATING (or run `pkg updating`)
> before proceeding to see announcements about any special measures that
> need to be taken. Hope this all helps a bit.
Hi Brandon,

Thanks for your detailed answer. For the moment I have decided I will 
use pkg, as I only have a few things that need to be installed on this 
one system.

Many Thanks

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