Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using OpenBSD for quite a while now. All I do, however is go from one release to the next, always just doing an update. I configured the system so it works as my router and firewall, and it works quite well like that. But I never update packages. All I do is just move on to the next release.

Coming from the Linux world, I'm used to applying updates a few times a week; but how do I do that on *BSD? - Or is this not part of the *BSD philosophy?

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

OpenBSD is binary-centric. You can update the binaries (if any updates/changes are available) by executing pkg_add:

pkg_add -Uu

The OpenBSD team recommends using the packages over building from ports - The OpenBSD packages and ports system

FreeBSD can be updated via packages or ports.

share|improve this answer

In general, when using OpenBSD you only update your packages when you update your system. So, as a final step, after upgrading to the latest release, you should execute:

# pkg_add -ui

Which will (u)pgrade your installed packages asking you any questions (i)nteractive when needed.

In general, packages for a given release are not updated until the next release (OpenBSD lacks the developer resources for providing updates to packages on versions other than 'current'). If you want to upgrade your packages more regularly, you either need to use ports, or upgrade to a new snapshot, and then run pkg_add -ui again.

For further reading, check: http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq15.html

share|improve this answer
OpenBSD lacks the developer resources for providing updates to packages on versions other than 'current' Does that also apply to security updates? So if a critical security hole is found in a binary package I use, I have to reinstall it from Stable ports? – imgx64 Nov 6 '12 at 4:42

OpenBSD: M:Tier provides stable packages for the amd64 and i386 architectures. This allows you to keep your system up to date with the most recent security fixes from the -stable ports branch.

An article on OpenBSD Journal explains the details:

In practice, this means that as soon as a security fix/update is committed to the OPENBSD_5_3 tree a package will be built from the CVS tree. This package is then being tested and pushed to our fan-out server over at Stable.MTier.org, for everyone to use!

share|improve this answer

portupgrade -arR

share|improve this answer
Updating with OpenBSD with pkg_add is pkg_add -uvi, right? – polemon Oct 30 '11 at 2:56
yes – usermane Oct 30 '11 at 3:39

I needed to get updates because I installed bash and didn't want to suffer from the Shellshock vulnerability, so I went with Holu's suggestion http://unix.stackexchange.com/a/103661/93476 and it got me patched up.

share|improve this answer

On NetBSD, you usually upgrade pkgsrc to the latest version (which is nothing more than tar -xvzf pkgsrc-version.tar.gz) and updates the installed software individually.

More information on the NetBSD/pkgsrc website:



Hope this helps!

share|improve this answer

Always read FAQ /manual : http://www.openbsd.org/faq/upgrade58.html

Whenever you go from release to release you need to do packages update as final step.

share|improve this answer

For me updating NetBSD packages is a command in /usr/pkgsrc:

# cvs update -dP && csup /some-path-to-wip-supfile/netbsd-pkgsrc-wip && pkg_rolling-replace -u
share|improve this answer

Sorry, NetBSD pkgsrc doesn't support a careless solution. Instead you should use a package manager like nih or pkgin. Under pkgsrc you have to force upgrades that ignores often linked file dependencies. Also copying the new version over the old pkgsrc can bring your pkgsrc tree in an inconsitent state.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.