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I have been using Debian and NetBSD systems for a long time, and I have got used to do binaries upgrades for the base system and for packages (using pkgin with NetBSD)

Now the NetBSD kernel does not work so well with the VPS provider, but FreeBSD is a supported option there, so I am thinking to make the switch.

I have seen that binary upgrades from the base systems seem reliable with freebsd-update, how reliable is this for binary packages ? I mean reliable, that you would trust it to be done on a server running Apache with php, python, a DNS server without too much downtime.

http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=17722 mentions at step 2 deleting everything and reinstalling afterwards. Not my peace of cake.

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I think it's feasible; the link you provided predates pkgng -- see this, for example.. – sr_ Sep 19 '12 at 12:44
looks interesting but why does this guy uses his own repository ? – Manu Sep 19 '12 at 13:03
freebsd-update allow you to rollback if things doesn't went right – warl0ck Sep 19 '12 at 14:11
pkgng is (not yet) the default. AFAIK there is no official repository yet. – arved Oct 1 '12 at 13:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The problem with ports is, that currently binary packages are distributed only about once a month via the FreeBSD mirrors.

So if you don't need the latest and greatest, you are fine with using packages via portupgrade -PP or the equivalent portmaster command.

But if you are running php, which has a) lot of custom options enabled during compiletime and b) lots of security issues. i would suggest keeping php uptodate via ports.

If you have several machines, it might be an option to rollout your own binary packages, so you don't have to rely on the packages provided by the FreeBSD mirrors. This is easily done by running "make package" in the port directory.

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So if I understand it right it means that it's possible to keep a FreeBSD system up to date with binary packages, but I will lag behind for security updates (by one month) Am I right ? – Manu Oct 1 '12 at 10:13
yes, that is the current situation. It will take some time until an official pkgng infrastructure is in place. – arved Oct 1 '12 at 13:34
I believe the wording should be, "The problem with packages..." since ports contains the latest distribution and are not binary packages. – Rob Apr 11 '14 at 13:23

Now 18 months later this seems possible, as easy as exmplained in this blog entry: https://scottlinux.com/2014/04/01/apply-security-updates-to-freebsd-with-pkgng/

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