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Here are your real choices for upgrade: The handbook says it, every HOWTO in the world says it, so we're gonna say it too. Most folks get kinda nervous when it comes time for an upgrade and postpone the fateful day as long as possible.
This is a big mistake since the Free BSD team have done a great job in making it relatively simple and painless.
Note on Extreme Sloth: By extreme application of the 'slothful' method of maintenance you could find yourself more that one major version behind (say, using 6.x when the current version is 9.x).
The best advice here is to never try a multi-version upgrade, say, from 6.x to 9.x - always pass through the intervening major version(s) - certainly as far as Step 6 since ABI (Application Binary Interface) changes may cause serious problems.
Look for the variables REVISION and BRANCH - these will also be output when you load the new kernel and issue either uname -r or uname -a.
When this step is complete you should read the file /usr/src/UPDATING (or in our non-standard case /var/src/UPDATING) for specific notes about the release.
Resides in /head, for example, svn.freebsd.org/base/head. Binary updates (freebsd-update) are NOT supported for this tag.This step involves building all the various tools/utilities required to run Free BSD.They are built and saved in the defined directores and are NOT INSTALLED (remember if it says build at the front it does NOT install).In general, the automated tools should be the preferred method.The manual methods are included for the sake of completeness, because some people prefer them and because sometimes - TINA (there is no alternative). As a passing observation if you were using entirely automated tools (freebsd-update and portsnap) you would not need be aware of this change - and might not even know about it. Note on Sloth: We generally follow the 'slothful' theory of OS maintenance.