Using a Rolling Release/9.2

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In February, 2013, PC-BSD® switched to a rolling release model. This is intended to make it easier for users to keep the packages that came with the operating system up-to-date and to make new features and drivers available for testing before the next major version is released. The rolling release is based on FreeBSD-STABLE. For terminology purposes, a release version is referred to as RELEASE and a rolling release version is referred to as STABLE.

NOTE: PC-BSD 9.1-RELEASE was released on December 18, 2012. Users on this RELEASE will not see any of the new features until they upgrade to 9.2-RELEASE which is expected around August 31, 2013. Due to some new features which required ZFS layout changes, a new RELEASE version was made available for download from the PC-BSD website on July 19, 2013. 9.1-RELEASE users who wish to take advantage of these new features prior to the release of PC-BSD 9.2-RELEASE have the option of reinstalling using this latest version.

The rolling release model is optional. This means that users can choose to either remain on a RELEASE or to upgrade an existing RELEASE to STABLE. Users that remain on RELEASE will still be notified of security updates and updates to software installed using PC-BSD® utilities. However, they will not receive any new drivers or features until they upgrade to the next RELEASE.

Currently, the schedule for updates is as follows:

  • RELEASE: PC-BSD® software repository is updated on or about the 1st and 15th of each month.
  • STABLE: PC-BSD® software repository is updated on or about the 5th and 20th of each month. In addition, a new update patch is issued on the 1st of each month which can be used to update to the latest STABLE.

Users who wish to install a version of PC-BSD® which contains the latest operating system features can choose to install STABLE instead of RELEASE.

The rest of this section will demonstrate how to upgrade a RELEASE to STABLE. It also describes how to install a STABLE version.

NOTE: The rolling release model is new to PC-BSD® and glitches should be expected. RELEASE is recommended for users who prefer stability and who do not wish to test new features. STABLE is recommended for users who are comfortable with finding and reporting bugs.

Upgrading a RELEASE to STABLE

To upgrade a PC-BSD® RELEASE system to STABLE, become the superuser and edit the file /usr/local/share/pcbsd/pc-updatemanager/conf/sysupdate.conf. Change this line:

PATCHSET: pcbsd

to

PATCHSET: pcbsdtest

Once the edit is saved, you can use either Update Manager or pc-updatemanager to upgrade to the latest STABLE. Once the upgrade is complete, it will automatically change the above line so that it looks like this:

PATCHSET: updates

Around the 1st of each month, the upgrade to the next STABLE will appear in Update Manager. If you find a bug in a rolling release, please send an email with the details to the testing mailing list[1].

NOTE: As with any upgrade, always backup your data first. Life Preserver/9.2 can be used to backup your home directory to another system in your network.

Installing STABLE

To install the latest STABLE version from DVD or USB media, or to try a live USB image, select the desired media type from the PC-BSD CDN. Rolling releases always have a date in the media name and you should choose the most recent date. After downloading the desired file, you can install or use the live image as usual, as described in Chapters 2-4 of this Handbook.

Once installed, STABLE will automatically notify you when a newer STABLE version becomes available. You can use either Update Manager or pc-updatemanager to upgrade to the latest STABLE.

Before upgrading, always backup your data. If you find a bug in a STABLE version, send an email with the details to the testing mailing list.

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