On 9/5/07, Sur Demir <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm a bit new to FreeBSD, and have few questions challenging my Gentoo
> Linux mindset:

There are a lot of approaches to managing FreeBSD systems. What is
best for you depends on your goals. My suggestions are a bit different
from what you have already received, I think.

> 1. I performed a Minimal 6.2 installation (it boots OK).

Just out of curiosity, why did you do this rather than the recommended
"Standard" install?

> Then I selected
> Post installation tasks -> Distributions. There I see "base
> (required)",
> it appears unselected. Does this install anything more than what
> Minimal
> install did at the first place?

Good question. It certainly installs less than a "Standard Install",
which is what I normally do.

> 2. I see pkg_add, pkg_delete, pkg_info but no pkg_update. How am I
> supposed to keep my system up to date, unless I revert to ports?

The "normal" way to keep the base system up to date is by using cvsup
to update your source tree to the latest -STABLE code, and then
rebuild the system. The instructions are in the Handbook in the
"Cutting Edge" chapter. But I don't usually do that - I'm usually more
interested in ease of maintenance than having the latest greatest code
base, so I install freebsd-update from ports and use it to do binary
updates (freebsd-update may now be part of the base install, I'm not
sure) when there are critical updates available.

Just be aware that freebsd-update can only update the -RELEASE version
(i.e what you install from the distribution CD). If you update your
system to the -STABLE code base you won't be able to do binary updates
(unless that has changed recently). If you build a custom kernel, then
freebsd-update can't update your kernel, although it can still update
the other components of the base system.

> 3. Minimal install provides a number of commands by default like pkg_*,
> portsnap, gcc, ls, vi, etc but pkg_info does not list any of their
> packages, which means they're not managed under /var/db/pkg. Then, how
> am I supposed to upgrade them without ending up with multiple versions?

The base system is treated as an integrated unit. So you update it by
updating your source code and recompiling, or with freebsd-update, as
I mentioned above. You can also patch only the specific code of
interest and recompile just that part of the system. All three methods
are usually provided for when there are security updates, and there
are probably other approaches that would work.

That reminds me, it's a good idea to subscribe to the
FreeBSD-security-notifications list so you get notification of
security updates.

> 4. I want to avoid the -CURRENT branch and want to stay with -STABLE
> branch for now. The page http://www.freebsd.org/ports/index.html says:
> "The Ports Collection supports the latest release on the
> and FreeBSD-STABLE branches."
> This not clear to me: If I start using ports, am I on -STABLE or not?

The base system (kernel, basic commands and utilities) are treated as
a separate integral unit outside of the ports system.  The ports
system is stuff that you "add on" to the base system. Entities in
ports are supposed to install properly on -CURRENT, -STABLE, and
recent -RELEASE systems. Older systems may have trouble installing
some ports.

The default method of installing a port is to build it from source
code, but it is possible to install many (maybe most?) as precompiled
binaries. Various methods of doing so should be explained in the
Handbook -- I usually use portinstall with appropriate flags.

> 5. make.conf is blank by default. Does CPU_TYPE default to i386 in this
> case?

The FreeBSD Project tries hard to follow "POLA" (the Principle Of
Least Astonishment, i.e. do what your users will find least
surprising), so it is highly likely that it defaults to whatever major
family it is running on, which for most people is i386.

> I hope I'm not too confused and sound silly. TIA.

No, you are asking the right questions. I think you will find the
Handbook to be very informative.

- Bob
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