> I hesitate to ask this because it sounds stupid.
> I went down to the tech book store and bought freeBSD on CD's.
> it happened to be 5.1. 
> I, a neophyte, assumed it was "kosher".
> I bought it and installed it on 2 machines  and pretty much ok so far.
> Now I've been reading about the STABLE and CURRENT branches
> and cvsup and all other kinds of "keeping up".

Unfortunately, by the time a book with CD gets published and all
the way through the distribution chain to a bookstore, the next
version is likely to be nearly out or already out.  The CD is good
for getting started learning about FreeBSD, but is probably old
enough that you wouldn't want to use that version for a production

So, you can install it and use cvsup to upgrade everything to the
latest - probably a good learning exercise anyway.   Or, you can
play around with it enough to become familiar and then download
the latest mini-ISO and start over from scratch - also a good learning

> What I want is production boxs with of course bug fix and
> security upgrades, but not needing always the latest app releases.

If you are running production servers, the general word is that
you might still want to stick with 4.xx and 4.9 is the latest
release of the 4.xx branch.   

The 5.xx branch was begun to allow work on some significant and 
non-compatible changes to the system.  (not everything is non-compatible, 
but some things are)  Major development work is being done on the 5.xx 
branch, but the 4.xx branch continues to be upgraded, mostly now with 
bug and security fixes, but occasionaly with improved features.   

This will continue until the 5.xx branch is deemed solid and bullet proof 
as far as they can tell and that the new features are complete and
everything works together.   Then regular development on the 4.x branch
will be discontinued.   _Only_ security fixes and _major_ bug fixes
will be applied to the 4.xx branch.   Development of features, bug
fixes and security fixes will then continue on the 5.xx branch, but
not major non-compatible feature changes.   It will be considered stable
and a new branch - 6.xx will sprout which is just the latest (at that 
time) 5.xx reopened for major changes and renamed a 6.xx branch.  After
that time there will (may) be feature additions to 5.xx, as now with 4.xx,
but those are expected to not introduce non-compatible changes.  Of
course, bug fixes and security fixes will continue to be applied as
they will to all branches that are still being supported.   The 4.xx
branch would be supported for a while in that manner, along with 5.xx.
In a year or two, 4.xx would no longer be supported and no longer
get any fixes although you might be able to still apply some fixes
with a little tinkering.

There are some comments on possible 5.xx flaws in the EMail lists.
Search the archives.   The FreeBSD web site Release notes & etc 
have notes on what new features are available in 5.xx.

The long and short of it is that which one you install right at this
moment should be either 4.9 or 5.2.1 (whether you get there from
scratch or cvsupping) and the choice depends on 
  1: is your production environment critical such that an unexpected
     flaw in the new 5.xx branch would severly hurt you.
  2: Do you really need some feature in 5.2 that is unavailable in 4.xx.

If it is yes to 1 and no to 2, then install 4.9.
If it is no to 1 and no to 2, then it is a coin flip.  Maybe 5.2.1 just
  to get in to the future or 4.9 for ease in installation and configuration.
If it is no to 1 and yes to 2, then install 5.2.1


> I've tried to grok the release engineering and all but I don't get it.
> I'm going to put freeBSD on 2 other machines as well,
> but don't know whether
> to install 4.9, use my 5.1 CD's (and then presumably have to
> go to 5.2 + ??? to keep up?), 5.2   or what.  Not to mention the
> 2 already installed.
> I want to keep all 4 machines pretty much in synch.
> thanks for any clarification i can get on:
>     1. which is best "production" version
>     2. what is best essential upkeep mechanism (not so much for apps
>        but for bug fixes in OS and security fixes/patches on essential stuff
>        like OpenSsh)
> thanks much...........
> lee
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