Upgrading FreeBSD 9.0 to 9.1 using freebsd-update

Here a quick outline of upgrading FreeBSD from 9.0 to 9.1 on a Soekris 4801 i had installed just two days ago to be a small encrypted fileserver.

First a word of caution: Backup all your data; something we always want to do before doing system maintenance like this, especially when on a machine without physical access.

Second – this Document gives all the details and is the official resource. In addition to these Release Notes, they may provide valuable clues as to what we may need to watch out for when upgrading our systems.

To update our system, we will be using freebsd-update, a great piece of software that fetches and installs binary updates to FreeBSD.

To get started, ensure that your current system is up to date; a change was recently made to freebsd-update(8) (Errata Notice FreeBSD-EN-12:01.freebsd-update) which is needed in order to upgrade to FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE.

# freebsd-update fetch
# freebsd-update install

If any updates where installed above – reboot your system before continuing.

Now the freebsd-update(8) utility can fetch bits belonging to 9.1-RELEASE. During this process freebsd-update(8) will ask for help in merging configuration files. If you are upgrading from FreeBSD 7.X or 8.X – consult the official installation document.

# freebsd-update upgrade -r 9.1-RELEASE
# freebsd-update install

The system must now be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before the non-kernel components are updated.

# shutdown -r now

After rebooting, freebsd-update(8) needs to be run again to install the new userland components:

# freebsd-update install

At this point, users of systems being upgraded from FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE or earlier will be prompted by freebsd-update(8) to rebuild all third-party applications (e.g., ports installed from the ports tree) due to updates in system libraries.

After updating installed third-party applications (and again, only if freebsd-update(8) printed a message indicating that this was necessary), run freebsd-update(8) again so that it can delete the old (no longer used) system libraries:

# freebsd-update install

Finally, reboot into 9.1-RELEASE

# shutdown -r now


On my Soekris 4801 which i can access only via console or network, the update went quite smoothly and i can report no issues as of now. Perfect!

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