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Old 21st March 2012
Lexus45 Lexus45 is offline
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Default How often do people upgrade their OBSDs ?

Hello all.
Today I'd like to discuss the need of upgrading the system to the next release. So, this thread is not an urgent matter, I just want to listen to your's opinions.

All of us heard such a point of view - something like if the server works fine, don't touch it, don't modify it.

If to compare OpenBSD with some GNU/Linux systems, there are some changes in the way, in the philocophy of the upgrade process. Just remember Debian/Ubuntu 'apt-get update && apt-get upgrade'. And even Slackware, being rather 'nerdish', offers an easy way for installing updates and for next-release upgrade with the 'slackpkg' tool.

OpenBSD is another case, to my mind. Each upgrade instruction tells us about some new modifications in the system, in the PF, in startup scripts and the whole process seems to be more complicated than the same one in the Linux world.

So, I wonder do all of you upgrade your systems? Or there are many cases when older releases still do their work well, 4.6 for example, or even 3.x ones? Just applying security fixes...
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Old 21st March 2012
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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First, upgrading is not so complicated. If systems can be brought offline for upgrade, the upgrade scripts take care of everything except /etc and /var changes, and then the sysmerge(8) tool automates most if not all of those.

The upgrade guides describe the changes in detail so that you are informed of what has changed architecturally and can make appropriate decisions, as necessary, for new or changed functionality.

Second, upgrading at least once per year is required if you wish to run on a supported OS. The "security fixes" you mention are only backported one release. When 5.1 is released on 1 May, support for 4.9 will drop. The 4.7 system you installed in 2010, if you did not upgrade, is already unsupported.
Since upgrading two releases at once is the same effort as upgrading twice, the only reason not to upgrade twice per year is to avoid a single scheduled outage. But if you apply patches or use -stable, it is likely you are already scheduling reboots more than once per year.
I'm a -current user, and I upgrade my -current systems at least twice per month. I will upgrade more frequently if there has just been some interesting feature or patch committed which I would like to test.

Last edited by jggimi; 21st March 2012 at 05:08 PM. Reason: clarity, highlighting support limitations
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Old 21st March 2012
Lexus45 Lexus45 is offline
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Thank you, jggimi, for a complete answer.
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Old 22nd March 2012
bsdplus bsdplus is offline
Real Name: Alan Cheng
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using current on my loongson netbook and do upgrade once per month or so.
For production servers, not so often, but once or twice a year.
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Old 23rd March 2012
daemonfowl daemonfowl is offline
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Thanks Jgimmi .. for the usual thirst-quenching answer .. what I love more about OpenBSD is that it allows you to go the pace that suits your needs/situation .. somewhere between fast-rhythmed gentoo and slow-rhythmed slackware ..
I'm running stable on production machine which I naturally upgrade twice a year .. and running current on laptop to study the OS and become familiar with it .. on current I feel comfortable to upgrade once a month -at most- because I'm a bit of a slow learner .. :-) .. it's a very long road ..
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