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<!-- $Id: stable.sgml,v 1.2.2.1 1996-07-05 11:30:22 jkh Exp $ -->
<!-- The FreeBSD Documentation Project -->


<chapt><heading>Staying stable with FreeBSD<label id="stable"></heading>

<p><em>Contributed by &a.jkh;.</em>

<!--

                        THE FREEBSD STABLE POLICY 

Last updated: $Date: 1996-07-05 11:30:22 $

This document attempts to explain the rationale behind
FreeBSD-stable, what you should expect should you decide to run it,
and states some prerequisites for making sure the process goes as
smoothly as possible.
-->

<sect><heading>What is FreeBSD-stable?</heading>

<p>FreeBSD-stable is our development branch for a more low-key and
conservative set of changes intended for our next mainstream release.
Changes of an experimental or untested nature do not go into this
branch (see <ref id="current" name="FreeBSD-current">).

<sect><heading>Who needs FreeBSD-stable?</heading>

<p>If you are a commercial user or someone who puts maximum stability of
their FreeBSD system before all other concerns, you should consider tracking
<em>stable</em>.  This is especially true if you have installed the most
recent release (<htmlurl url="ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/2.1.0-RELEASE"
name="2.1.0-RELEASE"> at the time of this writing) since the <em>stable</em>
branch is effectively a bug-fix stream relative to the previous release.

<p>Please note that the <em>stable</em> tree endevors, above all, to
be fully compilable and stable at all times, but we do occasionally
make mistakes (these are still active sources with quickly-transmitted
updates, after all).  We also do our best to thoroughly test fixes in
<em>current</em> before bringing them into <em>stable</em>, but sometimes
our tests fail to catch every case.  If something breaks for you in
<em>stable</em>, please let us know <em>immediately!</em> (see
next section).

<sect><heading>Using FreeBSD-stable</heading>

    <p><enum><item> Join the &a.stable .  This will
    keep you informed of build-dependencies that may appear in
    <em>stable</em> or any other issues requring special attention.
    Developers will also make announcements in this mailing list when
    they are contemplating some contraversal fix or update, giving
    the users a chance to respond if they have any issues to raise concerning
    the proposed change.

    To join this list, send mail to &a.majordomo and say:
<verb>
            subscribe freebsd-stable
</verb>
   In the body of your message.  Optionally, you can also say `help'
   and Majordomo will send you full help on how to subscribe and
   unsubscribe to the various other mailing lists we support.

    <item>  Grab the sources from ftp.FreeBSD.ORG.  You can do this in
        three ways:

    <enum>
	<item> Use the <ref id="ctm" name="CTM"> facility.  Unless you 
            have a good TCP/IP connection at a flat rate, this is 
            the way to do it.

        <item>  Use the CMU <ref id="sup"> program (Software Update
	     Protocol).
            This is the second most recommended method, since it allows 
	    you to grab the entire collection once and then only what has
            changed from then on.  Many people run sup from cron
            and keep their sources up-to-date automatically.

        <item>  Use ftp.  The source tree for FreeBSD-stable is always
            "exported" on:
            <htmlurl url="ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.ORG/pub/FreeBSD/FreeBSD-stable"
            name="ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.ORG/pub/FreeBSD/FreeBSD-stable">

            <p>We also use `wu-ftpd' which allows compressed/tar'd grabbing
            of whole trees.  e.g. you see:
<verb>
            usr.bin/lex
</verb>
            You can do:
<verb>
            ftp> cd usr.bin
            ftp> get lex.tar.Z
</verb>
            And it will get the whole directory for you as a compressed
            tar file.
    </enum>

    <item>  Essentially, if you need rapid on-demand access to the source and
    communications bandwidth is not a consideration, use sup or ftp.
    Otherwise, use CTM.

    <item>  Before compiling stable, read the Makefile in /usr/src
	carefully.  You should at least run a `make world' the first time
        through as part of the upgrading process.
        Reading the &a.stable will keep you up-to-date on other bootstrapping
        procedures that sometimes become necessary as we move towards the next
        release.
</enum>