OpenBSD Upgrade Guide: 4.1 to 4.2

[FAQ Index] | [4.0 -> 4.1] | [4.2 -> 4.3]

Note: Upgrades are only supported from one release to the release immediately following it. Do not skip releases.

It is highly recommended that you read through and fully understand this process before attempting it. If you are doing it on a critical or physically remote machine, it is recommended that you test this process on an identical, local system to verify its success before attempting on a critical or remote computer.

Upgrading is a convenient way to bring your OpenBSD system up to the most recent version. However, the results are not intended to precisely match the results of a wipe-and-reload installation. Old library files in particular are not removed in the upgrade process, as they may be required by older applications that may or may not be upgraded at this time. If you REALLY wish to get rid of all these old files, you are probably better off reinstalling from scratch.

Table of Contents:

Before upgrading: things to think about and be aware of

This is not a complete list of the changes that took place between 4.1 and 4.2, but rather some of the important things that will impact a large number of users in the upgrade process. For a more complete list of changes, see plus42.html and the CVS change logs.

The upgrade process

Upgrading by install kernel

If you have access to the system's console, the easiest and safest way to upgrade is to boot from install media or bsd.rd and follow the upgrade steps, which are very similar to the install process. Afterwards, complete the upgrade by following the final steps as detailed below.

One easy way to boot from the install kernel is to place the 4.2 version of bsd.rd in the root of your boot drive, then instruct the boot loader to boot using this new bsd.rd file. On amd64 and i386, you do this by entering "boot bsd.rd" at the initial boot> prompt.

Upgrading without install kernel

This is NOT the recommended process. Use the install kernel method if at all possible!

Sometimes, one needs to do an upgrade of a machine when one can't easily use the normal upgrade process. The most common case is when the machine is in a remote location and you don't have easy access to the system console. One can usually do this by carefully following this process:

During this process, sendmail(8) may produce some error messages like the following:
    Nov 1 12:47:05 puffy sm-mta[16733]: filesys_update failed: No such file or directory, fs=., avail=-1, blocksize=380204
These messages can be safely ignored for the moment, or you may wish to halt sendmail(8) during the upgrade process. Note that sendmail is not working properly at this point, and will need to be restarted (as part of the reboot) before mail is expected to be handled properly.

Final steps

Whether you upgrade by using an install kernel and doing a formal "upgrade" process, or do a "in-place" binary upgrade, there are certain manual steps that have to be performed.

1. Upgrading /etc

You will want to extract the etc42.tgz files to a temporary location:

tar -C /tmp -xzphf ${RELEASEPATH}/etc42.tgz
Files that can probably be copied from etc42.tgz "as is":
Note that it IS possible to locally modify these files, if this has been done, manual merging will be needed. Pay special attention to mail/* if you are using something other than the default Sendmail(8) configuration. Here are copy/paste lines for copying these files, assuming you unpacked etc42.tgz in the above recommended place:
cd /tmp/etc
cp magic man.conf netstart rc rc.conf rpc services /etc
cp mtree/* /etc/mtree/
cp mail/helpfile mail/ mail/ /etc/mail
cp mail/ /etc/mail     # Careful on this one!!

Files that must be manually merged, respecting any local changes made to them, if they were modified from the default, otherwise, just copy them over, too:

The changes to these files are in this patch file. You can attempt to use this by executing the following as root:
cd /
patch -C -p0 < upgrade42.patch
This will test the patch to see how well it will apply to YOUR system, to actually apply it, leave off the "-C" option. Note that it is likely that if you have customized files or not kept them closely updated, or are upgrading from a snapshot of 3.9, they may not accept the patch cleanly. In those cases, you will need to manually apply the changes. Please test this process before relying on it for a machine you can not easily get to.

The following files have had changes which should be looked at, but it is unlikely they should be directly copied or merged (i.e., if you are using bgpd.conf, look at the suggested change of strategy, and decide if it is appropriate for your use).

Finally, use newaliases(8) to update the aliases database and mtree(8) to create any new directories:
mtree -qdef /etc/mtree/4.4BSD.dist -p / -u

2. Checking the kernel

Note: most people can skip this step!

If you followed the instructions for the upgrade process without install kernel, you have already completed this step. However, if you used the install kernel, and if you had a modified kernel in 4.1, it is likely you will need to modify the stock kernel of 4.2. This can be as simple as modifying a specific device using config(8), or it can involve a recompilation if the option you need is not included in the GENERIC kernel. Please consult FAQ 5 - Building the system from source before considering to recompile your kernel.

3. X configuration files

Due to the significant changes in X for this release, the easiest way to upgrade your X for 4.2 may be to back up your existing X configuration files, unpack xetc42.tgz, and manually merge back any changes you had made.

The files you are most likely to want to save a copy of are /etc/X11/xorg.conf and /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc. As X now often works with NO xorg.conf file, you may wish to try it without one before you copy your file back.

Unpack xetc42.tgz as you would other file sets:

export RELEASEPATH=/usr/rel
tar -C / -xzphf xetc42.tgz

4. Upgrading packages

If you installed any packages on your system, you should upgrade them after completing the upgrade of the base system. Be aware, however, many packages will require further setup before and/or after upgrading the package. Check with the application's upgrade guide for details.

The following package is known to have significant upgrade issues that will impact a large number of users. The fact that a package is not on this list doesn't mean it will have a trivial upgrade. You must do some homework on the applications YOU use.

Before continuing, there are some major changes in the 4.2 release which you should know about:

The package tools support in-place updating using pkg_add -u. For instance, to update all your packages, make sure PKG_PATH is pointing to the 4.2 packages directory on your CD or nearest FTP mirror, and use something like
# pkg_add -ui -F update -F updatedepends
where the -u indicates update mode, and -i specifies interactive mode, so pkg_add will prompt you for input when it encounters some ambiguity. Read the pkg_add(1) manual page and the package management chapter of the FAQ for more information.

You will very possibly see something like this when running the above command:

Looking for updates: complete
Cannot find updates for expat-2.0.0
Proceed? [y/N]
This is indicating you have run into the libexpat problem and must now install xbase42.tgz as mentioned above. If you have not installed xbase42.tgz, it is recommended that you stop the package update, install xbase42.tgz and then re-run the package upgrade.

Finally, after upgrading all your packages, clean up by removing the old expat package from your system:

# pkg_delete expat

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$OpenBSD: upgrade42.html,v 1.48 2019/05/28 01:53:11 bentley Exp $