OpenBSD Upgrade Guide: 5.4 to 5.5

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Note: Upgrades are only supported from one release to the release immediately following it. Do not skip releases. If you got lucky skipping releases in the past, you may not this time.

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 5.4 and 5.5, but rather some of the important things that will impact users in the upgrade process. For a more complete list of changes, see plus55.html and the CVS change logs.

The upgrade process

*Special process* Before Upgrading: uninstall packages!

Due to the time_t change, virtually all old binaries will not work on the upgraded system, so all packages must be removed PRIOR to upgrading.

Upgrading by install kernel

If you have access to the system's console, the easiest and safest way to upgrade is to boot from the install kernel by boot 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 5.5 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:

Final steps

Whether you upgrade by using an install kernel and doing a formal "upgrade" process, or do a "in-place" binary upgrade, you need to do a few final steps to complete the upgrade.

1. Merging changed files via sysmerge(8)

The sysmerge(8) utility will compare the files that are actually on your system with those that would be installed in a fresh install, and assist you in merging the changes into your system. There are no assumptions made about what is actually on your system, so you can use sysmerge(8) to move between more arbitrary points in the development process, such as from an earlier 5.4-current to 5.5-release or from one -current to a later one. Sysmerge(8) compares the current files on your system with the files that would have been installed with a new install, and what would have been there from the last run of sysmerge. Usually, it can figure out what to do to update your files. If it has difficulty, it will give you the option of keeping the old file, installing the new file, or assisting you in the manual merging of the old and new files, using sdiff.

Please read the sysmerge(8) manual page before using it on your system. You are also advised to read the diff(1), sdiff(1) and even review more(1) manual pages before continuing. A wide terminal window (i.e., significantly more than 80 characters), if available, will make sdiff(1) easier to use.

Assuming the SHA256.sig, etc55.tgz and xetc55.tgz files exists in your ${RELEASEPATH}, run it with:

sysmerge -s ${RELEASEPATH}/etc55.tgz -x ${RELEASEPATH}/xetc55.tgz
(if you don't have SHA256.sig available, use the -S option to skip the signature check) For the files sysmerge(8) can't resolve on its own, it will show you a unified diff(1), run through your favorite $PAGER (i.e., more(1)) and ask you if you wish to:
  Use 'd' to delete the temporary ./var/www/htdocs/index.html
  Use 'i' to install the temporary ./var/www/htdocs/index.html
  Use 'm' to merge the temporary and installed versions
  Use 'v' to view the diff results again

  Default is to leave the temporary file to deal with by hand

If you wish to retain your existing file, delete the temporary file. If you wish to replace your existing file with the new version, install the temporary file. If you wish to merge the two together, choosing 'm' will put you into sdiff(1), where you can manually merge the file. The default is to come back and deal with the file later, manually.

Sysmerge(8) saves all your replaced files into a temporary directory, similar to /var/tmp/sysmerge.24959/backups, so if you accidentally clobber something that was probably not such a good idea, you have a chance to recover it. Note that daily(8) cleans old files from this directory, but it will survive a reboot.

2. Files to delete and move

Some files should be deleted from your system, and others must be moved or updated. Note that some of these may not exist on all systems; that's ok. Copy and paste the following lines:
rm -f /usr/libexec/identd
rm -f /usr/lib/libcompat.a /usr/lib/libcompat_p.a
rm -f /usr/include/{re_comp,regexp,sgtty,sys/timeb}.h
rm -f /usr/share/man/man3/{re_comp,re_exec,rexec,regexp}.3
rm -f /usr/share/man/man3/{cuserid,ftime,gtty,setrgid,setruid,stty}.3
rm -f /etc/rc.d/popa3d
rm -f /usr/bin/{crunchgen,nawk}
rm -f /usr/sbin/{iopctl,popa3d}
rm -f /usr/share/man/man8/{iopctl,popa3d}.8
rm -rf /usr/X11R6/include/freetype2/freetype
rm -f /usr/X11R6/include/ft2build.h
rm -f /usr/mdec/installboot
rm -f /usr/share/man/man8/{amd64,i386}/installboot.8
rm -f /var/account/acct
rm -f /var/games/tetris.scores

mv /etc/nsd.conf /var/nsd/etc/nsd.conf
cd /usr/sbin && rm nsd-notify nsd-patch nsd-xfer nsd-zonec nsdc
cd /usr/share/man/man8 && rm nsd-notify.8 nsd-patch.8 nsd-xfer.8 \
   nsd-zonec.8 nsdc.8
chown _nsd /var/nsd/db/nsd.db
printf '\nremote-control:\n\tcontrol-enable: yes\n' >> /var/nsd/etc/nsd.conf
Further, for the updated version of nsd(8)

3. 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 5.4, it is likely you will need to modify the stock kernel of 5.5. 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.

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 packages are known to have significant upgrade issues that will impact 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.

Usually at this point, you would update the packages, but since they were all unloaded BEFORE the upgrade, you have to reinstall based on your lists of saved packages before:

pkg_add -z -l /root/pkg_list_manual
pkg_add -za -l /root/pkg_list_full
Read the pkg_add(1) manual page and the package management chapter of the FAQ for more information.

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$OpenBSD: upgrade55.html,v 1.51 2021/03/15 10:18:43 jsg Exp $