Solved FreeBSD 11.3 or 12.1


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Hi! I have been sitting on FreeBSD 11.3 recently and I am always keen on have it updated to the latest. I saw there was FreeBSD 12.1 in production and thought that I should upgrade. Now I understand they are two different productions of the latest.

Apart from the benefits of more hardware support on FreeBSD 12 and fuller adaptation with drivers,
is there any grave difference between them?

Will they continue to coexist in future as FreeBSD Odd and FreeBSD Even or will they both be merged into 13.0 or 14.0?

Could you give any insight on this. I have old computer and is most interested in having it up to date.

(Also there was a change in graphics and X going from 11.3 to 12.1 but it may as well depend fully on the packages themselves.)

Kind regards,



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Will they continue to coexist in future as FreeBSD Odd and FreeBSD Even or will they both be merged into 13.0 or 14.0?
That's kind of an "odd" question...

FreeBSD has a main development branch like almost any project does, it's called "head" as FreeBSD uses subversion (in a typical git-based project, the canonical name would be "master" instead, you see that a lot on github et al). What's being worked on in "head" will become 13.0 some time in the future. There's nothing special about even or odd major version numbers.

For creating a new major release, a "stable" branch (e.g. "stable/12", next will be "stable/13") is branched from head. From these "stable" branches, the actual release-branches for the minor releases are created (e.g. "releng/12.1" for the 12.1 release).

Inside a release branch, only security fixes and important bugfixes (errata) are added, they result in the "-pX" updates. In a stable branch, some selected changes from "head" might be applied, in a way that doesn't change fundamental things -- but I don't know the exact criteria here. In a nutshell, a new minor release will typically add some features, but upgrading should be a simple task as nothing too intrusive will change.

Then finally, major and minor releases do have some defined life-cycle, there's always a minimum grace period for support of a minor release after releasing the next minor one, etc. You can read a lot more about these things on the FreeBSD website, looking for "release engineering".

In a nutshell, you'll be more "up-to-date" with a 12.x release and the 12.x-line will be supported longer than the 11.x-line, but right now, as 11.x is still supported, there's no pressing reason for updating.


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Thank you for a very good explanation. I got my head around it now, or "master" as in the canonical way.
I will save this in my good information folder to reread whenever necessary.

Wish you a good day!




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FWIW, I just installed 11.3 and 12.1 on 4-5 Dells, and I can't give you tech-insight, but, I prefer 11.3 but maybe that's because i prefer things the way that they ;used to be/work'. ? The install process is slightly different, different options, choices, it would be nice if they could get it ALL in one place as the 12.1 install dropped some choices and added others.
Plus, they ought to make USEDNS in sshd_config OFF by default.