Topics about unsupported FreeBSD versions

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Staff member
The FreeBSD Forums cater primarily to end-users and systems administrators. As such, the Forums focus almost exclusively on FreeBSD versions that are officially supported according to the official FreeBSD website. Since resources are scarce, the FreeBSD Forums strongly suggest that anyone asking questions on the forums run one of the officially supported versions (see the links at the end of this post), for which the installed user base is logically the broadest.

In terms of 'unsupported versions' we make the following distinction:

  1. FreeBSD versions that are behind the currently supported versions, a.k.a. "EoL" or "End-of-Life" versions
    • For FreeBSD versions that match [1], we strongly encourage users asking for help with these version to upgrade to a supported FreeBSD version before anything else, because it is quite likely that your problem is actually caused by running an outdated version. Moreover, unsupported versions must be considered unsafe, because they no longer receive security updates. As such, these versions can be considered a liability and a point of failure in your network.
    • We prefer not to encourage any further use of these unsupported versions. If you are not at liberty to upgrade to a supported version, you may still receive a reply to your question, but you must be prepared for continuous pressure from fellow users and forums staff to upgrade to a supported version. Moreover, some users may not feel like participating in topics that deal with unsupported versions at all. So be prepared for a lack of replies.
  2. FreeBSD versions that are ahead of the currently supported versions, a.k.a. "HEAD", "-CURRENT", or "bleeding edge"
    • For FreeBSD versions that match [2], we strongly encourage users to understand what -CURRENT actually means, because there is a common misunderstanding that -CURRENT means "the latest, greatest version". In fact, -CURRENT is the development branch of the FreeBSD operating system. This is where new developments are tested and evaluated, which means that any part of the system may break at any given time. For the most part, -CURRENT should be considered the playground for FreeBSD developers, and for 'adventurous users' who don't mind that their system breaks. These users typically do not require any help to get their systems back into a working state.
    • All communication about -CURRENT should take place on the freebsd-current mailing list, not on the forums. There are very few developers on the forums, and the amount of 'regular users' routinely running -CURRENT who are willing and able to lend support is likely in the single digits. If you want support on these forums, run either a supported version of the -RELEASE branch (for proven, stable, solid installations) or of the -STABLE branch (a slightly more experimental, but still very stable version that incorporates some of the newer developments of the -CURRENT branch).
    • You should really only install -CURRENT if you're prepared to participate in fact-finding and troubleshooting sessions with the FreeBSD developers on the freebsd-current mailing list. The forums lack the knowledge and resources to answer in-depth questions about new developments and their ramifications.

These are, at any given time, the authoritative overviews of supported and unsupported FreeBSD versions. For every version an "End-of-Life" date, i.e. the moment it will become, or has become, unsupported, is clearly listed.

  • RELENG_x versions (e.g. RELENG_9) are -STABLE versions
  • RELENG_x_y versions (e.g. RELENG_9_1) are -RELEASE versions
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