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Man Pages
RELEASE(7) FreeBSD Miscellaneous Information Manual RELEASE(7)

release
release building infrastructure

FreeBSD provides a complete build environment suitable for users to make full releases of the FreeBSD operating system. All of the tools necessary to build a release are available from the FreeBSD source code repository in src/release. A complete release can actually be built with only a single command, including the creation of ISO images suitable for burning to CD-ROM, memory stick images, and an FTP install directory. This command is aptly named “make release”.
For some users, it may be desirable to provide an absolutely clean build environment, with no local modifications to the source tree or to make.conf(5), and with clean checkouts of specific versions of the doc, src, and ports trees. For this purpose, a script (src/release/release.sh) is provided to automate these checkouts and then execute “make release” in a clean chroot(8).
Before attempting to build a release, the user is expected to be familiar with the contents of build(7), and should have experience upgrading systems from source.
The release build process requires that /usr/obj be populated with the output of “make buildworld” and “make buildkernel”. This is necessary to provide the object files for the release or, when using release.sh, so that the object files for a complete system can be installed into a clean chroot(8) environment.
If the target release build is for a different architecture or machine type, the TARGET and TARGET_ARCH variables must be used. See the supported release.conf variables for more information.
The release procedure on some architectures may also require that the md(4) (memory disk) device driver be present in the kernel (either by being compiled in or available as a module).
This document does not cover source code management, quality assurance, or other aspects of the release engineering process.

Official releases of FreeBSD are produced in a totally clean environment to ensure consistency between the versions of the src, ports, and doc trees and to avoid contamination from the host system (such as local patches, changes to make.conf(5), etc.). This is accomplished using the wrapper script src/release/release.sh.
release.sh [
-c release.conf
]
release.sh checks out the src/, ports/, and doc/ trees to CHROOTDIR, then calls “make buildworld” and “make installworld” to generate a chroot(8) environment. Next, “make release” is run within the chroot(8) environment and places the result in $CHROOTDIR/R.
The optional release.conf configuration file supports the following variables:
CHROOTDIR
The directory within which the release will be built.
CHROOT_MAKEENV
Additional make(1) arguments to pass through, which directly affect the tuning of the build chroot.
SVNROOT
The svn(1) host used to check out the various trees. Defaults to svn://svn.FreeeBSD.org.
SRCBRANCH
The src/ branch to use. Defaults to head/@rHEAD.
DOCBRANCH
The doc/ branch to use. Defaults to head/@rHEAD.
PORTBRANCH
The ports/ branch to use. Defaults to head/@rHEAD.
TARGET
The target machine type for cross-building a release.
TARGET_ARCH
The target machine architecture for cross-building a release.
For the supported list of TARGET and TARGET_ARCH combinations, consult the output of “make targets” as documented in build(7).
KERNEL
The target kernel configuration to use. Defaults to GENERIC. Multiple KERNEL entries may be specified.
MAKE_CONF
The make.conf(5) to use for the release build. Defaults to /dev/null to prevent polluting the release with local system changes.
SRC_CONF
The src.conf(5) to use for the release build. Defaults to /dev/null to prevent polluting the release with local system changes.
MAKE_FLAGS
Additional flags to pass to make(1).
WORLD_FLAGS
Additional flags to pass to make(1) during the “buildworld” phase. Defaults to setting the number of make(1) jobs (-j) to the number of CPUs available on a SMP-capable system.
KERNEL_FLAGS
Additional flags to pass to make(1) during the “buildkernel” phase. Defaults to setting the number of make(1) jobs (-j) to half the number of CPUs available on a SMP-capable system.
NODOC
Set to a non-empty value to skip the doc/ tree checkout. When set, NODOC will prevent the doc.txz distribution package from being created.
NOPORTS
Set to a non-empty value to skip the ports/ tree checkout. When set, NOPORTS will prevent the ports.txz distribution package from being created. Setting this also sets NODOC.
WITH_DVD
Set to a non-empty value to include the dvdrom target.
WITH_COMPRESSED_IMAGES
Set to a non-empty value to compress the release images with xz(1). The original (uncompressed) images are not removed.
XZ_THREADS (int)
Set to the number of threads xz(1) should use when compressing images. By default, XZ_THREADS is set to 0, which uses all available cores on the system.
VCSCMD
The command run to obtain the source trees. Defaults to “svn checkout”.
CHROOTBUILD_SKIP
If defined, the buildworld, installworld, and distribution stages of the chroot(8) build environment setup are skipped. This is intended solely for cases where the chroot(8) userland are provided by alternate means.
SRC_UPDATE_SKIP
Set to a non-empty value to prevent checkout or update of /usr/src within the chroot(8). This is intended for use only when /usr/src is expected to exist by alternative means.
DOC_UPDATE_SKIP
Set to a non-empty value to prevent checkout or update of /usr/doc within the chroot(8). This is intended for use only when /usr/doc is expected to exist by alternative means.
PORTS_UPDATE_SKIP
Set to a non-empty value to prevent checkout or update of /usr/ports within the chroot(8). This is intended for use only when /usr/ports is expected to exist by alternative means.

The following release.conf variables are relevant only to release builds for embedded systems:
EMBEDDEDBUILD
Set to a non-null value to enable functionality for embedded device release builds.
When set, WITH_DVD is unset, and NODOC is defined. Additionally, EMBEDDED_TARGET and EMBEDDED_TARGET_ARCH must also be defined. When the build environment is created, release.sh runs a separate build script located in an architecture-specific directory in src/release/${EMBEDDED_TARGET}/.
EMBEDDEDPORTS
Set to the list of any ports that are required for the target device in the format of category/port. The devel/subversion port is built by default.
EMBEDDED_TARGET
When set, its value is passed to make(1) to set the TARGET (value of uname -m) to cross build the target userland.
EMBEDDED_TARGET_ARCH
When set, its value is passed to make(1) to set the TARGET_ARCH (value of uname -p) to cross build the target userland.

The following release.conf variables are relevant only to virtual machine disk image builds:
WITH_VMIMAGES
Set to a non-null value to build virtual machine disk images as part of the release build. WITH_VMIMAGES may also be specified as an environment variable passed to make(1).
The option requires mkimg(1) version 20140927 or later.
WITH_COMPRESSED_VMIMAGES
Set to a non-null value to compress the virtual machine disk images with xz(1) as part of the install make(1) target. Note that compressing virtual machine disk images may take a very long time on some systems.
VMBASE
Set to change the name of the resulting virtual machine disk image file. The default value is vm.
VMSIZE
Set to change the size of the virtual machine disk capacity. The default value is 20G. See truncate(1) for valid values.
Virtual machine disk images are, by default, created as sparse images. When WITH_COMPRESSED_VMIMAGES is used, the resulting files compressed with xz(1) compress to roughly the same size, regardless of the specified disk image size.
VMFORMATS
Set to the target virtual disk image format(s) to create. By default, the vhdf, vmdk, qcow2, and raw formats are created. See mkimg(1) for valid format values (requires version 20140927 or later).
For a list of supported VMFORMATS values (including cloud hosting provider formats) along with a brief description, run:
cd /usr/src 
make -C release list-vmtargets

The FreeBSD release build tools support building virtual machine images for various cloud hosting providers, each with their own specific configuration to include support for each hosting provider by default.
The following make(1) environment variables are supported:
CLOUDWARE
Set to a list of one or more cloud hosting providers, enclosed in quotes. Requires WITH_CLOUDWARE to also be set.
WITH_CLOUDWARE
Set to a non-empty value to enable building virtual machine images for various cloud hosting providers. Requires CLOUDWARE to also be set.
Additionally, the CLOUDWARE and WITH_CLOUDWARE variables can be added to release.conf, and used in conjunction with release.sh.
For a list of supported CLOUDWARE values, run:
cd /usr/src 
make -C release list-cloudware

The release makefile (src/release/Makefile) is fairly abstruse. Most developers will only be concerned with the release and install targets.
Meta-target to build all release media and distributions applicable to this platform.
Copy all produced release media to ${DESTDIR}.
Builds installation CD-ROM images. This may require the md(4) (memory disk) device driver be present in the kernel (either by being compiled in or available as a module). This target produces files called disc1.iso and bootonly.iso as its output.
Builds installation DVD-ROM images. This may require the md(4) (memory disk) device driver be present in the kernel (either by being compiled in or available as a module). This target produces the dvd1.iso file as its output.
Builds an installation memory stick image named memstick.img. Not applicable on all platforms. Requires that the md(4) (memory disk) device driver be present in the kernel (either by being compiled in or available as a module).
Similar to memstick, with the exception that the installation distribution sets are not included.
Creates a directory named ftp containing the distribution files used in network installations and suitable for upload to an FTP mirror.
Creates virtual machine disk images in various formats. The vm-image target requires the WITH_VMIMAGES make(1) environment variable to be set to a non-null value.
Builds FreeBSD virtual machine images for various cloud hosting providers. See “CLOUD HOSTING MACHINE IMAGES” for implementation details.
Displays the list of valid CLOUDWARE values.
Displays the list of valid VMFORMAT and CLOUDWARE values.
Major subtargets called by targets above:
Generates all the distribution archives (base, kernel, ports, doc) applicable on this platform.
Builds a bootable installation system containing all the distribution files packaged by the packagesystem target, and suitable for imaging by the cdrom, dvdrom and memstick targets.
Builds the release documentation. This includes the release notes, hardware guide, and installation instructions. Other documentation, such as the Handbook, is built during the base.txz target invoked by packagesystem.

Optional variables:
Optional base name for generated media images (e.g., FreeBSD-9.0-RC2-amd64). Defaults to the output of `uname -s`-`uname -r`-`uname -p` within the chroot.
Location of a directory containing the src tree. By default, the directory above the one containing the makefile (src).
Location of a directory containing the ports tree. By default, /usr/ports. If it is unset or cannot be found, ports will not be included in the release.
Location of a directory containing the doc tree. By default, /usr/doc. If it is unset or cannot be found, most documentation will not be included in the release; see NODOC below.
If defined, the Ports Collection will be omitted from the release.
If set, do not include system source code in the release.
If defined, the XML-based documentation from the FreeBSD Documentation Project will not be built. However, the “doc” distribution will still be created with the minimal documentation set provided in src/share/doc.
The target hardware platform. This is analogous to the “uname -m” output. This is necessary to cross-build some target architectures. For example, cross-building for ARM64 machines requires TARGET_ARCH=aarch64 and TARGET=arm64. If not set, TARGET defaults to the current hardware platform.
The target machine processor architecture. This is analogous to the “uname -p” output. Set this to cross-build for a different architecture. If not set, TARGET_ARCH defaults to the current machine architecture, unless TARGET is also set, in which case it defaults to the appropriate value for that platform. Typically, one only needs to set TARGET.

/usr/doc/Makefile
 
/usr/doc/share/mk/doc.project.mk
 
/usr/ports/Mk/bsd.port.mk
 
/usr/ports/Mk/bsd.sites.mk
 
/usr/share/examples/etc/make.conf
 
/usr/src/Makefile
 
/usr/src/Makefile.inc1
 
/usr/src/release/Makefile
 
/usr/src/release/Makefile.vm
 
/usr/src/release/release.sh
 
/usr/src/release/release.conf.sample
 
/usr/src/release/tools/*.conf
 
/usr/src/release/tools/vmimage.subr
 

The following sequence of commands can be used to build a “-CURRENT snapshot”:
cd /usr 
svn co svn://svn.freebsd.org/base/head src 
cd src 
make buildworld buildkernel 
cd release 
make release 
make install DESTDIR=/var/freebsd-snapshot
After running these commands, all produced distribution files (tarballs for FTP, CD-ROM images, etc.) are available in the /var/freebsd-snapshot directory.
The following sequence of commands can be used to build a “-CURRENT snapshot” in a clean environment, including ports and documentation:
cd /usr/src/release 
sh release.sh
Optionally, a configuration file can be used customize the release build, such as the subversion revision to use, the branch of the subversion tree for src/, ports/, and doc/.
cd /usr/src/release 
sh release.sh -c $HOME/release.conf
Configuration files specific to various supported embedded systems, such as the Raspberry Pi, exist in the directory corresponding to the TARGET make(1) variable. For example, to build an image for the Raspberry Pi:
cd /usr/src/release 
sh release.sh -c arm/RPI-B.conf
To build an image for the Raspberry Pi 3:
cd /usr/src/release 
sh release.sh -c arm64/RPI3.conf
After running these commands, all prepared release files are available in the /scratch directory. The target directory can be changed by specifying the CHROOTDIR variable in release.conf.

cc(1), install(1), make(1), svn(1) (ports/devel/subversion), uname(1), md(4), make.conf(5), build(7), ports(7), chroot(8), mtree(8), sysctl(8)
FreeBSD Release Engineering, https://www.FreeBSD.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/freebsd-releng/.
FreeBSD Developers' Handbook, https://www.FreeBSD.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/developers-handbook/.

FreeBSD 1.x used a manual checklist, compiled by Rod Grimes, to produce a release. Apart from being incomplete, the list put a lot of specific demands on available file systems and was quite torturous to execute.
As part of the FreeBSD 2.0 release engineering effort, significant effort was spent getting src/release/Makefile into a shape where it could at least automate most of the tediousness of building a release in a sterile environment.
For the FreeBSD 9.0 release, src/release/Makefile was overhauled and the wrapper script src/release/generate-release.sh introduced to support the introduction of a new installer.
For the FreeBSD 9.2 release, src/release/release.sh was introduced to support per-build configuration files. src/release/release.sh is heavily based on the src/release/generate-release.sh script.
At near 1000 revisions spread over multiple branches, the svn(1) log of src/release/Makefile contains a vivid historical record of some of the hardships release engineers go through.

src/release/Makefile was originally written by Rod Grimes, Jordan Hubbard, and Poul-Henning Kamp.
This manual page was originally written by Murray Stokely <murray@FreeBSD.org>.
It was updated by Nathan Whitehorn <nwhitehorn@FreeBSD.org> to include the generate-release.sh script used for the FreeBSD 9.0 release cycle.
It was later updated by Glen Barber <gjb@FreeBSD.org> to include the release.sh script used for the FreeBSD 9.2 release cycle.
March 28, 2018 FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE

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