In general, the automated tools should be the preferred method.
Note on the move from CVS to subversion: The notes on manual methods have been updated to reflect the Free BSD change from CVS to subversion that from March 2013 covers both source upgrades and the ports system. We do nothing exciting, nothing even remotely interesting and if it smacks of risk, we lie down in a dark room for a couple of hours, then check that we have access to emergency medical assistance, before doing anything. Free BSD finally stops maintaining our release and we gotta do something. Hell can freeze over before we break that last rule.
This survival guide was written because we suspect we are not alone and besides, the down-side of the 'slothful' maintenance theory is we are not constantly doing stuff and so forget....a lot....frequently.
Note on Extreme Sloth: By extreme application of the 'slothful' method of maintenance you could find yourself more that one major version behind (say, using 6.x when the current version is 9.x).
The best advice here is to never try a multi-version upgrade, say, from 6.x to 9.x - always pass through the intervening major version(s) - certainly as far as Step 6 since ABI (Application Binary Interface) changes may cause serious problems.
Some level of risk is involved, offset against being udated for the lastest security fixes, and significantly lower risk than using -CURRENT.
Resides in the /stable branch under the major version number, for example, svn.freebsd.org/base/stable/8 will provide the latest major version 8 sources (see here).
This is a survival guide to keeping Free BSD up-to-date ('ish).
This note covers the automated tools (freebsd-update and portsnap) and manual methods for updating Free BSD.
A specific, frozen-in-time, release of Free BSD, for example, 9.1.
Resides under the /release branch and has a major, minor and third level (normally 0) version number, for example, svn.freebsd.org/base/release/9.1.0 (see here).
We will be using non-standard paths so need we to do more work.