Contributed by jose on from the upgrade-help dept.
While the FreeBSD diary page does nothing substantial to help you get started, the use of mergemaster is quite simple. Basic use of the tool will first create /var/tmp/temproot (by default) and populate a fake directory structure. then it will start to compare various flat text files between the directory structure there and your real system, such as /dev/MAKEDEV, /etc/rc, and the like. You can view the diffs in chunks and act on each chunk by chosing the new (temporary) file, keeping the old one, or merging the two. When you merge you have to handle the patch chunk by chunk with a left and a right hand side. For some files this can be very long, but for others its worth the time. There are some files that you shouldn't merge without careful thought, like /etc/sudoers and the password file. Mergemaster has a lot of configuration options available via its .mergemasterrc file. This way is significantly easier than doing the procedure by hand, plus helps you keep backups.
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