Quarterly (Stable) Ports Branch
Quarterly is the name for Ports branches cut from HEAD at the beginning of every (yearly) quarter in January, April, July, and October, and the name for the binary package sets that are produced from these branches.
Branches are named according to the year (YYYY) and quarter (Q1-4) they are created in. For example, the quarterly branch created in January 2016, is named 2016Q1.
These branches are governed by the Ports Security Team.
FreeBSD versions 10.2-RELEASE and later use the quarterly branch by default.
The aim of these branches is to provide users with a more predictable and stable experience for port and package installation and upgrades. This is done essentially by only allowing non-feature updates.
Quarterly branches aim to receive (on a best effort basis) only the following Merge From Head (MFH) commits, including, but not limited to:
- Security fixes (that may be version updates, or backports of commits)
- Build, run, packaging, or other bug fixes
- Ports compliance/framework changes
More precisely, the changes a quarterly branch receives is:
Any change that is not a version update (unless it is a security update), that other than the intended change, makes no functional change to the resulting package or software.
Only the latest (one) quarterly branch is supported at any one time. Support in this context means receives merges from HEAD.
Note: To be sure about any specific change, please check with ports-secteam.
For more examples, see this list of changes that have Blanket (Implicit) Approval.
Switching from quarterly to latest
To switch from quarterly to latest (packages based off ports head):
Copy /etc/pkg/FreeBSD.conf to /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/FreeBSD.conf if you haven't already
Change the string quarterly to latest in the url: line
Run pkg update -f to update from the new (latest) repository metadata.