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Is there an easy way to check a ChangeLog of a FreeBSD port before you upgrade? For instance, I'd like to check what upgrades are mandatory before I do portmaster -ad. It would be nice to have something like portaudit, but for changelogs. The closest thing I know of is head -n 40 UPDATING.

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Doesn't portmaster have the -n switch to tell you what it would do without actually doing it? – Chris S Apr 2 '12 at 17:01
Yes, but I'm referring to the port CHANGELOG file. It would be nice to display any pertinent information for that particular port, such as if it's a bug fix, security fix feature addition, etc. – EhevuTov Apr 2 '12 at 17:04
@EhevuTov The file you're talking about isn't maintained by FreeBSD, isn't present for all ports, may be called something different if it is present, may not be in the same format in all the ports that do have it, and requires unpacking the source of the port being compiled in order to see it (at which point we're part-way into installing the port). That's a nearly insurmountable list of reasons the FreeBSD project can't supply software to check it for you... – voretaq7 Apr 2 '12 at 17:23
up vote 7 down vote accepted

No upgrades are "mandatory" -- If the port version you're using works, no dependencies require the newer version, and there are no security holes you don't need to upgrade anything.

If you're asking about mandatory changes (e.g. new configuration files) as a result of a port upgrade, UPDATING is the right place to look, and there's also often something in the port's message file.
You may want to grep for your port's name rather than just doing a head -n 40 UPDATING -- If a lot of ports have UPDATING notes between the last time you did an update and now you want to be sure you're not missing anything.

Note that while port maintainers are usually on top of these changes sometimes we forget (or our test/use cases doesn't expose the change), so you should really be familiar with the underlying software and what changed between versions before installing any update.

For anything beyond the stuff above you would need to look at the changelog for each individual port, in whatever revision control system the original author/project uses. Remember that the ports tree doesn't "contain" software - It's just a collection of scripts that let you build someone else's software more conveniently.

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