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I just want to make sure I understand some things about the whole ports thing. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it...
1. Ok...there are 3 separate "parts": Kernel, Userland (Ports), System Sources. Kernel is independent of the userland, unlike linux, where there are some connections, and changes in software can change how the kernel behaves. With unix, it's so separated that it isn't an issue. Correct?
2. If you cvsup the system sources, you need to rebuild your kernel accordingly (correct?), esp. if there have been changes/patches, etc. Also, if I also do I have to rebuild world first? Or cvsup ports, portupgrade, then rebuild world, then rebuild kernel?
3. If you cvsup your ports (ports-supfile), you can check to see what is different, if any, and either install the ones that have changed one at a time with dependencies, or do a port-upgrade, correct? I don't necessarily have to rebuild the kernel. But I do have to rebuild world?
Sorry for asking such redundant questions. I'm one of those people who has to understand the interactions of one thing to another; the advantage is, once I understand it, I usually understand it very very well. I am just trying to get a grip on what rebuilding userland does, mainly; I understand updating ports, and portupgrades, to bring the system to the most recent; I also understand cvsuping the source, and rebuilding the kernel when things change. But I don't understand what the rebuilding of userland does, and if it's necessary prior to rebuilding the kernel.
It never hurts to buildworld after a patch but it is not strictly necessary. You should rebuild everything which was patched. You need to read /usr/src/UPDATING and watch which files were changed very carefully if you plan on doing it in bits and parts.
This takes a careful eye and you don't want to make mistakes. It is not impossibly difficult with a patch branch. Basically, if the kernel was patched... you need to rebuild it. If ftpd was patched, you need to rebuild that. If cvs was patched, you need to rebuild that. And you only need to rebuild what was patched. If cvs was patched and the kernel wasn't -- you don't need to rebuild the kernel.
Your kernel won't show itself as the newest patch of the OS but you will have installed it. It gets rather complicated at times. In short, for your purposes, if only the kernel was patched, you do not need to rebuild world. If other stuff was... rebuild world as well. And if you always do both, you'll never miss something.