15.5. Differentiating operating systems and OS versions

You may come across code that needs modifications or conditional compilation based upon what version of Unix it is running under. If you need to make such changes to the code for conditional compilation, make sure you make the changes as general as possible so that we can back-port code to FreeBSD 1.x systems and cross-port to other BSD systems such as 4.4BSD from CSRG, BSD/386, 386BSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

The preferred way to tell 4.3BSD/Reno (1990) and newer versions of the BSD code apart is by using the BSD macro defined in <sys/param.h>. Hopefully that file is already included; if not, add the code:

    #if (defined(__unix__) || defined(unix)) && !defined(USG)
    #include <sys/param.h>

to the proper place in the .c file. We believe that every system that defines these two symbols has sys/param.h. If you find a system that does not, we would like to know. Please send mail to the FreeBSD ports mailing list .

Another way is to use the GNU Autoconf style of doing this:

    #ifdef HAVE_SYS_PARAM_H
    #include <sys/param.h>

Do not forget to add -DHAVE_SYS_PARAM_H to the CFLAGS in the Makefile for this method.

Once you have sys/param.h included, you may use:

    #if (defined(BSD) && (BSD >= 199103))

to detect if the code is being compiled on a 4.3 Net2 code base or newer (e.g. FreeBSD 1.x, 4.3/Reno, NetBSD 0.9, 386BSD, BSD/386 1.1 and below).


    #if (defined(BSD) && (BSD >= 199306))

to detect if the code is being compiled on a 4.4 code base or newer (e.g. FreeBSD 2.x, 4.4, NetBSD 1.0, BSD/386 2.0 or above).

The value of the BSD macro is 199506 for the 4.4BSD-Lite2 code base. This is stated for informational purposes only. It should not be used to distinguish between versions of FreeBSD based only on 4.4-Lite vs. versions that have merged in changes from 4.4-Lite2. The __FreeBSD__ macro should be used instead.

Use sparingly:

Note: Note that 2.2-STABLE sometimes identifies itself as ``2.2.5-STABLE'' after the 2.2.5-RELEASE. The pattern used to be year followed by the month, but we decided to change it to a more straightforward major/minor system starting from 2.2. This is because the parallel development on several branches made it infeasible to classify the releases simply by their real release dates. If you are making a port now, you do not have to worry about old -CURRENTs; they are listed here just for your reference.

In the hundreds of ports that have been done, there have only been one or two cases where __FreeBSD__ should have been used. Just because an earlier port screwed up and used it in the wrong place does not mean you should do so too.

For questions about the FreeBSD ports system, e-mail <ports@FreeBSD.org>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <doc@FreeBSD.org>.