[linux-elitists] sarge

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Sun Dec 28 23:15:29 PST 2003

Quoting Modus Operandi (modus@as220.org):

> To clarify my intent, I'm currently tracking stable. I've heard so
> many wonderful things about the testing and unstable branches, but
> I'm curious to know what dpkg/apt issues might have to be resolved
> on a jump from woody to sarge.

None, really.

The ultra-cautious person's approach would be as follows:

1.  Do "apt-get update ; apt-get dist-upgrade" to bring fully up to
    date your existing Debian-stable setup.

2.  Change "stable" to "testing" in /etc/apt/sources.list.  Add 
    a Debian Security Team line for "testing" to the one you 
    should already have for "stable".  Resulting sources.list 
    should be as follows (not allowing for your preference for 
    some particular local mirror, and not including any other 
    unofficial package sources you might use):

deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian testing main contrib non-free
deb http://non-us.debian.org/debian-non-US testing/non-US main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org stable/updates main contrib non-free

3.  Do "apt-get update".  This fetches entirely new available-packages
    catalogues from the repositories.

4.  Upgrade the most-crucial packages to Debian-testing versions, first:
    "apt-get install perl libc6 dpkg apt apt-utils debconf"

5.  Upgrade the rest:
    "apt-get dist-upgrade"

6.  Using the available-packages browser of your choice (aptitude, 
    synaptic, dselect, etc.), examine the "kernel-image-*" packages
    to find what's best for your needs and your hardware.  Remember:
    Debian never switches kernel versions on you, without your 
    specific approval.  E.g., if you've left the original installer's
    kernel in place, then that's one administrative error you're overdue
    to fix.

> Just looking for a heads-up on any gotchas I should prepare for before
> transitioning. 


o  Are you still running XFree86 3.x?  If so, you might want to junk
   your X setup before upgrading.  I mean, it'll still work, but 
   you're better off starting afresh with the new development track's
   4.x setup and software, unless for some reason you really love 3.x.

o  Do you have any locally installed software that dpkg/apt doesn't 
   know about, e.g., under /usr/local or /opt?  Since apt knows 
   nothing of that software's dependencies, the dependencies may 
   break unless you take measures to ensure they don't.

o  Are you still running an incredibly ancient kernel?  You might 
   want to fix that first.

> To shed further light, I'm wondering about the difference between a
> version jump from stable to testing, and one between stable and
> unstable. 

Damned little.  Figuratively, the version jump seems proportionately 
about like this:

stable --------------------------------------------------- testing unstable

(Picture unstable as teetering on the edge of a chasm marked "bleeding
edge".  Somewhere off to the right, hanging in mid-air, is the track 
named "experimental".)

That's why apt-get installing packages from either testing or unstable
onto a Debian-stable system often causing problems by bringing along a
big gang of other software from the later branch, leaving you with a
system uneasily split between the two -- whereas, being on testing but 
pulling selective packages from unstable tends to work well.

> Care to help illuminate the best transition path?

I hope the above helps.

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