exnoodles along with using smxi for upgrades tends to make running Debian pretty darn simple.
The Story of smxi :: And Other Related Matters.
" * Script Start Tests - Initial script start up, checks for issues, system support, etc. The first time you run smxi it will also ask you some preference questions, which it stores for future reference.
* Sync Apt - Initialize apt by running apt-get/aptitude update. This lets it discover the latest kernel version in apt, either for sidux or Debian, depending on your choices and selections, and what system you're running.
* System and Upgrade Information - Show your system information, including when the last time you ran smxi, the last dist-upgrade/upgrade using smxi, and the last time apt itself was used. This information is also available any time, in or out of X, by running using this command: smxi -v
* Kernel Install - Next, unless you have selected to skip it in options, comes kernel install. Kernel install is skipped until after the upgrade if the installed kernel version is 2 major versions under the newest (ie: 2.6.27 is latest, 2.6.25 is installed). Kernel install lets you pick from a range of kernel/module install/remove options.
* Upgrade Warnings - After kernel install, if you opt to continue, which you probably should do normally, you see the current warnings and alerts. These have 3 conditions, green, yellow, and red. Debian Sid/sidux users will almost never see the green condition, Debian Testing/Stable users will see it frequently. So don't worry if it's yellow and you're using a Sid system, that's normal, just make sure to read the alert message. If you forget it, you can always go to another terminal, and do this command: smxi -W w to see the latest alerts without actually starting smxi again.
* Pre Upgrade Fixes - Once you decide to do the upgrade (or you can skip it here), the pre upgrade fixes, if any, will run, as well as pre upgrade hold/install tests, if applicable (mostly these are for Debian Sid systems).
* Config Files and Start Upgrade - After the fixes run, you will see a list of config files to answer y/n to. Take a note of these, if you forget them, you can use smxi -W c in another console session to review them at any time.
* Main Upgrade - Then the upgrade will run. Always check to see if anything suspicious is happening before saying 'y' do the dist-upgrade/upgrade.
* Post Upgrade Choices - After the upgrade, you'll get some more options, to repeat it, try to fix something that broke, etc. Then you can continue on. Sometimes, rarely, a fix will run after the upgrade as well.
* Post Upgrade Options - Next you come to the main script library module function handler, the Post Upgrade Options section, which offers a range of choices. You can do a variety of actions here, including:
o Package Install - a variety of package install options, in groups, ie: utilities, non free stuff (like Opera or Flash), OpenOffice.org installer (check it out, it's quite complete), servers (nfs/samba/apache/php/mysql) and so on.
o Package removal - remove packages, clean up your system of unwanted packages, like wifi stuff, isdn, etc.
o Cleanup - cleanup system, kernels, system cruft.
o Miscellaneous Tweaks - a wide variety of different options, check them out, or see the navigation page for full listings.
o Virtual Machine Installer - Starts svmi, which lets you pick some popular options, like vmware player or virtualbox ose / non-ose.
o Kernel Options - Same as you saw prior the upgrade, but you can access it from there too if you prefer, or need to, install your kernel after the upgrade.
o Continue to Graphics - for non free graphics driver install. If you don't use a non free graphics driver like nVidia or Fglrx, you can exit, (to reboot etc), here, or start your desktop, if you didn't get a new kernel installed.
* Graphics Install Question - The last real step in smxi is the graphics installer question, which starts sgfxi with the proper driver, or whatever option there you select. Gives a range of options depending on your card type, if it's free or non free drivers, etc. If you need more fine tuned options, you can always start sgfxi directly, after you check out its sgfxi -h help menu for a full current list of options.
That's the basic outline of what the scripts do, whether you run them alone or as standalone doesn't really matter, but it's generally easier to just run it all directly from smxi I find, but each to their own. "