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Old 12-22-2008, 05:49 AM   #1
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Etch -> Lenny Curiosity Question

Hi all,
I'm curious what happens to apt / aptitude sources when Lenny becomes the stable release. For users that have "stable" tags in their sources.list file, such as:
'deb stable contrib non-free'
for a stable system will aptitude still grab Etch files, or start to grab Lenny files? If it knows to still grab Etch files, can someone tell me how it knows?

Also, I'm currently doing an Etch -> Lenny dist-upgrade. I know they can be error-prone, but it's a fresh stable install and I have a fallback system. If there are problems, would it be useful to report them? If so, where and how would I do so?


Old 12-22-2008, 08:02 AM   #2
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It'll start grabbing Lenny. Which is why, if you don't want that, you should change "stable" to "etch".
Old 12-22-2008, 11:14 AM   #3
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Here is the info on reporting bugs to Debian -

I would strongly advise against continuing to use Etch after Lenny is released. Etch will still be supported for a year after Lenny is released as stable, but most times stable is old software, and old-stable is ancient software. I have also been bitten by using old-stable, and then forgetting that the year of support of old-stable is winding down. Then you have to upgrade to stable, which you could have done months earlier.

In addition to that, doing what you called a "fresh stable install" at this point in time makes no sense. The code freeze happened in Lenny some months ago, which means it is very close to release. You can install Etch as stable now, but then when Lenny hits stable, you'll have to upgrade a fleet of packages most likely. If you install Lenny now as testing, then change the testing entries in /etc/apt/sources.lst from testing to stable, you'll be well set for when Lenny hits, as the code freeze Lenny is probably better than 99% similar to what will be stable Lenny. In essence, you've created more work for yourself.

All the server installs I've done since September I've built as testing/Lenny in this way, just to save the abrupt changes that occur when you do a true dist-upgrade. Usually it works well, but it can cause problems, and I'd rather have problems when I'm building the box and I can fix it rather than having the dreaded inability to SSH in after/during a dist-upgrade and I'm 100 miles away.

Old 12-22-2008, 12:16 PM   #4
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Etch to Lenny upgrade is a PITA. I know, 'cause I did it. Well: tried to, and quickly decided to do a fresh install instead. Got some issues with decisions made in the dependency dept., so reverted back to Etch after less then a week...
Old 12-23-2008, 07:39 AM   #5
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I did Etch to Lenny last week and had no problems at all, although that wasn't the case earlier this year when I assume Lenny was still in heavy development.
Old 12-23-2008, 09:39 AM   #6
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Smile Thanks everyone.

I don't have any intention to stay with Etch...I'm actually writing this from my dist-upgraded Lenny today. While poking around and changing my sources.list file to do the dist-upgrade I just got curious about how things worked.

For those that are curious why I installed Etch, then dist-upgraded, I was planning to use Etch due to the frequent security updates. After finding a hardware issue that was corrected in Lenny and how close it seems that Lenny is to being the next stable, I decided to move. Looking back, I certainly think a fresh install of Lenny would have been the best route, but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

The dist-upgrade was pretty smooth though. The list of packages to be uninstalled to correct dependency issues was long, but didn't contain anything essential, or anything I needed. The only real annoyance was that a *very* long list of packages were held back for unknown reasons. I ran aptitude install again on the list which I saved to a file, and the system is up-to-date and purring.
Old 12-23-2008, 12:30 PM   #7
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Just remember the Debian Developers request when upgrading to Lenny during this time..

all feedback is appreciated.

The couple pointers he mentions when doing the upgrade is interesting too.. such as upgrading apt aptitude and dpkg before doing the full-upgrade makes sense when you think about it.
Old 12-23-2008, 11:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JimBass View Post
If you install Lenny now as testing, then change the testing entries in /etc/apt/sources.lst from testing to stable, you'll be well set for when Lenny hits
I suspect JimBass meant you should change the entries from testing to lenny, not stable. That way, when lenny becomes stable, you're already running it and you don't have to change anything. You don't want stable in there while lenny is still testing. imho you don't really ever want stable in there instead of a codename or testing/sid. After a few months of Lenny being stable, you can change it to testing (or squeeze) and probably have a reasonably sane upgrade, while staying reasonably current, if you're interested in one at that point.
Old 12-24-2008, 03:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by farslayer View Post
Just remember the Debian Developers request when upgrading to Lenny during this time..

all feedback is appreciated.
Thanks, I'll drop them a line.


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