I’m Using Debian Squeeze Now

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If you’re not a Debian Linux user, this will probably mean absolutely nothing to you, but late last night, I upgraded my Debian PC to Debian Squeeze, the new Debian Testing branch that was released 8 days ago.

As I explained to a friend through email, I upgraded now because it was only several weeks ago that I had changed my Debian repositories from “Testing” to “Lenny,” to make sure that I stayed with Lenny during its transition from the Debian Testing branch to the Debian Stable branch, so I knew that there would be relatively few upgrades for me to download right now. I also figured that now was a good time since the longer I waited to upgrade to Squeeze, the more upgrades I would have to download, and the bigger the chance that I would run into some dependency problems.

First, I used a bootable Clonezilla CD to make a backup of my entire installed-and-configured Lenny root partition onto my backup hard drive, so that if anything went wrong during the upgrade, I could quickly restore my computer back to being a fully-functioning Lenny system.

Next, I edited /etc/apt/sources.list to update my software repositories. I changed the word “lenny” on each line to the word “testing” and I commented-out the “security.debian.org” repository, since I read that it won’t be receiving any security updates for at least the next few weeks.

NOTE: I could have changed each “lenny” to “squeeze” intead of “testing” since “squeeze” and “testing” are one-and-the-same right now, but I decided to use “testing” so that I will have a “rolling upgrade” system from now on — So, in the future, when Squeeze stops being “Debian Testing” and takes Lenny’s place as “Debian Stable,” my computer will automatically upgrade to whatever takes Squeeze’s place as the new “Debian Testing,” no matter what its silly “Toy Story” name is. And if I decide to wait awhile before I do that upgrade, then all I’ll have to do is stop installing any updates until I feel like I’m ready for them.

After editing my sources.list file, I opened a terminal window, and following the instructions that I found on several different Web sites, I entered an “su” command followed by the root password (to get root permissions) and then typed the following 3 commands:

aptitude update
aptitude install apt dpkg aptitude
aptitude full-upgrade

The first command went to my newly-changed repositories and found all of the newest versions of each package that’s installed on my computer. After several seconds of downloading information, it showed me that there were 210 updates wating for me to download.

The second command upgraded Debian’s “apt, dpkg and aptitude” commands themselves, so that my computer would have the latest, smartest versions of each of those, to reduce the chances that my upgrade would end up with any unresolved software dependencies.

The final command downloaded and installed all of the upgrades that the first command had found. On my computer with Verizon’s least expensive DSL connection, it took about 15 minutes to download them all. I watched every single file download, one after the other, to see if there were any problems. There weren’t. After they all downloaded, it took a couple more minutes for my computer to automatically install and configure all of them.

When it was all over, I was told that all of the packages had been installed without any errors, and I was returned to the terminal’s command prompt.

A few days ago, I read a forum post in which one user said that when he shut down his computer and turned it back on, after upgrading from Lenny to Squeeze, it had GRUB bootloader problems that prevented it from booting up.

With that in mind, I figured that if my computer was going to have any problems, I wanted to know about it right away, so I could restore my Lenny backup as soon as possible.

So I shut down my PC.

And waited about 30 seconds.

And turned it back on.

It booted up.

I confirmed that my desktop looked normal and that my Internet connection — as well as my NTP clock-synchronizer, browser and email client were all still working.

Then I used it to write this Journal post.

And then I used my computer for several hours, doing everything that I normally do, without any problems at all.

After all of that, I used my bootable Clonezilla CD to make a backup of my entire installed-and-configured Testing/Squeeze root partition onto my backup hard drive.

So it looks like I successfully upgraded my Debian Lenny computer to Debian Testing/Squeeze.

What a relief!

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10 Responses to I’m Using Debian Squeeze Now

  1. tinnitus says:

    Hi, thanks for the iceweasel tips and the Lenny to testing/squeeze information. I followed your steps and after a 345mb download and a reboot I’m using Squeeze AMD64.

    Cheers

  2. ComputerBob says:

    345 MB seems like way too much stuff to have downloaded, but I’m glad that you were successful and now you’re up and running in testing/squeeze.

    I’m probably going to keep my repositories set to “testing” from now on, so that someday, my PC will automatically upgrade to whatever ends up taking squeeze’s place as the next Debian Testing branch.

  3. tinnitus says:

    Good idea. Yeah it was 345 updates not mb. You did mention someone had a Grub error after the upgrade I don’t know what that error is but the Grub error I encountered and ran into before is it adds to the Grub menu.lst a couple other boot choices – which pushed the one for my rig down the text file to choice 3 or 4 This one was the first boot choice -. linux-image-2.6.26-1-xen-686

    title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.26-1-amd64
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.26-1-amd64 root=/dev/sda1 ro quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.26-1-amd64

    Regards

  4. ComputerBob says:

    I’m guessing that it automatically added a regular boot of your new 64-bit linux kernel, plus a “single-user mode” boot of that same kernel. If that’s what it did, then that’s normal. 😉

  5. tenna says:

    Hi, I’m using Debian Squeeze too. I want to ask you if you please can tell me how do you do this?

    “I used my bootable Clonezilla CD to make a backup of my entire installed-and-configured Testing/Squeeze root partition onto my backup hard drive.”

    Thanks in advance.

  6. ComputerBob says:

    @tenna,

    What you’re asking for has already been well-documented in several Clonezilla tutorials, so I won’t repeat it all here. Just do a quick Google search, and you’ll find plenty of Clonezilla how-tos.

    Basically, you boot up your computer with the Clonezilla CD, so that your “entire installed-and-configured root partition” isn’t being used at all. Then you tell Clonezilla to create a clone your Debian root partition somewhere else (I use a separate hard drive).

    Once you have one or more clones, then if you ever mess up your Debian installation badly enough that you can’t figure out how to fix it, all you have to do is boot up your Clonezilla CD and overwrite your messed up root partition with one of your perfect clones.

  7. hmm says:

    My strategy is usually the opposite. I like to wait for the testing version to settle down for at least six months, before I switch from stable. I’m not that concerned about installation dependecy problems (which I never really encountered, but that’s just my experience) as I am with the stability of the system I use.

  8. analogtek says:

    Running true debian can be a real challenge.. I know-been there done that….I like Mepis as a debian fork.. It seems very close to true debian..Unlike others I have tried.

  9. Peter says:

    I hate to quibble with you Bob but I always thought the correct way to upgrade was

    aptitude update
    aptitude install apt dpkg aptitude
    aptitude safe-upgrade
    aptitude full-upgrade

  10. tsg says:

    Just installed Squeeze onto a spare partition on my 2-yr old laptop using debootstrap, and I am pleasantly surprised at the overall improved user experience. Other than spending some time and eventually realizing that ‘wlan0’ has to be manually entered for ‘wireless interface’ option in wicd, everything else just works.

    Each “drop_caches” now returns the RAM usage to the same level, whereas there appears to be some memory leakage in Lenny.

    Pcmanfm, fluxbox, iceweasel, audacious2, emacs23, gimp, alsamixer, brasero, etc, all improved over the previous versions.
    Hopefully the final kernel for Squeeze supports i7 laptops…

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