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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 install apt dpkg aptitude
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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