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Debian Operating Systems Software

Debian's Testing Branch Nears Completion 216

DeviceGuru writes "With Debian Lenny (aka 'testing') poised to displace Etch as the popular Linux distribution's 'stable' branch possibly as soon as next month, blogger Rick Lehrbaum loaded the latest preview (beta 2) of Lenny's KDE CD image onto an available Thinkpad, and took it for a spin. How's it coming along? After detailing a handful of issues — and offering solutions for each (except Bluetooth support) — he concludes: 'Other than the need for a few hacks and fixes, my main complaint with it is its inclusion of way too many of KDE's rich set of applications, such as games, tools, etc.' From the looks of it, looks like Lenny might be the new 'Debian stable' soon!"
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Debian's Testing Branch Nears Completion

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:24PM (#24610407)
    It's only been sixteen months since Etch was released, not three years! Something's wrong!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      No, you have to realize, this is like KDE 4, just because it is nearing completion doesn't mean that it will be released this year. That and Duke Nukem Forever.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's the current testing branch, installed using the second beta of the Debian-Installer version to be included in Lenny. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

  • by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @12:04AM (#24610705) Homepage
    I have a server running stable, and I don't have physical access to it. Does anyone have any practical advice on the safest way to handle the upgrade? Is a debian "stable" really stable when it first comes out, or is it better to wait a while? Basically, what I understand of the procedure is something like this:
    1. Read the readme -- where do I find it?
    2. apt-get update
    3. apt-get dist-upgrade

    I'm a little leery of this, since I've rendered ubuntu desktop systems unbootable by doing 2 and 3 -- and was told that it was because I should have done 1.

    • by dcam ( 615646 ) <davidNO@SPAMuberconcept.com> on Friday August 15, 2008 @12:17AM (#24610795) Homepage

      I am by no means an expert, however I have upgraded a couple of servers that I don't have physical access to.

      I've normally tried to upgrade a server that I do have physical access to before upgrading the offsite server(s). So long as the server comes back up and ssh is still running pretty much everything else can be sorted out after a little time, the logs and google.

      Ideally similar hardware.

      Oh and googling around to see if anyone has hit problems doing the upgrade.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dionysus ( 12737 )

      1. Release notes will be here [debian.org] (right now they contain the etch release notes).
      2. You probably will have to type apt-get dist-upgrade a couple of times (I usually average two). Reason is first couple of times, some packages will be stuck because of conflicting versioning, but it usually fixes itself once you get a couple of packages upgraded (usually once you get past libc and the kernel)

      Generally speaking, Debian upgrade is much more painless than Ubuntu upgrades, IMO, possibly because of the longer releas

    • Even if possible, I don't upgrade boxes that I can't get physical access to, or at least hit via an IP KVM so that reinstallation via CD is possible.

      But I'm just really conservative on that.

      • Good Point (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <scott.lovenberg@nospAm.gmail.com> on Friday August 15, 2008 @02:12AM (#24611441)

        Everyone becomes conservative with upgrades after the first time that a box 3000 miles away fails to come back up. Seriously, waiting for a remote reboot after a kernel update is always the longest two minutes of my life.

        Even the headless boxes at my apartment wait for me to set aside time to haul out a monitor and keyboard if anything goes wrong during an update. It's better to assume that something will go wrong and be pleasantly surprised and ahead of schedule than to sit staring at pings that have been timing out for the last five minutes (while you think, maybe it's just taking a long time to init... yeah, right!).

        And, regardless of what anyone says, a virtual machine test environment doesn't have anywhere near the complications that you get with heavy metal. A successful virtual machine test just means that nothing is assured to go wrong, nothing more.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by petermgreen ( 876956 )

          than to sit staring at pings that have been timing out for the last five minutes (while you think, maybe it's just taking a long time to init... yeah, right!).
          Often when a linux box hasn't been rebooted for a while it can take a long time to reboot because the boot scripts decide that the filesystems need checking. On a big filesystem this can take quite some time.

        • by gmack ( 197796 )

          Indeed. Personally I'll upgrade everything except the kernel remotely and even the kernels are hand picked by me.

          Some hosting companies can take several hours to process a reboot request. and then they have to call in a special tech ($200/hr) to chose another boot option if the system can't come up at all with the upgraded kernel. Even for hosting that's in the same city as me will take me an hour to get there just to handle a reboot.

          I had a few six hour outages before I became very conservative,

        • by anarxia ( 651289 )
          I only use servers with remote management if they are far away. They are not too expensive and the investment usually pays off the first time your server doesn't come up (remote management $ plane ticket $ + overtime $).
    • by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @12:39AM (#24610943)

      At least do a simulated dist-upgrade by using the -s switch before doing the "real" one!

            apt-get -s dist-upgrade

      Sometimes, just sometimes, it'll catch things which might go wrong before they actually happen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lakeland ( 218447 )

      Every new stable is really well tested, I would expect it to work just fine.

      Having said that, if you don't want it to happen then just change your sources.list from 'stable' to your release name.

      If you don't have remote KVM I would be tempted to wait a week or so after release before upgrading - just to see if others have hit snags.

      • by dcam ( 615646 )

        Every new stable is really well tested, I would expect it to work just fine.

        The last move from sarge to etch caused some issues for me, specifically the postfix-mysql authentication. I sorted them all out within about an hour or two after the upgrade, but it does happen.

      • IMO you should always use the release name in your sources.list. There are usually a couple of things that need to be taken care of before upgrading from one release to the next and you need to have time to sort things out if something does go wrong.

    • Read the readme -- where do I find it?
      The official instructions for the upgrade including details of known pitfalls will be in the release notes. Afaict the lenny ones haven't been written yet but they should be written and easy to find by the time lenny becomes stable.

      Often there are some packages that they advise upgrading first before starting the main upgrade process. and you are likely to have to install the new kernel manually.

      If you have a local machine with similar hardware doing a practice upgrade

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheRudle ( 1029188 )
      You will need to change your /etc/apt/sources.lst . Wherever it says etch, change it to lenny. Then run those commands.
    • Are you joking?
      http://debian.org/ [debian.org]

      If you're upgrading to the latest stable release from a previous version, please read the release notes [debian.org] before proceeding.

      I'm trying really hard to not make some disparaging comments. Let's just say that ubuntu is for those who can't figure out how to install debian. ;)

      To be more helpful, it is indeed possible to simply do an "aptitude update && aptitude dist-upgrade" but it's safer to follow the detailed instructions in the release notes that advise such thin

    • 1. Debian new releases ALWAYS come with release notes that contain upgrade instructions. Follow them. It is usually NOT as simple as a dist-upgrade if you have certain packages installed.
      2. Debian stable is generally pretty stable upon release, but feel free to wait a bit if it will make you more comfortable. Just make sure that your sources.list says "etch" and not "stable". When lenny is realeased, etch will become 'oldstable'.

      So basically, you've got the right idea. To read the release notes, go t

    • Well, I'd tell you to wait a day or two, but other people already said a week. I guess you are not in such a rush that can't wait a week, so, follow their advice ;)

      I'd also change those steps a bit:

      1. Read the readme
      2. Read /. Really, it does normaly help. Wait untill /. readers comment on the upgrade.
      3. apt-get update && apt-get upgrade #In case a previous bug recurs.
      4. apt-get install apt-listbugs #If you don't have it already.
      5. apt-get -s dist-upgrade #Sometimes it is usefull, but not aways. Remember to che
  • by Twitchimus ( 415770 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @12:29AM (#24610887)

    OK, so the gentleman downloaded and installed the *KDE* version of Debian Lenny, and then says his main complaint "is its inclusion of way too many of KDE's rich set of applications, such as games, tools, etc."

    I can understand that; I once installed Windows XP, but there were far too many Microsoft applications for my liking.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by petermgreen ( 876956 )

      In general the desktop install tasks of debian (at least the default gnome one and the kde based one, not sure about the xfce one) do leave a rather bloated install.

      If you are at all concerned about disk space it is usually a much better idea to install the base system and then add what you want on top of that yourself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2008 @01:06AM (#24611105)

    I for one (in addition to welcoming our KDE overlords) think it is great that games are being included by default. More distros need to do this. Every LiveCD should be able to show people that Windows isn't the only OS where you can waste time playing Solitaire. A LiveCD/default install that doesn't have this is probably going to feel like an incomplete system to the average desktop user.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by marcosdumay ( 620877 )
      Also, KPatience should make it more clear that you can play some other kind of solitaire on it. The default one is too boring :)
  • by Sipper ( 462582 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @01:56AM (#24611385)

    I read The Fine Article; a few comments on the author's article:

    One of the complaints is that he wants "real" Firefox rather than the renamed Iceweasel. Well, until the Mozilla Foundation says differently, that isn't possible. Mozilla withdrew their prior permission to ship Firefox with a replaced logo that fit the Debian Free Software Guidelines, and the only way to comply with both Mozilla and the DFSG was to rename the application. So if you want to complain about this, write to Mozilla. I think Debian totally made the right choice to rename.

    Shorter explanation:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_IceCat [wikipedia.org]
    Longer explanation:
          http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=354622 [debian.org]

    Playing a DVD
    The author wasn't able to test playing a DVD; normal movie DVDs that use encryption won't play out of the box. This is because Debian cannot ship libdvdcss2 as part of the main distribution for legal reasons, same as other distributions. There are other external repositories (outside of the US) that contain libdvdcss2 -- but it may not be legal to import the package into the US. You might find some choices if you put "Debian" and "multimedia" into Google and see what comes up.

    Wow, the author set up the POTS modem. When is the last time you had to use one of those? Gotta give him credit for going through that effort.

    - Chris

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jolinfire ( 1345173 )
      Well, both debian and mozilla are guilty here. I think there are both in their rights. Mozilla is fighting to avoid bad press because some people could make some bad things based on mozilla source code. Debian cannot use official branding because of their social contracts. So, let's stop fighting. Anyway, this will be no longer a problem because soon Epiphany - gnome brower - will be using webcore instead of gecko. So...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Qzukk ( 229616 )

      Wow, the author set up the POTS modem. When is the last time you had to use one of those?

      Plenty of people still live in parts of the world without anything faster. But PPP isn't only for POTS, plenty of DSL services use PPPo[AE].

      I think it's well past time to create a ppp-client package (conflicts with pppd) that has pppd configured the way that the 99% of the users who aren't modem pools will use it (for instance, not demanding a password from the other end of the line). Bonus points if the code starts d

  • by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:27AM (#24611811) Journal
    This is not good.They actually managed to get a new Debian version out before I got laid...
  • Our servers were only upgraded to etch 6 months ago. While the upgrade process itself is quick and painless, checking every last detail to make sure the system is ready for customer use is a PITA, and I'd really rather stick with what we have + security updates :(

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