Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

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Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-04-27 11:21

The latest release of MX Linux (19.1 at the time of writing) is based on Debian buster and so should be binary-compatible. As such, it is possible to add the MX repositories to a Debian buster system and install their various tools.

However, MX rely on their own custom versions of systemd, udev and GRUB so simply adding the repositories will cause those packages to be favoured over the native buster versions, which isn't ideal.

To solve this problem the MX repositories can be assigned an APT pin value of 100 so that they are treated in the same way as the backports repositories — packages are not automatically updated to unless they are explicitly installed from there (eg, by using the --target option).

To do this create a file at /etc/apt/preferences.d/mxlinux with this content:
Code: Select all
Package: *
Pin: release a=mx
Pin-Priority: 100

Now add the MX-19 repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mxlinux.list, here is the content of that file:
Code: Select all
deb http://mxrepo.com/mx/repo buster main non-free

To gain access to MX's new Advanced Hardware Support (AHS) repository also add this line:
Code: Select all
deb http://mxrepo.com/mx/repo buster ahs

Then update the package database:
Code: Select all
# apt update

This will return an error to the effect that the MX repositories are unverified and so will not be trusted, the message will name their GPG key (hereafter referred to as $mx_gpg_key).

To add the key first download it from the keyservers:
Code: Select all
gpg --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys $mx_gpg_key

Then add it to APT's key list:
Code: Select all
# gpg -a --export $mx_gpg_key | apt-key add -

Now update again:
Code: Select all
# apt update

The MX repositories should now be trusted :-)

Alternatively, download the mx19-archive-keyring .deb package and install that.

Once the above steps are completed it should be possible to install packages from MX Linux, for example:
Code: Select all
# apt install mx-datetime

If a package is needed from MX that also exists in the Debian buster repositories then use the --target option, like this (replace $package with the actual name of the desired package):
Code: Select all
# apt install --target mx $package

Warning

I haven't tested this extensively and it is possible that some MX packages may conflict with the native Debian ecosystem so please be sure to conduct a full system backup before trying this.

If any problems are encountered then please bump this thread to alert others, I can always have it removed if it proves to be a terrible idea.

EDIT: corrected path to preferences file, thanks jaimet!
Last edited by Head_on_a_Stick on 2020-06-21 12:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby pcalvert » 2020-04-27 18:42

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Once the above steps are completed it should be possible to install packages from MX Linux, for example:
Code: Select all
# apt install mx-snapshot



That particular tool should probably be avoided. Here's why:
mx-snapshot

Program for creating a live-CD from MX Linux and antiX running system

JUST TO CLARIFY, this program is meant for MX Linux and antiX it won't work on another other system without considerable modifications because other systems don't have the infrastructure needed to run this program. Don't try to install the deb it won't work and might ruin your system.

Source: https://github.com/MX-Linux/mx-snapshot

One should probably use Refracta Snapshot instead.

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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-04-27 18:51

Okay, thanks for the warning Phil. I'll edit the OP.

It did work in my tests though: viewtopic.php?p=719924#p719924
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby sunrat » 2020-04-27 23:08

Just to be clear - you built an installable live Debian ISO from an installed system? Was the system installed from the live Debian image or standard installer, and was it DVD or netinstall?
I've been wondering about whether MX Snapshot would work with Debian but haven't been curious enough to try it or ask about it previously.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-04-28 09:43

sunrat wrote:you built an installable live Debian ISO from an installed system

Yes, the MX installer works from the snapshot:

Image

And the snapshot seems to work just fine even though the original system used systemd and didn't have sysvinit installed.

sunrat wrote:Was the system installed from the live Debian image or standard installer, and was it DVD or netinstall?

The original system was installed using the SharpBang installer, which is the same as that used by Debian's official "live" images (selected from the boot menu, not the Calamares installer).
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby pcalvert » 2020-04-28 22:05

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Okay, thanks for the warning Phil. I'll edit the OP.

It did work in my tests though: viewtopic.php?p=719924#p719924


I think it may be okay after all. Since I was already set up for using MX Linux packages, I tried installing mx-snapshot and saw that aptitude was going to install a bunch of dependencies:

Code: Select all
$ aptitude install mx-snapshot -s
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  antix-libs{a} libisoburn1{a} mx-antix-libs{a} mx-iso-template{a}
  mx-remaster{a} mx-snapshot syslinux-utils{a} xdg-user-dirs{a} xorriso{a}
0 packages upgraded, 9 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
Need to get 7,675 kB of archives. After unpacking 10.5 MB will be used.

Note: Using 'Simulate' mode.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?]


My guess is that the warning's purpose is mainly to dissuade people from grabbing the DEB from the GitHub page and trying to install it (which obviously wouldn't work).

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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby stevepusser » 2020-04-29 03:20

MX-snapshot is probably our "killer app", so news that it works on vanilla Debian is quite interesting.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby jaimet » 2020-06-21 12:02

Minor typo:

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:To do this create a file at /etc/preferences.d/mxlinux with...


should be:

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:To do this create a file at /etc/apt/preferences.d/mxlinux with...


Thank you for the instructions, btw. :D
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby None1975 » 2020-06-24 14:17

As well as. Try it. If you want to have a FrankenDebian :lol:

I will never understand who needs to put this in the system. After all, pure and clean Debian is wonderful.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-06-24 16:58

None1975 wrote:If you want to have a FrankenDebian

MX-19 is binary compatible with Debian buster so it wouldn't really be a FrankenDebian. The only problem is with the custom MX versions of buster packages to which the MX devs have added epochs, thus causing them to be seen as "newer" than the Debian versions. My pinning should solve that. Hopefully :)

None1975 wrote:pure and clean Debian is wonderful

Yes, I would generally agree but some people seem to really like the various "helper" GUIs that MX supply.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby stevepusser » 2020-06-24 18:06

Yeah, those few packages to which we added epochs are necessary to use the older sysvinit alongside with the option to still boot and use systemd. Otherwise, I and the other MX packagers try and build our packages on pure Debian bases with pbuilder and sbuild, so they do end up binary-compatible. No Frankencontamination.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby None1975 » 2020-06-25 11:18

stevepusser wrote:No Frankencontamination.


I may be wrong, but how to understand this statement (this is from Debian wiki, chapter "DontBreakDebian") ?

Ubuntu, Mint or other derivative repositories are not compatible with Debian!


I clearly understand that anyone can do what they want with their system, but in this case you should consider everything and decide if you really need it.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby cuckooflew » 2020-06-25 13:03

The problem here,is that to many people don't really read all of the wiki,or any other documentation for that matter they only read the 2 or 3 lines that get posted here,eg:
None1975 >I may be wrong, but how to understand this statement (this is from Debian wiki, chapter "DontBreakDebian") ?

from:https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian> Ubuntu, Mint or other derivative repositories are not compatible with Debian!

Yes, the wiki says this(above),but it needs to be stressed, the above is a small snippet,and one must read the entire wiki page,to understand the full context, or concept.
Below,is yet another "snippet",from the same wiki, clearly it mentions "some ways to reduce the risk",
from:https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebianSome safer ways to install software not available in Debian Stable

Sometimes the need arises for installing software that is not packaged for Debian, or a newer version than is packaged for the stable release. Below are some ways to reduce the risks described above.

Backported packages

Newer versions of packages can often be found in the Debian Backports archive. These packages are not tested as extensively as packages including in a Debian stable release and should be installed in moderation.

Those wishing to assume more risk and responsibility can sometimes make their own backports of the latest Debian software. While not without risk, self-backporting is usually safer than other approaches. When self-backporting fails it indicates that installing the software manually (with make install or an installer script for example) could compromise your Debian system.

And there is still more that should be read,......so go figure.
=====additional note:
Even the OP said:
Warning

I haven't tested this extensively and it is possible that some MX packages may conflict with the native Debian ecosystem so please be sure to conduct a full system backup before trying this.

If any problems are encountered then please bump this thread to alert others, I can always have it removed if it proves to be a terrible idea.

So unless someone has some real proof, and can post details about a real problem they had, indeed we should say so, but "snippets"from the wiki,do not prove that it is a terrible idea, if one reads the entire wiki, they will see it is done in the safest manner possible. ok, well @H_O_A_S, my apology for derailing the topic, I just wanted to say,people need to read the entire wiki, and not just partial snippets. After all said and done, it is a pretty good tutorial.
Last edited by cuckooflew on 2020-06-27 02:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby stevepusser » 2020-06-26 01:49

None1975 wrote:
stevepusser wrote:No Frankencontamination.


I may be wrong, but how to understand this statement (this is from Debian wiki, chapter "DontBreakDebian") ?

Ubuntu, Mint or other derivative repositories are not compatible with Debian!


I clearly understand that anyone can do what they want with their system, but in this case you should consider everything and decide if you really need it.


In that case, they are talking Ubuntu and its derivative, Mint. They have diverged from pure Debian and use their own completely different set of repositories.

Direct derivatives that use the Debian repos for the most part, such as MX, Bunsen Labs, LMDE, Sparky, and so on, are a different kettle of fish, and can be perfectly compatible. That's aside from any security or packaging quality concerns those repos may have, of course--always keep those in mind. I know a lot of users install Pale Moon or multimedia packages from one of my OBS Debian repos without creating FrankenDebians.
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Re: Adding MX Linux tools to Debian

Postby None1975 » 2020-06-26 16:37

Thank you, stevepusser. I appreciate your work. Personally, I will refrain from adding MX Linux tools to pure Debian. But maybe others can benefit from these tools as well.
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