Howto: Set up and Maintain a Mixed Testing/Unstable System

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Postby hkoster1 » 2008-02-22 21:17

Thanks, that gives me some idea. I wouldn't want to revert to testing unless something got really messed up in Sid, something that I've been able to avoid on my AMD64 desktop so far, mainly because I check very carefully what all an "aptitude full-upgrade" wants to add/remove.

However, I wasn't that lucky with 32-bit Sid on my MacBook a couple of months ago, so reverting to Lenny might have been an option if I had thought of it. In the event, faced with reinstalling Sid (I thought), I decided to first upgrade the HD on the MacBook to a Samsung 160GB, then found that this SATA HD is precisely the one that neither the Etch, Lenny, Knoppix, or Gutsy installers will recognize... the only distro that could be installed was an early Alpha version of Hardy... OK, I'm rambling here like Eck, what I wanted to say is that this thread should be stickied, so that it more easily catches the eye of people like myself... 8)
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Postby roadnottaken » 2008-02-25 04:10

There is a way to instantly downgrade everything to lenny. In your favorite text editor, edit /etc/apt/preferences to include the following lines:

Code: Select all
Package: *
Pin: release a=testing
Pin-Priority: 1001


Then, when you run aptitude safe-upgrade, every package on your system will be downgraded to the version in lenny. You can then remove the etc/apt/preferences file.
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Postby rickh » 2008-02-25 04:52

There is a way to instantly downgrade everything to lenny...

That should work, and I may be overly cautious, but I hesitate to ask aptitude to reconfigure the dependencies for multiple packages that may be interrelated on the fly for a downgrade.

Both apt-get and aptitude are designed for upgrades, and while downgrading should work the same way, for downgrades I prefer to completely remove a single package with its dependencies, then reinstall.
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Postby didi » 2008-04-11 23:44

Excellent HOW-TO and also very interesting discussion :D

I now even understand the 'problem' I had when following the HOW-TO on installing nvidia drivers the Debian way.
I am now confident that I can install the latest nvidia drivers/dependencies from sid while staying at Lenny for the rest and actually know what I'm doing. 8)

Thanks


and +1 on stickying this HOW-TO, excellent article on a hot topic which shouldn't end up on the 2nd (or later) page.
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Postby CreamFilledGiraffe » 2008-04-12 01:09

In that particular case they are the same package so it doesn't matter (to aptitude) where it gets if from. I believe it goes to unstable because it appears first in your sources.list
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Postby rickh » 2008-06-17 22:39

In that particular case they are the same package so it doesn't matter (to aptitude) where it gets if from. I believe it goes to unstable because it appears first in your sources.list

Was just reading through the thread, and the obvious truth of that observation sent me back to move "unstable" to the bottom of the examples. One less confusing element.
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Postby alidh » 2008-07-01 19:13

uh, if I remove the unstable sources from my sources.list I will get only Debian testing after a few weeks isn't???
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Postby hkoster1 » 2008-07-28 12:56

OK, it's five months to the day that I switched from pure Sid to mixed testing/Sid following this useful Howto. I haven't knowingly added any Sid packages, except the usual nvidia-glx and nvidia-sources stuff. Are there many Sid packages left in my system?
Code: Select all
henk@sid64:~$ apt-show-versions |grep unstable
gnome-cups-manager/unstable uptodate 0.31-3+b1
hpodder/unstable uptodate 1.1.5.0
kdeartwork/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kdeartwork-emoticons/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kdeartwork-misc/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kdeartwork-style/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kdeartwork-theme-icon/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kdeartwork-theme-window/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kdewallpapers/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kscreensaver/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
kscreensaver-xsavers/unstable uptodate 4:3.5.9-2
libgnomecupsui1.0-1c2a/unstable uptodate 0.31-3+b1
nvidia-glx/unstable uptodate 173.14.09-3
nvidia-kernel-source/unstable uptodate 173.14.09-3
xscreensaver/unstable uptodate 5.05-3
xscreensaver-data/unstable uptodate 5.05-3
xscreensaver-data-extra/unstable uptodate 5.05-3
xscreensaver-gl/unstable uptodate 5.05-3
xscreensaver-gl-extra/unstable uptodate 5.05-3
youtube-dl/unstable uptodate 2008.03.22-1

Not many, and there would have been even fewer if I hadn't pulled in Kaffeine (and some KDE dependencies) since the VLC package has problems with some codecs. Of the remainder: I use hpodder regularly, don't know why it isn't in testing; Gnome CUPS manager has changed quite a bit lately, so I can understand that it is still quite volatile; Youtube-dl, who knows...

Will this list get down to empty before Lenny going stable?
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Postby Telemachus » 2008-07-28 13:39

hkoster1 wrote:Will this list get down to empty before Lenny going stable?

I was actually just wondering this about the NVIDIA packages in particular. What, if anything, happens if they don't make it into Lenny before the freeze?
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Postby hkoster1 » 2008-07-28 16:50

OK, I'll reply to your post...
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Postby roooz » 2008-07-30 11:13

How can I have a mixed system with kde4.1? How can I make sure those 4.1 packages will be upgraded/ will stay up to date?

Thanks in advance,
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Postby rickh » 2008-07-30 13:49

As long as KDE4 stays in Experimental, I don't think you can, at least not with official repos. I don't believe you can point at Experimental as the "preferred" repository. If you can, it will almost certainly be a disaster. It's possible that one of the unofficial repositories includes KDE4 in their unstable repositories, but you'd better be careful.
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Postby roooz » 2008-11-20 15:51

Still very positive about this mixed system! :)

Question: I've set testing as 'default'. I can install a package from unstable doing:
Code: Select all
aptitude install -t unstable <package>


But what if I have another repro in my sourcelist? For example one of a multimedia distro, or from an particular package?

How do I install a package from that repro? And how can I search that repro?
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Postby rickh » 2008-11-20 16:13

Your "unofficial" repo will be included in any search you make as long as it is active in your sources.list

It doesn't even have to be testing. For instance, My preferred release is "unstable", but my debian-multimedia line in sources.list looks like this ...
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org testing main

Therefore only "testing" applications (not unstable) from Multimedia will make it unto my system.

In other words a mixed system will update to the highest version it sees, unless it sees one in what you have defined as "preferred." If it sees one there, it looks no further.

It sounds complicated, but it's not.
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Postby roooz » 2008-11-20 18:21

rickh wrote:Your "unofficial" repo will be included in any search you make as long as it is active in your sources.list

It doesn't even have to be testing. For instance, My preferred release is "unstable", but my debian-multimedia line in sources.list looks like this ...
deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org testing main

Therefore only "testing" applications (not unstable) from Multimedia will make it unto my system.

In other words a mixed system will update to the highest version it sees, unless it sees one in what you have defined as "preferred." If it sees one there, it looks no further.

It sounds complicated, but it's not.

Ok, so let say there a package X in testing but a up to date one in unstable you install it with aptitude install -t unstable

But what if package X is the same in testing and unstable but there is a newer version in the 'onofficial' repo...
how do I install that package?
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