How-to: Upgrade Etch to Lenny and file upgrade report...

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How-to: Upgrade Etch to Lenny and file upgrade report...

Postby mdevour » 2009-02-12 04:29

How-to: Upgrade from Etch to Lenny and file an upgrade report...

I kept the partitions with Etch on them around after I did a fresh install of Lenny a couple of months ago "just in case," with the ambition of eventually trying the upgrade-in-place and filing an upgrade-report with the Debian bug tracking system. I'd never done either of these things before and I wanted to learn how both were done.

I reviewed the release notes for Lenny, a number of threads on this forum, and various search engine hits from around the net to create a detailed how-to which I attempted to follow as I upgraded my system, while also recording the information needed to file the report. My goal was to distill the release notes and report filing procedure into a fairly simple set of instructions.

I clearly state which steps are being performed solely for the reporting process, so if you're just interested in doing the upgrade you can follow only those steps and skip the rest:
    1) Do backups
    2) Final update to Etch (just normal maintenance)
    4 & 5) Edit sources.list
    7) aptitude update
    9) aptitude install dpkg aptitude apt
    10) aptitude safe-upgrade and full-upgrade
    14) re-boot and test things out
Whichever you're doing, the first few steps can be done in a graphical session using a root terminal, if you choose, or you can re-boot, hit ctrl-alt-F1 at the login screen, log in as root, and dig right in at the command line...

(Note: Ctrl-Alt-F1 only works with the control and alt keys on the left side of the keyboard.)

1) Make backups of anything you don't want to risk losing:

A couple of threads on this topic:

http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=35650
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=35623

2) Ensure your Etch installation is up to date:

As root, execute:

Code: Select all
    # aptitude update
    # aptitude dist-upgrade

The older version of aptitude in Etch uses 'dist-upgrade' to do what the new version in Lenny calls a 'full-upgrade.' If by some chance you've already updated your aptitude package, it may tell you to do that instead.

If aptitude asks for permission to uninstall large swaths of your system, answer no, and instead do:

Code: Select all
    # aptitude keep-all

... before trying again.


3) Save "before" data for your upgrade-report:

Let's create a directory where we can stash what we will need. As root, do:

Code: Select all
    # mkdir /report
    # cd /report

Now, let's save a snapshot of a few things before our upgrade:
    dpkg's status database at /var/lib/dpkg/status
    aptitude's package state information at /var/lib/aptitude/pkgstates
    your original /etc/apt/sources.list
    the output of uname -a
To do this, execute these commands:

Code: Select all
    # cp /var/lib/dpkg/status dpkg_status_before
    # cp /var/lib/aptitude/pkgstates aptitude_pkgstates_before
    # cp /etc/apt/sources.list sources.list.before
    # uname -a > uname_before.txt


4) Open your sources.list in an editor:

Still as root, go to your /etc/apt directory and save a backup copy of your sources.list:

Code: Select all
    # cd /etc/apt/
    # cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.backup

Now fire up your favorite editor:

Two editors normally available from the command line are nano and vim. Nano is easier to use if you're not already familiar with vim. Run either as follows:

Code: Select all
    # nano /etc/apt/sources.list

        ... or ...

    # vim /etc/apt/sources.list

If you try vim out of curiosity and can't figure out how to get out of the #%$&@(&! program, try typing <escape> :q! and then hit <enter> to quit without saving any changes... ;) You can learn more about vim in this howto.

If you're still in a graphical session, you can launch gedit (Gnome) or kedit (KDE) from a root terminal and make your changes in a nice GUI environment. Use either:

Code: Select all
    # gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

        ... or ...

    # kedit /etc/apt/sources.list


5) Change sources.list for the upgrade to Lenny:

If you installed Etch from a CD-ROM, you can delete that entire line. Same with the backports repository. You can probably comment out any other non-official repositories you've added along the way by putting a pound sign '#' at the beginning of the line. Then change 'etch' to 'lenny' wherever it appears in your repository list, including multimedia, if used.

In the US, your sources.list could be as simple as this:

Code: Select all
    deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ lenny main contrib non-free

    deb http://security.debian.org/ lenny/updates main contrib non-free

    deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org lenny main

If you're elsewhere in the world, you'll want to use the Debian Mirror Site closest to you.

Now save your file and exit.


6) If you haven't already, now is the time to re-boot, hit ctrl-alt-F1 at the login screen, log in as root, and start working from the console. You SHOULD NOT try to do the upgrade from within a graphical session!

[What is an absolutely certain way to make sure Gnome (or KDE) and the X-server are NOT running at this time? I thought I had managed to shut them down, but I still ended up being kicked out of the upgrade process when it stopped and restarted Gnome and/or X and landed me in the gnome login screen. Fortunately another ctrl-alt-F1 got me back to the console session I was using, but I didn't know if I'd blown it or not at that point!]

[BTW, I'm told that Ctrl-Alt-F1 only works with the control and alt keys on the left side of the keyboard!]


7) Download the list of new packages:

Run this command to download the list of new packages in Lenny:

Code: Select all
    # aptitude update


8) Start recording the upgrade session for your upgrade report:

Run the script program to record the upgrade session for inclusion in the upgrade report. Run the following commands to change back to your /report directory and start recording:

Code: Select all
    # cd /report
    # script etch2lennyupgrade.script
    Script started, file is etch2lennyupgrade.script
    #

Script will now run in the background until we stop it, recording what happens while we do the rest of the upgrade...


9) Upgrade to the newest package management software:

First update the package management system. Run:

Code: Select all
    # aptitude install dpkg aptitude apt


10) Upgrade packages:

Now run the following commands:

Code: Select all
    # aptitude safe-upgrade
    # aptitude full-upgrade

Each will take quite a while, as hundreds of packages are downloaded, installed and configured.

Strictly speaking, aptitude safe-upgrade is not required. It will only upgrade those packages that can be done without removing any other packages. It's recommended as a cautious intermediate step that may help resolve some usually rare dependency conflicts.


11) Finish recording the upgrade session:


Exit the environment of the script command by typing exit at the command line:

Code: Select all
    # exit
    exit
    Script done, file is etch2lennyupgrade.script
    #


12) Save "after" data for your upgrade-report:

If you moved to another directory for any reason, go back to /report:

Code: Select all
    # cd /report

Now, let's save a post upgrade snapshot of things:

Code: Select all
    # cp /var/lib/dpkg/status dpkg_status_after
    # cp /var/lib/aptitude/pkgstates aptitude_pkgstates_after
    # cp /etc/apt/sources.list sources.list.after
    # uname -a > uname_after.txt


13) Save copies of your apt and/or aptitude logs

Assuming you're still in your /report folder:

Code: Select all
    # cp /var/log/apt/term.log apt.log
    # cp /var/log/aptitude aptitude.log


14) Re-boot and document the results:

Okay, at this point, if aptituded didn't report any serious problems, you ought to have Lenny installed and ready to boot on your system. You can do a 'reboot' or 'shutdown' command from the command line and restart your machine.

Once your machine restarts it should deliver you to the grub menu. Hit any key besides <enter> in order to stop the countdown and examine the grub menu. The grub boot entry for your upgraded kernel should mention something like "Linux 2.6.26-1-xxx" instead of the 2.6.18-6 kernel (or earlier) that was used in etch. If you have a dual boot system and a different /boot/grub/menu.list boots your system than the one on your upgraded partition, you'll have to manually edit that file to boot the new kernel. (Don't ask me how I know this! :roll: )

Now select the correct menu line for the new kernel and press <enter> to continue to boot your system. Hopefully everything will have worked and you'll see the graphical boot screen for your desktop. Log into your account and see what sort of destruction has been wrought on your finely tuned configuration! Exercise programs, examine menus, verify that printing, file sharing, sound and any other services you had configured are working properly.

Take notes, search the forums and Google if you get errors or see problems. Ask for help as needed.

This testing and troubleshooting process will give you the grist for the body of your upgrade report. As suggested by Debian Developer Alexander "Tolimar" in his blog...

If something goes wrong / something unexpected happens, please report it. If you already know a specific package, report a bug against that package. If you don't know, please report a bug describing the problem you experienced to the upgrade-reports package. If your problem is something, which can't be fixed properly, but should be documented (e.g. hardware support regressions, packages no longer available) please report a bug against the release-notes package (Bonus points if you not only report the bug, but also supply a paragraph to be added to the release notes).

Update: If you upgraded succesfully, you should report that, too. There's a template for upgrade reports, which you can use: http://release.debian.org/upgrade-report.html

I would urge you to use the template Tolimar links to and create a text file to contain the body of your report, using your favorite editor. This way you can take your time, incorporate the results of your debugging and testing, and preserve a detailed and accurate description of the results of your upgrade effort. Later, you can cut and paste its contents into the editor window during the reportbug process.


15) Configure the reportbugs package:

If you've never run the reportbugs script before, you'll need to configure it. The configuration I describe here will serve as a workable default. I find that I prefer the text version of the user interface, and it's easier to copy here as well, so that's what I will describe using.

Open a terminal for your normal user account, and configure reportbug as follows:

Code: Select all
$ reportbug -u text --configure
Please choose the default operating mode for reportbug.

1 novice    Offer simple prompts, bypassing technical questions.

2 standard  Offer more extensive prompts, including asking about things that a
            moderately sophisticated user would be expected to know about
            Debian.

3 advanced  Like standard, but assumes you know a bit more about Debian,
            including "incoming".

4 expert    Bypass most handholding measures and preliminary triage routines.
            This mode should not be used by people unfamiliar with Debian's
            policies and operating procedures.

Select mode: 2

Please choose the default interface for reportbug.

1 text   A text-oriented console interface

2 urwid  A menu-based console interface

Select interface: 1

Will reportbug often have direct Internet access? (You should answer yes to
this question unless you know what you are doing and plan to check whether
duplicate reports have been filed via some other channel.) [Y|n|q|?]? Y

What real name should be used for sending bug reports?
> (Your Name goes here)

Which of your email addresses should be used when sending bug reports? (Note
that this address will be visible in the bug tracking system, so you may want
to use a webmail address or another address with good spam filtering
capabilities.)
> your.address@isp.com

Do you have a "mail transport agent" (MTA) like Exim, Postfix or SSMTP
configured on this computer to send mail to the Internet? [Y|n|q|?]? n

Please enter the name of your SMTP host. Usually it's called something like
"mail.example.org" or "smtp.example.org". Just press ENTER if you don't have
one or don't know.
>

Default preferences file written. To reconfigure, re-run reportbug with the "--
configure" option.
$


16) Compress report data:

Now take a moment to create a compressed file containing all the before and after data and the script recording file. The following commands should create an archive file in your user's root directory:

Code: Select all
$ cd /report
$ tar -cvzf ~/etch2lennydata.tar.gz *


17) File upgrade report:

Now run reportbug for real:

Code: Select all
$ reportbug

Please enter the name of the package in which you have found a problem, or type
'other' to report a more general problem.
> upgrade-reports

*** Welcome to reportbug.  Use ? for help at prompts. ***
Detected character set: UTF-8
Please change your locale if this is incorrect.

Using 'Your Name <your.name@isp.com>' as your from address.
Getting status for upgrade-reports...
Will send report to Debian (per lsb_release).
Querying Debian BTS for reports on upgrade-reports (source)...
25 bug reports found:

Outstanding bugs -- Serious ...

Outstanding bugs -- Important bugs ...

Outstanding bugs -- Normal bugs ...

Outstanding bugs -- Minor bugs ...

Outstanding bugs -- Wishlist items ...

(1-25/25) Is the bug you found listed above [y|N|m|r|q|s|f|?]? N

Please briefly describe your problem (you can elaborate in a moment; an empty
response will stop reportbug). This will be the bug email subject, so write a
concise summary of what is wrong with the package, for example, "fails to send
email" or "does not start with -q option specified."
> Etch to Lenny upgrade success!

Rewriting subject to 'upgrade-reports: Etch to Lenny upgrade success!'

How would you rate the severity of this problem or report?

1 critical        makes unrelated software on the system (or the whole system)
                  break, or causes serious data loss, or introduces a security
                  hole on systems where you install the package.
2 grave           makes the package in question unusable by most or all users,
                  or causes data loss, or introduces a security hole allowing
                  access to the accounts of users who use the package.
3 serious         is a severe violation of Debian policy (that is, the problem
                  is a violation of a 'must' or 'required' directive); may or
                  may not affect the usability of the package. Note that non-
                  severe policy violations may be 'normal,' 'minor,' or
                  'wishlist' bugs. (Package maintainers may also designate
                  other bugs as 'serious' and thus release-critical; however,
                  end users should not do so.)
4 important       a bug which has a major effect on the usability of a package,
                  without rendering it completely unusable to everyone.
5 does-not-build  a bug that stops the package from being built from source.
                  (This is a 'virtual severity'.)
6 normal          a bug that does not undermine the usability of the whole
                  package; for example, a problem with a particular option or
                  menu item.
7 minor           things like spelling mistakes and other minor cosmetic errors
                  that do not affect the core functionality of the package.
8 wishlist        suggestions and requests for new features.

Please select a severity level: [normal] 6

Do any of the following apply to this report?

1 l10n      This bug reports a localization/internationalization issue.

2 patch     You are including a patch to fix this problem.

3 none     

Please select tags: (one at a time) [none] 3

Spawning sensible-editor...

At this point whatever default text editor is configured on your system (default is nano) will open and allow you to type in your remarks on the upgrade. Or you can cut and paste the contents of the text file you created already, if that's what you did.

When you're done, save and exit the editor. Reportbug continues:

Code: Select all
Report will be sent to "Debian Bug Tracking System" <submit@bugs.debian.org>

Submit this report on upgrade-reports (e to edit) [y|n|a|c|E|i|l|m|p|q|?]? a

Choose a file to attach: ~/etch2lennydata.tar.gz

Report will be sent to "Debian Bug Tracking System" <submit@bugs.debian.org>
Attachments:
 /home/yourusername/etch2lennydata.tar.gz

Submit this report on upgrade-reports (e to edit) [y|n|a|c|E|i|l|m|p|q|?]? Y

And, finally, your report should be winging its way to the Debian bug tracking system. Make sure you give it time to transmit your report and attachment.

Hopefully you've now got an upgraded system running Lenny with most of your old configuration intact, and you've managed to file an upgrade report of your experience. Once you're familiar with the reportbug program and process you ought to be able to report bugs against other packages, and so contribute to the feedback the developers and maintainers of our favorite distro depend on for making Debian better.

Mike D.
Last edited by mdevour on 2009-02-15 22:33, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby jalu » 2009-02-12 12:05

hello mdevour,
this howto is excellent: elaborate and lucid, due to the [b]-marked rubric/headings
in my opinion.
Theres a howto on basic vim usage:
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=18389&highlight=vim
perhaps you want to add it.
(btw. you could add that the esc-button has to be hit before :q! works to quit vim without saving)

respect.

greetings jalu
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Postby mdevour » 2009-02-12 13:53

Jalu, hallo!

jalu wrote:this howto is excellent: elaborate and lucid, due to the [b]-marked rubric/headings in my opinion.

Thank you very much. It ought to have some usefulness, even toward future point releases of Lenny.

Theres a howto on basic vim usage:
http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=18389&highlight=vim
perhaps you want to add it.
(btw. you could add that the esc-button has to be hit before :q! works to quit vim without saving)

Excellent! I've updated that section to include your link and add the ! to force quit without saving.

The handful of times I've attempted to use vi or its variants, I've always had the dickens of a time remembering how to get out of the program once I started it! I thought it'd be kind to anticipate others' repeating my mistake. :lol:

Thanks,

Mike D.
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Postby gabriel » 2009-02-15 20:18

This looks a bit more complicated than I initially thought an aptitude system upgrade would be.
(Three steps: 1. Change sources list 2. aptitude update 3. aptitude dist-upgrade). Good thing I didn't do it, I'd probably messed something up really bad.

Perhaps an upgrade from a netinst CD/DVD would be easier/better/more reccomended?

Kind regards
When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth
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Postby didi » 2009-02-15 20:41

Very nice howto :)

I would suggest doing an aptitude safe-upgrade, before the full-upgrade/dist-upgrade to get the easy updates first.
gabriel wrote:Perhaps an upgrade from a netinst CD/DVD would be easier/better/more reccomended?

That wouldn't be an upgrade but a new install ...
Testing (server) + Unstable (workstation) 32-bit on AMD Athlon64 X2
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Postby mdevour » 2009-02-15 21:52

gabriel wrote:This looks a bit more complicated than I initially thought an aptitude system upgrade would be.
(Three steps: 1. Change sources list 2. aptitude update 3. aptitude dist-upgrade). Good thing I didn't do it, I'd probably messed something up really bad.

Hi Gabriel,

The actual upgrade process described in the howto is complicated by all the steps required to preserve before and after data for the upgrade report for the Debian bug tracking system... If you skim it again, jotting down only the parts that are NOT related to reporting, you'll find the fairly simple upgrade path you expect:
    1: Do backups
    2: Final update to Etch (just normal maintenance)
    4,5: Edit sources.list
    7: aptitude update
    9: aptitude install dpkg aptitude apt
    10: aptitude safe-upgrade and full-upgrade
    14: re-boot and test things out
The rest is report-related stuff.

I admit I was VERY detailed in explaining each step, making few assumptions about what the user knows and trying to account for the most common gotchas. (Like, how do you get out of vim once you make the mistake of getting into it? :mrgreen: ) But, I give like four different options just for opening an editor, and explain each one? Nobody ever covers all that! I hoped I could spare the raw newbie at least that one trip to Google. ;)

Which hopefully means it's more likely you'll succeed, even though it displays the raw complexity of doing anything in this environment. After all, we're doing stuff here that's usually concealed by that other operating system. The difference is, if something breaks, every detail needed to debug it is openly available somewhere, and with some help from seasoned members of the community (which I am most definitely NOT!) it can be fixed.

If you look at the actual upgrade-report I filed while compiling the how-to, you'll see I had a couple of things go wrong. Both were caused by my over-complicated system layout; too many partitions and dual booting with Lenny. A simpler installation would have probably upgraded without a hitch. Now, lately I've been getting good enough at Googling answers and beginning to "grok" how Debain works that I was able to fix those problems without resorting to the forum, but if I hadn't, I'd have gotten the help I needed.

I think I'll edit the introduction to include the streamlined path for those that only want to do an upgrade. Then if somebody comes across this via Google they might actually be able to use it for what they're interested in.

Thanks for the feedback. :)

Mike D.
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Postby mdevour » 2009-02-15 22:36

didi wrote:Very nice howto :)

Thanks, didi! :D

I would suggest doing an aptitude safe-upgrade, before the full-upgrade/dist-upgrade to get the easy updates first.

It's in there, actually!

Mike D.
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Postby didi » 2009-02-15 23:11

You're absolutely right, sorry about that :oops:
Testing (server) + Unstable (workstation) 32-bit on AMD Athlon64 X2
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Postby Algenon » 2009-03-04 18:46

Mdevour. Excellent howto. Successfully managed to upgrade with only two problems:

1. I needed to unmount all my network shares since the safe-upgrade hung. No real problem, just something to be aware of.

2. I could not get the Yamaha 744 sound card working the snd-ymfpci. Still not solved this one.

Many thanks,

Algenon. :)
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Thanks mdevour...

Postby El1iP3S01D » 2009-03-04 20:23

Your how to is easy reading and a breeze to use to upgrade my Debian System...Thanks alot... I'm running Squeeze and Sid, but my only concern is this, How do i run Sid as opposed to Squeeze and Sid?
By the way, Ryoko my Turtle and Saleen s7 TT rule my world...:-p
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upgrading is not yet perfect (it seems to me)

Postby Maxei » 2009-03-20 18:15

The question I have always asked myself: upgrade older version to newer or do a fresh new install?

With my 64-bit system running etch, upgraded to lenny, I did get some issues. I mean, it is nothing like, impossible to bear, but issues are issues. For instance, those gij and java related packages that were not configured. I dont have sound in iceweasel, the mail is broken, kde that lost sound, yet gnome has it. All these "little" details add up, not to say the worst of them all: the driver for this SOB ATI internal graphics card HD3200 in this SOB gygabyte mobo. I dont bother anymore asking in forums how to solve those issues. nobody can, or those who can never come to take a look.

So, I say, avoid troubles ahead. If your system is working nicely, do not even think in upgrading (unless you accept the risk of breaking it).

Ok, you really want to try all the shiny stuff? I suggest you back up your data, then do a fresh new install. Yep. erase the whole damn thing and get a new system. period.

So, What am I going to do? flash not working in iceweasel? java neither? I will install fresh everything. thanks.
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Re: How-to: Upgrade Etch to Lenny and file upgrade report...

Postby mr.Lauren » 2009-06-21 00:39

Thanks for your HOW-TO. I wish this option were on my Install disks. Is that what gabriel was talking about in the following?
gabriel wrote:
Perhaps an upgrade from a netinst CD/DVD would be easier/better/more reccomended?

I recently did an install of Debian Lenny, and was so disgusted with all the time I was going to have to expend to get my Etch environment back, that I restored Etch and will decide later what I will do. I will at the least tackle with some foreboding your instructions.

I even gave strong consideration to obtaining SuSE, since the option to upgrade to new release is one of 3 options on their Installation CD. The trouble is, the first time is going to be a mess with that too. So I'll have to wait till I have more time, and then decide what to do.

I don't understand why upgrading from the Install CD isn't a perfectly logical option because it is completely outside the environment of the partition being upgraded. I refer to the point you made that you must not be in the graphical environment when doing the upgrade.

Thanks for your instructions.
Lauren
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Re: How-to: Upgrade Etch to Lenny and file upgrade report...

Postby mr.Lauren » 2009-07-28 19:23

Hello Mike,
Do you think that if problems exist in the present (Etch) system, then those problems may continue to exist after upgrading as you have described?

I had a strange thing happen when I was "fixing" a problem with my USB hard drive. Something I did created a couple files whose origen was in 1930 (!!), and they couldn't be deleted. I copied the few files that were on the Reiserfs partition, and then made the mistake of trying to reformat it instead of just deleting the partition and re-creating it. What a fiasco! It never did finish (all night)! My Etch partition was FULL - no space left. I found some enormous log files and deleted them to get some space back. I think some other issues that turned up may have been related. (I suspicion that this event occurred because I had the hard drive set to automount.)

Do you think I should even consider the Upgrade route under these conditions, or instead do a fresh install? Thanks.

Lauren
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Re: How-to: Upgrade Etch to Lenny and file upgrade report...

Postby mdevour » 2009-07-28 22:48

mr.Lauren wrote:Hello Mike,
Do you think that if problems exist in the present (Etch) system, then those problems may continue to exist after upgrading as you have described?

It depends on the problems? :mrgreen:

Seriously, doing the upgrade in place will mean that your entire user directory full of .config type files will be sitting there, influencing how all the upgraded software behaves. That's a good thing when you don't have to tweak stuff like wallpaper, screen saver, mouse preferences, etcetera, ad nauseum. As you noted in your previous post from late June, it can be a lot of work to tweak everything again!

The bad news is if anything is misconfigured, or if the developers have not dealt with every nuance of the upgrade path and new software ends up confused by old settings, it will leave you with a different kind of "tweaking" to deal with. :roll:

One small example I experienced: The first distro I installed was Libranet. When the principal author died, I upgraded-in-place to Debian Sarge, on which it was (almost) based. Later I upgraded to Etch, keeping the old configuration yet again...

I was quite surprised when I installed Lenny from scratch and discovered that I was not allowed to log into a graphical session as Root, which I had been doing whenever I needed to since I had started. You can change this setting if you want to, but it turns out I'd been living with the opposite default through three different revisions and didn't know there was any other way for things to work.

So, I think it really becomes a tossup whether it's harder to upgrade than to start over. Of course, keeping careful notes of all the configuration and setup you do would make doing a new install a lot less annoying, right? Unfortunately, I don't know anybody with that much self-discipline and organization! :oops:

I had a strange thing happen when I was "fixing" a problem with my USB hard drive. Something I did created a couple files whose origen was in 1930 (!!), and they couldn't be deleted. I copied the few files that were on the Reiserfs partition, and then made the mistake of trying to reformat it instead of just deleting the partition and re-creating it. What a fiasco! It never did finish (all night)! My Etch partition was FULL - no space left. I found some enormous log files and deleted them to get some space back. I think some other issues that turned up may have been related. (I suspicion that this event occurred because I had the hard drive set to automount.)

IMHO, when you've got drives that are starting to fill up (and squirrelly things are happening), it's time to buy a new, bigger hard disk and do a fresh install, keeping your old disk available to transfer files from.

The best approach might be to set up a dual-boot system so you can install Lenny or Squeeze or whatever on that roomy new hard disk and still boot your old working Etch install until you're finally ready to make the switch. That's basically what I did and it worked out pretty well.

Do you think I should even consider the Upgrade route under these conditions, or instead do a fresh install? Thanks.

Lauren

I'm only a pretty new intermediate user, so my experience isn't that deep yet. I would probably do the fresh install, while I know I've read about others who've upgraded through numerous releases with the same config and few problems...

By my thinking, you're going to be tweaking and troubleshooting for a while no matter which route you take. You can spend that time preserving the old config and getting everything to work again, or training the new install to do things your way.

There are advantages in starting fresh. It'll make you consciously examine the way you work, and maybe encourage you to change and update a few things. I learned quite a bit in the process and have a shiny new Lenny install to show for it.

Whichever route you take, moving up to (at least) Lenny is well worth the effort, believe me!

Peace,

Mike D.
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